If you’ve spent time on our blog or Instagram, you’ll have heard us mention doing a trademark search is an important part of how we serve clients. So, what is a trademark search and why do you need one? Let’s dive into this together—the answer is simple but the explanation behind it deserves some thought for your personal situation. As attorneys who have started up our own firm, we’ll be the first to say that when you are first starting a business, your task list can feel quite daunting! Typically, one of the items on the list will be filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A cursory google search will point you in the direction of helpful DIY websites and it seems like a task that is doable on your own. What most people don’t realize is that a smooth trademarking journey starts with a thoughtful and well-informed trademark search about if your desired trademark is available.
Starting off, let’s dig into why a detailed trademark search is one of the biggest assets in starting up your business. First things first, you’ll probably be interested in trademarking your business name. After all, every business should protect its intellectual property, starting with the most recognizable aspect of its marketing, your name! A detailed trademark search will confirm your name is available to trademark. We cannot emphasize the importance of doing this before you begin branding, paying for a customized logo, buying your URL, and spending time researching social handles. That trademark search ensures that all of this is yours to claim as you file your application with the USPTO. Few things are more devastating as a new business owner than investing thousands of dollars in branding and marketing only to have to change your name because it’s already been trademarked. Actually, the only thing more devastating is being served a cease and desist letter from another business because they trademarked the name you are using and are threatening legal action.
Aside from reinvesting in branding if the trademark you’re hoping to use is already taken, a detailed trademark search can save you up to a year of time. If there’s a real or potential issue with your trademark, this process will make it obvious so you can bring it to the table for discussion and find a solution. Much like the rest of the federal government, the USPTO is not known for moving quickly! They can take up to 12 months to process your application so if it turns out that your trademarking request is denied 9 months after you submitted it, that’s incredibly valuable time a trademark search can save for you.
So, how do you go about conducting a trademark search? While you can do a cursory search yourself online via the USPTO’s website, it’s so valuable to work 1:1 with an attorney who specializes in trademarking and can do a trademark search on your behalf. Not only do we use professional legal software to scrape the internet for any possible competition, but our worth also shines in interpreting the search results for you. Having worked with the USPTO on hundreds of trademark applications, we know how they think about trademarks. We understand the nuances of trademarking categories and how your business can absolutely trademark a name that is also being used by an unrelated business. We also know how to help you pivot if you cannot use your original name because someone who would be considered your competition is already using it. Like most things in life, experience is worth 1000 Google searches. (Someone experienced by your side saves you so much time!)
If you’re now realizing you need a detailed trademark search, we offer a thorough search and report for all of our clients, along with filing your trademarking application. Book your complimentary consult here so we can talk through your idea.
*This post is for general education and does not initiate an attorney-client relationship with us. We always recommend consulting a trademark attorney for your brand’s specific needs.