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What is a Trademark Search?

Here's another great article written by Marit. The original can be read here.

A trademark search can, in actuality, be many different things. In theory, a trademark search is performed to determine whether or not the mark you are hoping to use is already taken by another. This allows an individual to apply with a greater level of confidence for the use of a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (herein referred to as the USPTO). A trademark search is, ideally, a comprehensive, analytical way of researching a name, slogan or logo for prior use.

A trademark search can also be performed in a sloppy and ineffective manner, and may not protect you from potentially infringing upon another’s name or logo. This is why it’s important to ensure that the trademark research you have commissioned is done comprehensively and thoroughly!

It is not unusual for a trademark research company to charge hundreds of dollars for searching the USPTO, which you can do for free. Comprehensive research firms search Federal, State and Common Law records, which is a more logical and thorough way to research your name. When commissioning research on your name, it is important to ask the company you’re considering using to clarify what exactly their searches entail, each step of the way.

Companies may try and save money in other ways, including letting you pour through the raw data they collect without any summary of what it all means. It is important to be sure once you’ve decided to commission research on your name, that the information is compiled into an easily readable report. Examining the results of your research can sometimes be difficult, even when placed in an edited report. If you’re left to decipher the meaning of a company’s raw data, chances are you may under react or overreact to the results.

When searching your name, it is important that phonetic spellings of the name are searched, as well as vowel variations. This should be done in order to find any potential matches of your name, whether these matches are similar or identical. Ultimately, the goal of the search is to allow an individual to apply for the searched name feeling as though they are informed, and free of any potential legal ramifications. Unless your search is comprehensive, there is no way to promise the same peace of mind a thorough search can!

Applying for a trademark does not have to be a painful, convoluted process. It can actually be quite easy if you follow the correct steps throughout! Remember, it is a process to research a name.

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