You have this amazing product that you’re ready to put out there. You’ve been working on it for a long time. You might have already invested a lot of money into branding and advertising too. You want to know whether you can trademark that product name or whether you should do a search for that product name first.
Lots of people want to find out if that name is taken before they go and register it. The reason is they want to find out if someone has registered a name similar to or exactly like one you want to register. You see, the chances you might receive a likelihood of confusion office action from the USPTO exist for everyone. Tip: One possible solution to avoid that is to look at what we call The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). Here’s the link – www.tmsearch.uspto.gov. Go play with the site. Enter the names you’ve been thinking about and see what’s out there.
When you search on TESS, it will yield results for all LIVE and DEAD marks. So if you see ‘LIVE’ next to a word, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been registered. It does mean that an application for that name has been initiated and it could already be registered or it could still be in progress. Now if it appears as ‘DEAD’ it doesn’t necessarily mean that no one is using it anymore. It does mean that there is no longer a registered and active trademark associated with that product name or business name.
Tip: When you search for a product name, it is the same process as if you were searching for a business name, or a tagline, or a slogan. TESS is the search system on the USPTO website which will yield results for business names, product names, slogans, and taglines.
I have personal reasons as to why I feel that a comprehensive search may be unnecessary at times, but you should always look at TESS. You can reach out to me at my email me to find out why comprehensive searches don’t always make sense to me. To make it short, I feel that every trademark application is a gamble and carries a risk. Some trademarks carry a lesser risk than others, but commonsense might get you a little further than having to spend money on a comprehensive search report sometimes. What’s a comprehensive search? Let me explain.
A comprehensive search report yields results (outside of TESS) for names that are similar to or exactly like yours, but that have not been registered. The reason for doing that is that someone might be claiming common law rights in that name. If you’re interested in finding out more about common law rights than what I already explained, I invite you to watch my YouTube channel because I can only cover so much in this book. In a nutshell, common law rights are rights that you have for using a name that isn’t registered. As you know, those rights are not as extensive as those of a registered trademark holder.
If navigating the trademark search process (whether it’s for a product name or business name) is important to you then send us an email. We can review your options and see if common sense plus our years of experience can save you some dollars.
I want you to enjoy your trademark journey and not let it scare you because the truth is, as your company grows, as it should and as it will, you will have more and more to protect. If you like this book, make sure that you give me a review on Amazon. Some of the biggest brands in the world have registered numerous trademark applications for products and slogans: Big Mac, Whopper, Big Mac, Whopper, Whopper Jr., Value Meal, you catch my drift. Big-box stores, big-box retailers, big-box restaurants, have registered all sorts of Marks. It takes a lot of hard work, effort, and money to creating and grow your business. Stay the course and congratulations on taking the journey! I’m rooting for you.
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