How to Find Out If a Name Has Been Trademarked

Trademarks in the U.S. are either the state or federal level. If you would like to use a name, logo or phrase in which you feel is original, it is very important that you first verify that your idea has not already been trademark registered. If you knowingly or unknowingly use registered trademark, you could be held accountable for financial restitution for trademark infringement, and that could possibly become very expensive. Verifying if a name has already been trademarked could definitely save you money in the long run.

Instructions

    • 1

      Log on to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

    • 2

      Click on TESS Tips under the "Warning" label. The USPTO has a list of five tips that they would like the user to read about, including topics such as what TESS is and isn't, and how to do a proper USPTO search.

    • 3

      Click on "New User Form Search (Basic)" in the "Select Search Form Box" to begin your trademark search. Remember that TESS will only find trademarks that were registered by the USPTO. TESS will not search for trademark names registered within a state or outside of the U.S.

    • 4

      Contact the Secretary of State's business office in the state you plan to possibly use the name for which you are doing the trademark search. The Secretary of State's business office will be able to tell you if a name has already been trademarked in that state.

Tips & Warnings

  • The USPTO encourages anyone who is applying for a trademark or needs to do an in depth search for a trademark to hire an attorney that specializes in patents & trademarks. The attorney can also be very valuable if you decide to apply for a trademark.
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  • Photo Credit Legal Law Justice image by Stacey Alexander from Fotolia.com

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