- Distinguish your business from your competitors and build your brand identity and reputation.
- Prevent confusion and deception among consumers and avoid legal disputes and lawsuits.
- Benefit from exclusive rights and remedies in case of infringement or violation.
Therefore, before you register or use your business name, you need to use a trademark checker to make sure that it is not already taken or registered by someone else. This can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.
How to use a trademark checker in three steps
Using a trademark checker is not difficult, but it requires some research and attention. Here are three steps that you can follow to use a trademark checker effectively:
- Step 1: Choose a reliable and comprehensive trademark checker. There are many online tools that offer trademark checking services, but not all of them are accurate or updated. You should choose a trademark checker that covers multiple sources and databases, such as the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and other national and regional registries. You should also choose a trademark checker that can search for different types of trademarks, such as word marks, design marks, sound marks, or color marks. One example of a reliable and comprehensive trademark checker is Trademarkia, which claims to have the largest database of trademarks in the world.
- Step 2: Enter your desired business name and select the relevant categories and classes. Once you have chosen a trademark checker, you need to enter your desired business name in the search box and select the categories and classes that best describe your products or services. Categories are broad groups of goods or services, such as clothing, food, or education. Classes are more specific subdivisions of categories, such as shirts, coffee, or online courses. You can find the list of categories and classes on the USPTO website or on the website of the trademark checker that you are using. You should select all the categories and classes that apply to your business, as this will help you to find any potential conflicts or similarities with existing trademarks.
- Step 3: Review the results and analyze the risks. After you have entered your desired business name and selected the relevant categories and classes, you need to review the results and analyze the risks. The results will show you all the existing trademarks that match or resemble your desired business name in some way. You need to pay attention to the following factors:
- The similarity of the marks: How similar are the existing trademarks to your desired business name in terms of appearance, sound, meaning, or impression? The more similar they are, the higher the risk of confusion or infringement.
- The similarity of the goods or services: How similar are the goods or services covered by the existing trademarks to your goods or services? The more similar they are, the higher the risk of competition or dilution.
- The status of the marks: Are the existing trademarks registered, pending, abandoned, expired, or cancelled? The status of the marks can affect their validity and enforceability.
- The location of the marks: Where are the existing trademarks registered or used? The location of the marks can affect their scope and jurisdiction.
Based on these factors, you need to assess whether your desired business name is available or not, and whether it poses any legal risks or not. If your desired business name is available and does not pose any legal risks, you can proceed to register it as a trademark with the appropriate authority. If your desired business name is not available or poses any legal risks, you may need to modify it or choose a different one.
How to register your business name as a trademark
If you have used a trademark checker and found that your desired business name is available and does not pose any legal risks, you can register it as a trademark with the appropriate authority. Depending on where you want to register your trademark, you may need to follow different procedures and requirements. For example, if you want to register your trademark in the US, you need to:
- File an application with the USPTO online through its Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
- Pay the required fees, which range from $225 to $400 per class of goods or services.
- Provide information about yourself, your business name, your goods or services, and any specimens or evidence of use of your mark.
- Wait for an examining attorney from the USPTO to review your application and issue an approval or an office action.
- Respond to any office actions or objections within the specified time limit.
- Wait for your mark to be published for opposition in the Official Gazette, a weekly publication of the USPTO that lists all the trademarks that are approved for registration.
- Wait for any oppositions or challenges from third parties within 30 days of publication.
- Receive a certificate of registration or a notice of allowance from the USPTO, depending on whether your mark is in use or not.
- Maintain and renew your registration every 10 years by filing the necessary documents and fees with the USPTO.
If you want to register your trademark in other countries or regions, you may need to follow different procedures and requirements. You can find more information about trademark registration in different countries or regions on the [WIPO website] or on the website of the trademark authority of the country or region that you are interested in.