A “trademark search” is an investigation to discover potential conflicts between a proposed mark and an existing one. Generally done before or at the beginning of a new mark’s use, a trademark search reduces the possibility of inadvertently infringing a mark belonging to someone else.
Often, a professional search agency is used to conduct the trademark search—by first checking both federal and state trademark registers for identical or similar marks and then checking journals, telephone books and magazines to see whether the mark is in actual use. It is possible to do a trademark search, without involving a professional, at any of the Patent Depository and Trademark Libraries throughout the country. It is also possible to conduct a preliminary online trademark search to determine if a trademark is distinguishable from other federally registered trademarks. This can be accomplished using the PTO’s free trademark database (www.uspto.gov) which provides free access to records of federally registered marks or marks that are pending (applications undergoing examination at the PTO). Privately owned fee-based online trademark databases often provide more current PTO trademark information. Below are some private online search companies:
Trademark Register (www.trademarkregister.com).
Marksonline (www.marksonline.com), and
Related terms: Internet and trademark searching; Patent and Trademark Depository Library; trademark search.