What is a Trademark Search?
A trademark search refers to a process that is used to determine whether a specific mark or brand name is already being used for a commercial purpose. A trademark search—sometimes referred to as a ‘knockout search’—is a review of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) database for identical or confusingly similar marks. The main purpose of these types of searches is to determine how likely your mark may be able to obtain registration.
This matters: A mark that is already in use could create serious legal conflicts and make the development of a strong brand difficult, if not impossible.
Benefits of Conducting a Trademark Search Before Filing
With brand protection, a proactive approach is best. Performing a trademark search is beneficial for a variety of reasons, including:
- Clarity: A trademark search will help companies identify any pending trademark
applications, registrations, and/or usage of identical or substantially similar terms. No business wants to invest resources into building a brand if they cannot actually obtain trademark rights.
- Avoid Conflict: Failure to conduct a trademark search could result in your company facing costly and potentially time-consuming trademark infringement lawsuits down the road. A trademark search in turn is a cost-effective investment for the benefits it provides.
- Protection: Finally, if your company has already used a mark/term, a trademark search could help to uncover any infringement. You can quickly take action to resolve the issue and protect your brand.
Advantages of Working with a Trademark Attorney
Using an experienced trademark attorney with trademark searches can help you better digest the information from the USPTO database and other platforms. This can include identifying and reviewing:
- Pending/registered trademarks on the USPTO database that be considered identical or confusingly similiar to your mark;
- Common law usage of the mark;
- Internet search engine usage of the mark;
- Domain names;
- State trademark records; and
- Other potential obstacles to registration.
Our office will work with you to help assess and discuss any potential risks with your trademark. If you have questions about trademark searches, we can help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please call us at (949) 688-0268 or contact us directly online.