A trademark search is the first step in a two-step trademark registration process to protect your trademark. Our trademark searches investigate whether you would be infringing on another’s trademark rights if you adopted your proposed trademark.
Different levels of trademark searches exist:
- Knockout search
- Comprehensive search
- International search
A knockout search is a basic search. It searches the federal trademark database. A comprehensive search also includes a search of the internet, magazines, and other databases. An international search is a knockout search but searches foreign trademark databases.
Prior to conducting any trademark search, we settle on the description of goods and services which is used to conduct the trademark search. If the trademark search does not find any conflicting marks, then the same description of goods and services will be used in your trademark application. As such, it is important to get this description correct before moving forward to the search step and trademark application step.
For domestic searches, we can conduct a knockout search or a comprehensive search. The knockout search attempts to find marks that might conflict with your proposed mark. For many clients, this is sufficient. We will cover the pros and cons of both the knockout search and comprehensive search prior to conducting any search.
Should you require a deeper search, the comprehensive search digs into the federal and state databases as well as other databases including Dun and Bradstreet, internet sightings, business filings, etc. It is a comprehensive search and will give you a much more granular level of detail into other companies that may have already utilized a similar mark compared to your proposed mark.
For international searches, we can conduct a worldwide identical screening search. It does not take into consideration phonetic equivalents and local trademark laws, but for its low cost, it is a good starting point for many clients that want to get a trademark in foreign countries. Should you require a deeper dive into the trademark database of a specific foreign country, we can retain one of our foreign trademark associates to conduct a local search.
We counsel clients in selecting a mark, and advise them on the strength of their proposed mark and any problems that they might encounter should they adopt and use the mark as their own.
The second step is the filing and prosecution of the trademark application. [Learn more.]