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Trademarks

Today’s topic is how to search trademarks.

By
Michael W. Flynn
February 16, 2008

Page 1 of 3

First, a disclaimer: Although I am an attorney, the legal information in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, I do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any listener.   

Today’s topic is how to search trademarks. Jennifer wrote:

I have what I think is a fabulous idea for a clothing line. I want to make sure there isn’t already a trademark on my product name so I can move forward.

How do I search that out?

Searching for currently trademarked names in the United States is easy. But, determining whether a proposed trademark might infringe on an existing one is more complicated.

First, it is necessary to understand exactly what a trademark is. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. A common example of a trademark is Coca-Cola. The trademark consists of the words “Coca-Cola,” along with the cursive writing and red and white colors.

Trademarks are valuable because they readily tell a consumer where a product comes from. If you see the Coca-Cola trademark on a beverage, you know where the beverage came from.

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