The trademark search process

Glenn W. Peterson

California businesses interested in staking their claims to particular terms, names or even logo designs will want to understand the process involved in trademarking such items. There is a difference between simply using a term and a basic trademark symbol and having that registered to a company. It is only with the latter that any legal protections are provided.

Before identifying a name of a product or service, a company will want to make sure the name it wishes to use is actually available for trademarking. The International Trademark Association explains this can be done through a trademark search. This is the process by which a company can learn if a term is available to use and if it is available to register. One of the primary benefits of doing this search before starting to use a term is to avoid legal challenges down the road. Problems can arise if a company moves ahead with a term that is actually registered to another business.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, companies should conduct a thorough search for potentially trademarked terms that go beyond the specific terms desired. For example, it can be highly beneficial to know if other terms that are very similar to the one wanting to be used are trademarked. When two companies use terms that sound alike, confusion can arise in the marketplace.

Being prepared ahead of time to investigate the use of multiple terms can open up more doors for businesses in the event that one term is not available.