To conduct a company name trademark search, you need to take the right steps. By taking the correct course of action, you will be able to protect your brand from competitors — both on a state and national level.

National Trademark Search 

When conducting a trademark search, the process can seem overwhelming. In order to conduct a comprehensive search, many businesses will hire the support of law firms. This typically depends on the complexity and type of mark. If you would like to begin a basic search on your own, head to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website

Here is what you should know:

  • The electronic search system, referred to as TESS, can help you determine what marks have been previously registered. You should also perform a more general Internet search to see how that name is being used. 
  • You can also use a fee-based trademark search engine, such as Thomson's SAEGIS database
  • To obtain a list of domain name registrars, ICANN.org
  • You need to search for unregistered trademarks because even if a mark is not registered, it does not mean that it is available for current use. This means that an unregistered trademark may still come with legal stipulations. Worst case, a business ends up in court due to trademark infringement

State Trademark Registries

Although it is great to start your search on a federal basis, it is also imperative that you perform a search within the state's database. Although states vary in terms of key departments, the state trademark database will likely be found through the Secretary of State. 

You can also use one of several sites to search for trademarks registered in all 50 states. If you plan on doing business in numerous states, this is a critical step. When you do conduct a company name trademark search, you may find hundreds of similar trademarks. The key is knowing how to sort through all of this information. 

When you work with a certified attorney, they can help you work your way through the data. More importantly, they can provide legal advice as to whether or not you should pursue a specific trademark. If you have already completed your company name trademark search, an attorney can also file an application on your behalf

Registering a Trademark for a Company Name

When it does come time to officially register a trademark, the process can be completed in approximately 90 minutes, on average. If you plan on registering a trademark yourself, you can do so by visiting www.uspto.gov

To complete this process, you will need to pay a fee between $275 and $325. Also, have the following information ready:

  • What category does your goods or services fall under?
  • What date was the mark first used?
  • Is there a design component to your proposed mark?

FAQS

To guide you towards success, here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

  • Why there's a need to perform a trademark search? — When you conduct a company name trademark search, this will avoid any obvious duplicate applications. This means that you can avoid losing nonrefundable fees.
  • What is a preliminary trademark search? — By using the TESS search engine, you can save both time and money. Although you may not find a registered trademark associated with your proposed mark, this does NOT mean that it will automatically be accepted.
  • How do I perform a trademark search? — First, decide which class you will register under. To so do, utilize the Trademark Class Search Tool. Then, when conducting a search through your country's Trademark Office, try various combinations of your name. 
  • Do I need an attorney to perform a trademark search? — No, an attorney is not required, but legal representation is RECOMMENDED. This is especially true for those who have little or no experience.
  • What is the difference between a strong and weak mark? — A strong trademark will be something that is suggestive or arbitrary, describing your goods or services in a unique manner. In comparison, if your trademark will be easy to replicate, this is likely a weak choice. Once again, this is why legal aid is recommended in terms of your current and future rights.

If you need help with a company name trademark search, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.