Trademark Search and Clearance

Once a trademark is designed, a search should be conducted in order to determine if your trademark is available. A complete and thorough search will uncover any identical or similar trademarks that are already registered. In addition, using proper counsel to conduct the search can negate any charges of bad faith to the trademark owner in the event he is alleged to be infringing another trademark.

Preliminary Search

Conducting a preliminary search occurs when trademark counsel will evaluate the list or lists of marks desired to be registered. Counsel may first eliminate generic or descriptive marks, and then perform the preliminary search. The preliminary search will help counsel determine if there are any obvious conflicts to the proposed trademark, and if the process of registering your mark should continue. The preliminary search will largely include the USPTO database. The USPTO contains all federally registered trademarks as well as a list of marks that applied for protection but were denied. Searching this database can certainly turn up what seems like an immeasurable number of results. The key is to knowing how to properly and effectively limit the preliminary trademark search from results in the millions, down to results in the twenties and even down to single digits.

After conducting an efficient trademark search on the USPTO database, the next step is to look at the existing registered trademarks, trademarks that have been “abandoned” or considered “dead,” and looking at other trademark applications that have been turned down, in order to compare and contrast these with your mark to determine the likelihood of a successful registration of your mark. Counsel can quickly recognize which results in the trademark search should be investigated more and can quickly conclude the effects the decisions of the USPTO in these prior rulings will have on your trademark application.