As an Amazon seller, you should know how critical is getting an Amazon trademark for your business, which is the best way to shield yourself legally and financially. Before you start your business or using any trademarks, you need to know if a similar trademark has already been registered to someone else. So how can we know that? Let’s find out in this article, one of the ways you can take to check if a trademark is already registered, that is on USPTO.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is legally recognized as a type of intellectual property. According to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Some examples include brand names, slogans, and logos. The term “trademark” is often used in a general sense to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
Why should I do a trademark search?
Conducting a complete search of your mark before filing an application is very important.
Avoid trademark infringement and several expensive, time-consuming problems
If you start a business using a trademark that another business has already registered, you won’t be able to register that trademark for your business. You might risk being sued for trademark infringement. A trademark infringement complaint may mean a lawsuit that you have to take a lot of effort to resolve. You may have to change your name, packaging, labels, and website. The worst scenario trademark complaint can easily lead to your seller account suspension. Conducting a trademark lookup before you start your business can certainly help you avoid these unwelcome issues.
Increase the chance that your application will be granted
One of the main reasons that applications are denied is a “likelihood of confusion” with an existing trademark. There’s a likelihood of confusion if two marks are similar and are used for related goods and services, such that the public might think that both came from the same source.
A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) trademark lookup will identify similar and confusing marks, giving you a chance to choose a different mark before you spend hundreds of dollars on nonrefundable trademark application fees or thousands of dollars branding your business.
How to Do a Registered Trademark Search
The USPTO offers a free search system known as TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System). While it’s relatively easy to search for direct name matches, trademark searches can grow complicated and you may want help to conduct a more thorough search.
What to Look For
The purpose of your search is to unearth marks that are similar to yours and used on related goods or services.
Marks can be similar without being identical. For example, names may be similar if they look alike or sound alike. The USPTO uses the example of “T.Markey” and “Tee Marquee” to illustrate similar names. When you check trademark status, look for alternate spellings and word endings, as well as exact matches.
Conducting a Trademark Search
To search the USPTO’s trademark database, go to TESS and choose “Search (TESS)” option. If you are searching for fields such as word marks, serial or registration numbers, and owners, you can use Basic Word Mark Search (New User). If you are searching for a design mark, such as a logo, you will first need to look up your design code using the USPTO’s Design Search Code Manual.
A TESS name search allows you to look for plurals. However, the search will not automatically find words that sound like your trademark but are spelt differently. This means that in order to find similar marks, you will need to conduct multiple searches using as many variations on your name as you can come up with. You can search for the exact name, or for any trademark that contains the words in your name.
Each time you search trademarks, review the results for marks that are the same as or similar to yours. Make a list of the similar or identical marks, along with information about the types of goods or services they are registered for.
Then take note of any of the similar marks that are registered for goods or services that are similar to yours. Consult the USPOs online Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual for information about how to describe goods or services and the international trademark class they fall into. This can help you identify what types of goods or services are most closely related to yours.
A professionally conducted search can save time and can give you more complete results than you might get on your own. If your search uncovers a similar registered trademark, it can be hard to know for sure whether the similarity would defeat a trademark application or potentially lead to a trademark infringement claim. If you are uncertain, consult a trademark lawyer for advice before you invest time and money in trademarking.
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