Before filing for a trademark, comprehensive research is needed to ensure that the name you want to use is legally available. This entails searching the pending & registered Federal and State trademark files as well as the US National Common-Law files.
However, before having comprehensive research conducted, it is advised that folks take advantage of as many free resources as possible. You can find a listing of sources to check out here. Now let's discuss how to conduct the most efficient preliminary search possible.
Let's say you have a clothing line geared towards women and you want to call it Heroine Next Door. Click on New User Form Search (we'll delve into the other 2 options next month).
Type in the name Heroine Next Door into the Search Term box. Be sure that Plural and Singular & Live and Dead are checked. Also ensure that you're searching for Combined Word Mark. Click Submit Query.
This will result in 0 hits but do not be fooled into thinking that your preliminary work is done. Once you've done the exact name search, it's time to expand your mind about your name. What are all of the possible variations to the name that could be seen as confusing? Here's a partial list:
Next Door Heroine
Hero Next Door
And there we go – Hero Next Door, Serial Number 78776159 is a pending mark for, in part, a shirt line. While it's not the exact same name, it is strongly similar and likely similar enough that the average consumer would correlate the two. Now you know it's best to leave your heroine next door.
Let's just assume you weren't blocked at this stage. Now is the time to get into variations of spelling and synonyms. Here's another partial list:
Heroin Next Door
Next Door Goddess