Do Free Trademark Search to Avoid Problems with Your Application

By Joseph Savard

If you are looking to register a trademark, you may be wondering if there is a free way to make sure someone else doesn't already have it. Well, that is both a yes and a no. There is no shortage of sites that can do a quick search without a charge.

However, you will need to do a thorough search to be really sure that the name is available. The first step may be being sure you understand what a trademark is in the first place. A trademark is defined as a word or unique name, phrase, symbol, logo, image, design, or may be combinations of these different elements that distinctively identify the service or product you offer to customers; this distinguishes a particular company from their competitors.

Basically, what this boils down to is a symbol or name that identifies your business and keeps it protected from competitors. Also, it makes it illegal for anyone to copy your item without your permission. This is actually enforceable by the government.

The internet is a great tool to use when looking for a free trademark search and is very widely used. You can even use sites that will show you existing trademarks so you know what has already been taken versus coming up with one just to be disappointed that someone else already had your great idea.

Here are a couple of places to perform a free trademark search to see if the trademark you are thinking of is already taken.

The USPTO - United States Patent and Trademark Office - has a website where you can do searches of existing federal trademarks on file. While you are bumping around on the site, check out the depository and download it for later reference. There is also a spot where you can look at a list of goods that can be trademarked.

For example, you cannot trademark a banana, but when you make it a Chiquita, it has been trademarked. It is a good all around site to start with. There is a fact sheet of sorts for the facts of trademarks. Be aware, however, that there are some holes in the site.

For example, if the trademark is on the state level, it will not be on the federal website. Also, the search engine within the site is not intelligent, that is, it does not look for spelling variations, synonyms, word placement and the like. You will have to do that on your own.

The Secretary of States' websites are also worth visiting. Check to see if your state offers a database that is searchable online. Chances are though, this will not include the federal database, or common law databases. Check to see if it is updated regularly and if the search is intelligent to help aid you in your quest.

You can also check the Yellow Pages online. Simply enter the name of a business and leave the rest of the fields blank. This will perform a nationwide search of the name you put in. This is going to be like the United States Patent and Trademark Office site in that the search engine is not intelligent and any variations would have to be put in manually.

By taking advantage of the free trademark searches online, you can gather all kinds of information that may prove useful in your endeavor to register a trademark. If you are not satisfied with what you have come up with, you can also hire a privet company or an attorney.

This is also a good option if you find you do not have the time to search every spelling or word placement variation on several sites. They will be able to perform this detailed search for you for a cost.

You can easily file for a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They are going to make sure there are no trademarks already existing that are similar or exactly like the one you are wising to register. Keep in mind though, that they are not there for the new applicants, but to protect the integrity of existing trademarks.

If the trademark you are trying to file has a resemblance to one already on file, the application will be denied and you will have to start over and submit a new one. This could take months to know if your application has been approved or not, that is why it is so important to do your home work ahead of time.

Joseph Savard has been in the business of trademarking for 15 years now and is the best selling author of the ebook "The Trademarking Handbook" Check out his website for your guide on how to register a trademark now at

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