How can I check if a Trademark is Already Registered?
If you're thinking of starting a business, the first thing you'll need to do is check whether your name is available for use. While some businesses are named after their founder or the city where they operate, others are made up entirely of words and phrases that have never been used by anyone else. If you want to trademark your name or logo, then you need to make sure that no one else has already done so.
Conduct a Trademark Search
You can do a trademark search yourself, or you can pay someone to do it for you.
It’s important to protect your brand, so it’s worth investing in a professional trademark search if you think it will help your business grow.
How to Search for a Trademark
If you're serious about protecting your business, it's a good idea to do a trademark search before filing an application for registration. You can do this yourself or hire an attorney to perform the search for you.
If you do decide to conduct the search yourself, keep in mind that the USPTO doesn't provide search results for free; they'll charge $225 per hour (or $350 per half hour) if they need to assist you in completing your self-search request form or if they find something wrong with your submission. The good news is that there are other organizations that offer low-cost or even free searches of trademarks—just be sure not to confuse them with the official USPTO database.
Using a Telephone Directory
If you're not sure if a trademark is registered, look in the telephone directory under "trademarks" or "patents." If you find a listing, it means that the trademark is registered. If there's no listing for your company, it doesn't mean that the mark isn't registered—just that whoever listed their mark first got to claim it.
Using a Search Engine
To find out if a trademark is already registered:
- Search for the exact name you want to use. If the search engine returns results, it means that someone else has already registered your trademark.
- Search for similar names. If you don't get any results from your first search, try searching for variations of your business name with slight spelling and grammatical changes.
- Use wildcards in your search terms. A wildcard is an asterisk (*) that matches any number of letters or characters in a word; this can help you find more options when searching online databases such as those offered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The best way to find a potential trademark for your business is by doing a search on the USPTO's database. If you don't get any results, it's likely that someone else has already registered your desired name as a trademark or service mark. You can also search for similar names and variations of your business name with slight spelling and grammatical changes.
It's important to do your research and make sure that you're not infringing on another company's trademark. You don't want to end up in court over a dispute, so do some quick searches before filing for and using your business name. As long as you can legally use your business name without infringing on any trademarks, then go ahead and register it with the USPTO using their online system.