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Trademark Search

November 13, 2021

You should first search the USPTO trademark database in the trademark electronic search system (TESS) before you submit your application. This will allow you to check if any trademarks have been applied or registered already:

  • Similar to your trademark
  • You can use it on related products and for related services.
  • Live

If your trademark meets any of these criteria, it will be refused registration.

In addition to your clearance search, include other sources. The search is just one part of a comprehensive clearance search. There might be those who have rights to trademarks that aren’t in the USPTO database. You can also check other sources such as the state trademark databases or the internet. The application is carefully examined to determine if it meets federal trademark requirements. There are many factors to consider and it is possible to find a conflicting trademark or other legal problem that blocks the registration. You do not need a U.S.-licensed attorney to represent you at USPTO if you are an applicant familiar with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings and are a permanent resident of the United States. However, it can be difficult to decide what to search for or how to interpret your results especially because in determining the likelihood of confusion, there are many things to consider. Therefore it is highly recommended to hire a U.S.-licensed attorney specializing in trademark law to help you through the entire application process. An attorney licensed to practice law in the United States must represent you if you are a foreign-domiciled applicant.

Design Search Code

If your mark includes a design element, you must search using a design code. All marks that contain design elements are assigned a 6-digit numerical code by the USPTO for search purposes. Also, TESS can be used to search for design codes. The Design Search Code Manual can be used to assist you in finding a design code. This manual lists the sections, divisions and categories that make up these codes. A five-pointed star, for example, would be coded in the category 01 (celestial bodies and natural phenomena), division 01 (5 stars, comets), and section 03 (5 stars with five points), which results in a total design code of 01.01.03.