It would help if you first searched the USPTO trademark database in the trademark electronic search system (TESS) before submitting your application. This will allow you to check if any trademarks have been applied or registered already:
- Similar to your trademark
- In use on related products and for related services
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. For example, there might be those with 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 there are many things to consider in determining the likelihood of confusion.
Therefore, hiring a U.S.-licensed attorney specializing in trademark law is highly recommended to help you through the entire application process. In addition, 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. The USPTO assigns all marks that contain design elements a 6-digit numerical code for search purposes. Also, TESS can be used to search for design codes. In addition, the Design Search Code Manual can be used to assist you in finding a design code. This manual lists the sections, divisions, and categories of these codes. A five-pointed star, for example, would be coded in 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.