A man working on his laptop computer searching for trademarks

Trademark Searching and Research

By James Wan

Maximizing the Impact of Trademark Searching: Tips for Success

Trade Mark Search: Importance and Best Practices

Your company’s brand is a valuable asset. It helps customers find your products and services, giving you a competitive edge. Protecting your brand with a trademark is worth the investment, even for startups and small businesses. In this article, we’ll explain why trademark searches matter and how to do them right.

1. Why are trademark searches important?

Avoid wasted time and resources

Before filing a trademark, search for existing ones. This helps you avoid conflicts and saves time, money, and effort. If there’s a similar trademark already, you can modify yours or resolve the issue before filing.

Early infringement detection

Regular monitoring helps spot copycats and infringements, like counterfeit products and bad faith registrations. Addressing these issues early can protect your reputation and revenue.

Trademark databases

Global Brand Database

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Brand Database is a comprehensive resource. It includes trademarks from national, regional, and international collections.

National trademark databases

Check your target country’s database for the most up-to-date information. Some national databases aren’t on the Global Brand Database, so running searches on both is a good idea.

Online platforms

Search the internet, e-commerce sites, and social media for potential infringement. These platforms can reveal unauthorized use of your trademark by third parties.

3. Seek expert advice

Although the methods above can help you search for trademarks, consulting a specialist is recommended. They can provide better results and practical advice. They’ll also consider factors like translations and local alphabets to make your search more effective.

Experts can also analyze the results, assessing the likelihood of confusion between similar marks. They can help you determine if your application is likely to succeed or if you can take action against potential infringements.

In the digital age, trademark searches are crucial for brand protection. Stay informed, save time and resources, and secure a safe path for your business growth.

Trademark Searching Steps

An Overview of Essential Steps in Trademark Searching

A trademark search checks if a trademark is already in use. Trademarks represent companies and need protection. Laws protect registered trademarks from duplication.

To register a trademark, a company must ensure their design isn’t too similar to others. There are two types of searches: “knock-out search” and “full search”.

This search is done on the Federal Trademark Register through USPTO. It checks registered trademarks and pending applications. It shows identical or close matches.

A searching firm performs a full search using specialized software. It includes identical and close variations. A lawyer reviews the lengthy results.

Run a preliminary search before consulting a professional. Follow these steps on the USPTO website:

  1. Go to the USPTO website and find the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
  2. Select a search option, like Word and/or Mark Search (Free Form).
  3. Enter your mark and search for an exact match.
  4. Be thorough by searching for variations of your trademark.
  5. Expand your search to partial matches.
  6. Review your records.

Checking for Trademarked Names

Search for conflicting business names using:

  • National Trademark Searches on the USPTO website.
  • State Trademark Searches on your state’s division of corporations website.

Analyzing Search Results

Analyze search results for similarities in sound, appearance, meaning, and trade channels. A lawyer usually determines if the proposed trademark infringes on an existing one.

Anyone applying for a registered trademark or using a trademark for business should conduct a search. It prevents infringement and lawsuits.

  1. Describe the products or services with the mark.
  2. Identify specific terms using the Acceptable Identification of Goods & Services Manual.
  3. Determine the International Class.
  4. Identify related goods or services and their classes.
  5. Develop a basic search strategy.
  6. Broaden your search strategy.
  7. Conduct the search on TESS.

Note: Search logos and designs using the Design Search Code Manual, if needed.

Understanding the Benefits and Limitations of Using Automated Trademark Searches

Trade Mark Watch: What and Why?

Your trade marks matter. They’re key assets in your business. But, like all assets, you must manage them right.

What is it?

Trade mark watch services help you monitor your trade marks. They catch unauthorized use and alert you to take action. You can choose from:

Automated software services

Manual watch services Software services search trade mark registers for similar or identical marks. Manual services have someone do this manually and send you reports.


The main benefit of these services is peace of mind. They give you national or international coverage, so you can focus on your business. Plus, you can respond to infringement fast.


The main downside is cost. Monthly fees depend on how many trade mark classes they monitor. International searches may cost more. But, the benefits often outweigh the costs.

Do I Need It?

If you’re a small business with few trade marks, monitoring them yourself might be enough. Bigger businesses with large trade mark portfolios might find these services essential.

What about Trademark Monitoring?

Trademark monitoring keeps an eye out for potential infringers and checks if your trademark accidentally infringes on others. It’s important for small and large businesses alike, as no one wants to waste resources on avoidable lawsuits.

When is it Needed?

You need trademark monitoring when new applications are filed or to detect possible infringement. It helps protect your trademark rights and customer base by weeding out imitators.


  • Stops trademark dilution
  • Eliminates trademark infringement
  • Saves cost of legal proceedings
  • Secures present and future damage control
  • Deters impersonators, imitators, and knock-offs
  • Offers competitive advantage
  • Acts as a solution against the Doctrine of Laches

Pitfalls of No Monitoring Plan

  • Fault line in brand’s uniqueness
  • Loss of trademark rights
  • Brand value dilution

In summary, trade mark watch services protect your trade marks and ensure your business thrives. Monitoring your trade marks is vital, and the right service depends on your unique needs. Remember, your trade marks are valuable assets—treat them that way.

Trademark Tools

Trademark Monitoring Services & Tools

Need to watch your trademark? Here are 5 monitoring services:

  • National: Monitors activity in one country.
  • European: Covers the entire Europe region.
  • Worldwide: Best for brands with global reach.
  • Benelux: Focuses on Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
  • Trade Name: Monitors by trade name, not by jurisdiction.

Choose the right tools for effective monitoring. Some popular ones are:

  • Google Ads & Keyword Planner: Find trademark misuse in ads and search terms.
  • Google Search & Alerts: Regular search and email notifications for new similar content.
  • TESS: Automated search by the USPTO to find registered trademarks and applications.
  • Amazon Search: Check online marketplaces for infringements. New trademark monitoring software is also gaining popularity.

Rise of Monitoring Software

Monitoring software detects similar trademarks efficiently. Even WIPO recommends it. Third-party service providers and law firms can use it to send cease and desist letters.

Creating an Optimal Monitoring Policy

Trademark owners must monitor and take legal action against infringers. Follow these steps to make a good policy:

  • Draft Clear Policies: Set rules for using your trademark by partners, affiliates, and others.
  • Determine Penalties: Make consequences for non-compliance clear in agreements.
  • Automate Monitoring: Use technology to find infringements faster and more accurately.
  • Assign Responsibility: Have a dedicated team to review automated results.
  • Review & Take Action: Act on infringement findings by contacting partners or initiating legal action.

Always monitor and keep updated

Protect your trademark with early and continuous monitoring. Stay updated on new infringement methods and solutions. Outsourcing monitoring to a third-party provider is advisable.

Trademark Knowledge For Entrepreneurs

What Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Trademark Searching

Trademark Tips: Beyond Names & Logos

Trademarks cover more than names and logos. They include slogans, colors, smells, sounds, and packaging. They’re valuable assets for your business. Here are 6 tips to handle trademarks:

  • Pick a Strong Name: Avoid names that cause “likelihood of confusion” with existing brands in the same market. This can lead to legal battles. Consult an attorney for advice.

  • Learn the Loopholes: Brands with the same name may coexist in different consumer markets. There are 45 markets in the USPTO, identified by “international class” numbers. Get legal help to analyze your options.

  • Know Registration Rules: Each trademark requires a separate application. For a name, logo, and name-logo combo, you’ll need 3 applications to protect your brand.

  • Protect Before Use: You can protect a trademark before using it in commerce. Ask your lawyer if you should apply for a trademark not yet in use.

  • Verify Logo Originality: Make sure your designer guarantees logo originality in writing. Similar or copied logos can cause registration issues or legal disputes.

  • Get Written Contracts: Use contracts with business partners, especially designers. Have an attorney draft contracts tailored to your goals. Avoid online templates, as they may not offer proper protection.

Remember, a well-handled trademark is a valuable asset.

Top 5 Trademark Tips for Entrepreneurs

  • Build a Strong Brand: Your brand sets you apart in the market. Trademarks can be words, designs, sounds, colors, textures, tastes, scents, images, shapes, packaging, or holograms. Aim for unique and fanciful trademarks that don’t describe or serve a functional purpose.

  • Ensure Trademark Availability: Check if your desired trademark is available before committing. Conduct a trademark search to see if any earlier marks might obstruct your trademark’s use or registration. Consult a professional for the appropriate level of searching.

  • Register Your Trademark: In Canada, a trademark registration grants exclusive rights, additional enforcement options, ease in buying/selling/licensing, and renewable protection every 10 years. Business or corporate name registration doesn’t offer the same rights.

  • Protect Trademark Overseas: Secure your trademark in key export markets and manufacturing countries. Canada’s membership in the Madrid Protocol simplifies international trademark filing, covering up to 122 countries in a single application.

  • Maintain Good Standing: As a trademark owner, ensure proper use of your trademark. Challenge unauthorized use by third parties and avoid turning your trademark into a generic name. Registrations can be canceled due to non-use (typically 3-5 years).

  • Takeaways: Create and protect a strong trademark, check its availability, register it, secure international protection, and maintain its good standing for a successful brand.

Trademark Searching Guide

A Comprehensive Guide to Navigating the Complexities of Trademark Searches

What is a trademark search?

A trademark search goes beyond checking for registered trademarks. It can find unregistered brands and be done by territory or internationally. Searches can be done using keywords, trademark numbers, images, or owners. It’s useful not only before registering a new mark but also during its lifetime to monitor potential infringements or threats.

Why is a trademark search needed?

Skipping a comprehensive trademark search can cause issues, like registering a trademark that gets refused or revoked later, wasting time and resources. Regular searches during the mark’s life can help identify competitor infringements, protecting your brand’s exclusivity and value.

Two options: in-house or outsourcing to an external provider.

  • In-house: Suitable for smaller companies with limited trademark reach. Use national IP office databases, which are free but limited to select territories and registered trademarks. Commercial databases like CompuMark offer more comprehensive results but may have fees. Be mindful of linguistic, phonetic, and national variations when searching.

  • External providers: Outsourcing saves time and offers comprehensive results. Expert providers have international teams, experience, and resources to search registered and unregistered marks across multiple databases. They can also offer tailored screening services to help you understand the legal and commercial implications of registering your mark.

  • Pre-application process: Ensure your desired trade mark isn’t already registered for similar goods/services.
  • Finding the owner: Locate the owner to buy or obtain a licence for a registered trade mark.
  • Infringement: Monitor for possible infringement of your registered trade mark.
  • Renewal: Remember the registration date and renew your trade mark every 10 years.

Types of Searches

Search #1: Word Search

Quick search: Broad results for words, similar-looking/sounding trade marks. Advanced search: Narrow results by specifying features (e.g., date, number). Exact search: Refine results further with precise matches.

Search #2: Image Search

Default search: Broad results for images. Advanced search: More precise results for images. Add descriptive words for better specificity.

Search #3: Number Search

Search directly by trade mark number to check the status or renewal date. FAQs

How much does a trade mark application cost?

Costs range from $250 to $600, excluding renewal fees. Check IP Australia’s website for a detailed breakdown.

Is there a database to find out if material is copyrighted?

No specific database; copyright information is usually printed on the material itself (e.g., ’© [author’s name] 2023’).

In today’s fast-paced business world, protecting your brand and intellectual property is crucial. A trademark search is an essential step in ensuring your desired trademark isn’t already in use, avoiding potential legal disputes down the line. Traditionally, conducting trademark searches was a time-consuming and cumbersome process. However, online platforms have revolutionized the way we search for trademarks, making it more accessible, efficient, and streamlined.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using online platforms for your next trademark search and how they can simplify the process.

Benefits of Using Online Platforms for Trademark Searches

  1. Accessibility Online platforms have made trademark search databases accessible to everyone, anywhere, at any time. You no longer need to visit a physical office or hire an expensive attorney to conduct a search on your behalf. With just a few clicks, you can access a wealth of information about registered trademarks, pending applications, and more.

  2. Speed The use of online platforms has significantly sped up the trademark search process. Results are generated in seconds, allowing you to quickly determine whether your desired trademark is available or already in use. You can also conduct multiple searches in a short period, making it easier to explore alternative trademarks if your initial choice is unavailable.

  3. Advanced Search Capabilities Many online platforms offer advanced search features that allow you to refine your search results. You can filter results based on various criteria, such as date of registration, goods or services, and owner information. Some platforms also provide image search capabilities, enabling you to find trademarks that have visual elements similar to your desired design.

  4. Cost-Effective Performing trademark searches using online platforms is often more cost-effective than traditional methods. Many platforms offer free or low-cost access to their databases, allowing you to save on attorney fees and other expenses associated with conducting searches.

  5. Easy Comparison and Analysis Online platforms often present search results in a user-friendly format, making it simple to compare and analyze trademarks. This feature can help you identify potential conflicts, similarities, or trends that may impact your decision to register a specific trademark.

Tips for Using Online Platforms for Trademark Searches

To maximize the benefits of online platforms for trademark searches, consider the following tips:

Choose the right platform: Select a platform that offers access to a comprehensive database, including national and international trademark registers. Some popular options include the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Global Brand Database, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) TESS database, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) database.

Utilize advanced search features: Make use of the platform’s advanced search features to narrow down your results and find the most relevant trademarks.

Be thorough: Conduct multiple searches using various iterations of your desired trademark, including alternative spellings, synonyms, and translations. This approach will help you uncover potential conflicts that may not be apparent from a single search.

Monitor your trademark: After registering your trademark, use online platforms to regularly monitor for potential infringements or new applications that may conflict with your registered mark.

Seek professional assistance if needed: While online platforms can streamline the trademark search process, some situations may require the expertise of an attorney. If you encounter complex legal issues or have doubts about the availability of your desired trademark, consider consulting with an experienced trademark attorney.

Online platforms for quick and easy protection

Online platforms have revolutionized the way we conduct trademark searches, offering a streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective approach. By leveraging the power of these platforms, you can quickly and easily determine the availability of your desired trademark and protect your brand’s intellectual property.

Trademark Searching Yourself

Why Do Your Own Trademarks Searches

The importance of doing my own trademark searches.

  1. Saving Time and Money I used to rely on professionals to do the searches for me. But it was costly and time-consuming. By doing it myself, I save both time and money. It’s a win-win!

  2. Becoming Self-Sufficient Learning how to search trademarks empowered me. I no longer depend on others for such an essential business task. It’s a skill I can use forever.

  3. Understanding My Market When I do my own searches, I learn about my competitors and the market landscape. This knowledge helps me make informed decisions and stay ahead of the game.

  4. Preventing Legal Issues Infringing on someone else’s trademark is risky. By doing my own searches, I can identify potential conflicts early on and avoid costly legal battles.

  5. Tailoring My Brand As I search trademarks, I gain insights into what works and what doesn’t. This helps me refine my brand and create a unique identity that stands out.

  6. International Expansion If I plan to expand globally, I can do my own international searches. It ensures my brand is protected worldwide.

  7. Staying Updated Regularly doing my own searches keeps me informed about new trademarks, possible infringements, and industry trends. Knowledge is power!

Doing my own trademark searches has been a game-changer. It saves time and money, empowers me, and helps me understand my market better. Plus, it prevents legal issues and keeps me updated on trends. So, if you haven’t started doing your own trademark searches yet, I highly recommend giving it a try!

Your brand is vital. Think Apple, Boots, or Costa Coffee. But we often overlook trademarks. This guide helps you get it right.

Search First

Before registering, search the UK Intellectual Property Office database. Make sure your desired trademark isn’t taken. Infringing on someone else’s trademark may lead to legal trouble. If you plan to trade internationally, search globally.

Infringing on someone else’s trademark is a big issue for new or expanding businesses. Searching is crucial.

Conduct a trademark search before using one. A registered business name or domain name doesn’t give you full rights in Australia or abroad. Only a registered trademark grants exclusive rights for specific goods or services. Sometimes, even with a registered trademark, you might still infringe on someone else’s rights.

Unique Names Win

For a smooth registration, use a unique name. Being too literal might cause issues. Made-up or ‘coined’ words help you stand out. Examples: Nike, Kodak, Microsoft.

Plan Ahead

Trademarks last for ten years. Think about your business in 12 months or five years. Register your trademark in all relevant classifications of goods or services. If you don’t trade in a class within five years, your trademark may be revoked if contested.

Enforce Your Rights

Registering isn’t enough. Watch your market. Make sure no one uses your trademark without permission. Infringement doesn’t always lead to court. Often, a ‘Cease and Desist’ letter from an IP Attorney stops it. Don’t write it yourself. Avoid defamation accusations with careful wording.