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Trademark Searching Tips

The Six Step Strategy to Searching Trademarks in Reference Services

  1. U.S. Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual
    Begin with this alphabetical listing of acceptable terms for the identification of goods and services. Locate terms that describe your good or service. For example, "flying discs" is the acceptable term for a flying saucer-type toy. 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
    World Intellectual Propery Organization: International Classifications
    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)
    (paper or CD-ROM or 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 Clas 28 (toys and Sporting Goods).
  4. Design Search Code Manual
    If 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 Search Code Manual to locate the appropriate six-digit code for each design element in your mark. For example, a logo depicting an eagle would be coded 03.15.01. Each element in a logo is assigned a design code. Carefully review the guidelines in each category.
  5. Search Trademarks REGISTERED and PENDING with Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)
    (CD-ROMs or USPTO Website)
    Conduct the search combining your word mark or logo with the 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, SNO BRITE, SNOW BRIGHT, SNO-BRITE, SNO-BRIGHT, SNOW WHITE, etc.
  6. Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) Database
    Finally, check TSDR, the Trademark Applications & Registrations Retrieval system, for the current status of the marks you found in Step 5. Records in the Web trademark databses 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 Offical Gazette.