When establishing a business, conducting a comprehensive trademark search is essential. Failure to do so could have devastating consequences including time lost and exorbitant costs.
With help from an experienced trademark attorney at War IP Law PLLC, companies can plan ahead and set their business up for success. Schedule an initial consultation to discuss the importance of comprehensive trademark searches by calling our office at (202) 800-3754.
What Is a Comprehensive Trademark Search?
A comprehensive trademark search involves an in-depth search of trademarks across the United States. Trademark searches determine whether a brand-name has already been filed for registration or trademarked and is in use by another person or company.
Comprehensive trademark searches are essential for businesses of all sizes and ages. Selecting the appropriate brand-name can make all the difference in the outcome of a company’s success. Companies who are hoping to protect their name and want to promote exclusivity in regard to services and goods may consider trademarking their name with the federal government.
A comprehensive trademark search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) records allows businesses to determine whether the name and trademark they are hoping to use is available or already taken. Some of the most valuable information contained in a comprehensive trademark search report include:
- Pending trademarks
- Federally registered trademarks
- Analyst reviews
- Common law business reports
- State trademark reports
- Federal trademark reports
- State citations
- Common law database reports and citations
Risks Of Not Doing a Trademark Availability Search
Conducting a trademark availability search is not a legal requirement but not conducting the search is considered a risky business practices. Trademark rights apply whether a business uses their name or filed to use their name in the future. If the company applies for their trademark but has not yet started using it in commerce, that does not reduce their right to the trademark and branding rights.
Failure to conduct a comprehensive trademark search could mean a business starts using a brand or name, attempts to register their trademark at a later time, only to learn that their branding and trademark conflicts with another business that has already filed a trademark application for the mark with the USPTO. If another business has already trademarked their branding, the new business may need to change theirs to obtain trademark approval.
After already having invested considerable time, money, and energy in advertisements, packaging, and branding, learning a trademark is not available for use could put a company out of business.
Advantages Of a Comprehensive Trademark Search
The benefits of a comprehensive trademark search are undeniable. Although they may take more time and expense, as a new brand or company, a trademark availability search gives your company the clarity and information regarding its intellectual property to move forward with branding, logo, business name, and other registered symbols.
The USPTO will then continue monitoring trademark applications and reject any that may be similar to those that have already been established or applied for. Those who have performed preliminary trademark searches can establish brand uniqueness in advance. An experienced intellectual property and trademark lawyer at War IP Law PLLC could help reduce future trademark and branding obstacles that could negatively impact a company’s longevity and profitability.
Confusion Surrounding Trademarks
The problem with basic trademark searches is that they will often not show when there are matching registered trademarks or pending trademarks. The last thing a business owner wants or needs is to set up their company name and branding only to discover that another company has already registered or applied for a similar mark with similar goods and/or services. This could confuse potential consumers and harm business.
Although sharing a similar company name will not necessarily be damaging, when companies share similar products or services with a similar company name, it can make it difficult for consumers to differentiate between the companies. It could also lead to a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Types of Trademark Searches
There are multiple types of trademark searches that may need to be performed to ensure brand uniqueness and trademark approval. These include common law trademark searches, state trademark searches, and federal trademark searches.
Common Law Trademark Searches
Common law trademark searches find unregistered marks and branding that may have previously been used but are not currently registered. Despite lacking state or federal trademark registration, these markings may still have rights and could impact a company’s ability to use the mark in commerce.
State Trademark Searches
State trademark searches review each of the 50 states trademark databases. State trademarks are not necessarily federally registered but will often still carry trademark rights that can be enforced.
Federal Trademark Searches
Federal trademark searches, also commonly referred to as USPTO database searches, review existing trademarks across the United States that take into consideration pronunciation, foreign language equivalence, and even spelling errors.
What to Expect From the Trademark Search Process
Once a company has made the decision to move forward with a comprehensive trademark search, understanding the process can help prepare for risks and obstacles in trademarking. Businesses should expect their trademark lawyer to:
- Conduct comprehensive trademark searches of registered, non-registered, and pending trademarks
- Identify trademark variations and translations
- Identification of potential conflicts and obstacles of trademarking a company brand
- Checking for potential trademark infringement actions
- Identifying competitor brands
- Reducing company risks and expenses associated with potential trademark lawsuits
- Establish company branding and trademarks
- Selecting new trademark opportunities
- Prepare trademarking applications
- Handling trademark opposition
- Develop a plan of action in cases of trademark infringement
Once a business has determined prospective trademark names, a comprehensive trademark search is desirable before additional funds can be spent on advertising, marketing, branding, and setting up a company for success.
If a comprehensive trademark search reveals another mark that a different business is already using, trademark attorneys can help select new marks or names for registration, eliminate confusion, and set the company up for future branding and growth opportunities.
Registering a company trademark does not have to be a difficult or overwhelming process. In a short amount of time, a trademark attorney can review countless trademarks across the country and help clients secure the company names and branding they hoped for.
Contact an Experienced Trademark Attorney for Help Today
Business owners interested in obtaining a comprehensive trademark search can do so by reaching out to an experienced trademark attorney at War IP Law PLLC to discuss company needs. We can be reached by phone at (202) 800-3754 or through our secured contact form to schedule confidential case evaluations.