Conducting a Trademark Search

  1. Trademark Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual (Available in paper, CD-ROM or on the USPTO Website)
    Begin with this alphabetical listing of acceptable terms that describe your good or service. For example, "bags (plastic sandwich) " is the acceptable term for plastic sandwich bags. Note the international class number listed next to each term. Also identify terms for goods and/or services that are used, advertised or sold with your product. For instance, peanut butter is sold and used with jellies and jams. Finally, check for deleted terms that may be related to your good or service.
  2. International Schedule of Classes (Available in paper, CD-ROM or on the USPTO Website)
    Scan the schedule for additional classes that are related to your product or service. For instance, if your product is income tax preparation software, Class 36 would be related because it includes services related to insurance, financial affairs, monetary affairs, and real estate. The schedule is located on the back cover of the Basic Facts About Trademarks booklet.
  3. Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) (Available in paper, CD-ROM or on the USPTO Website)
    Review Chapter 1400 for the appropriate class scope notes in order to confirm the terms and classes you have chosen. For example, Class 8 (Hand Tools) includes cutlery but not surgical knives, which are in Class 10 (Medical Apparatus), or fencing weapons, which are found in Class 28 (Toys and Sporting Goods).
  4. Design Code Manual (Available in paper or on the USPTO Website)
    f your mark incorporates a design or logo you must search for trademarks that might be confusingly similar. Use the index in the back of the Design Code Manual to locate the appropriate six-digit code for each design element in your mark. For example, a logo depicting a weather vane would be coded 17.07.09. Each element in a logo is assigned a design code. Carefully review the guidelines for each category.
  5. Trademarks REGISTERED and PENDING CD-ROMS or the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) (Available on CD-ROM or on the USPTO Website)
    Conduct the search combining your word mark or logo with terms, classes and design codes you've identified in steps 1-4. Remember to search for alternate spellings, phonetic and foreign language equivalents, synonyms and homonyms. For example, SNOW BRITE, SNOW BRIGHT, SNO-BRITE, SNO-BRIGHT, SNOW WHITE, etc.
  6. TARR Trademark Status Database (Available on the USPTO Website only)
    Finally, check TARR, the Trademark Applications & Registrations Retrieval system, for the current status of the marks you found in Step 5. Records in the Web trademark databases are linked directly to their TARR equivalents. The TARR database is updated daily at 5 a.m. and contains important trademark application and registration information not found on CD-ROM, the Web or in the Official Gazette.
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Last Updated: 02/05/2008