TMEP 104: Trademark Searching

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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104    Trademark Searching

X-Search, the USPTO's computerized search system, contains text and images of registered marks, and marks in pending and abandoned applications. X-Search is used by examining attorneys when searching for conflicting marks during examination.

The public may conduct searches free of charge using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) on the USPTO website at http://tmsearch.uspto.gov.  Like X-Search, TESS provides access to text and images of registered marks and marks in pending and abandoned applications.  Additional information, including current status, for pending trademark applications and registered trademarks can be obtained by entering the trademark serial number or registration number in the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) database. See TMEP §108.01.  TESS and TSDR are available in Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs) (see TMEP §112).

The public may use the X-Search system and view the internal Trademark database without charge in the Public Search Facility, which is located on the first floor of the James Madison Building - East Wing, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays within the District of Columbia.  The Public Search Facility also contains copies of State emblems and official signs and hallmarks of member countries of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which are protected under Article 6 ter of the Convention (see TMEP §1205.02). The Public Search Facility does not contain copies of the official insignia of state- and federally recognized Native American tribes. X-Search or TESS can be used to search for these insignia.

If a mark includes a design element, it can be searched by using a design code.  To locate the proper design code(s), the public can use the Design Search Code Manual on the USPTO website at http://tess2.uspto.gov/tmdb/dscm/index.htm.

For some marks, the USPTO has added a pseudo mark to the search data to assist users in identifying relevant marks related to their search term.  The "pseudo mark" field, which is not displayed, often contains spellings that are very similar or phonetically equivalent to the word mark.  For example, if "4U" appears in the mark, the term "for you" would be added to the pseudo-mark field.  This provides an additional search tool for locating marks that contain an alternative or intentionally corrupted spelling for a normal English word.  Pseudo mark entries are not displayed or printed in the search results and are not part of the official application or registration.

USPTO personnel cannot conduct trademark searches for the public. A private trademark attorney will obtain a search and provide an opinion on the availability of a proposed mark, for a fee, prior to filing a trademark application. To find the names of private attorneys who handle trademark matters, consult telephone listings or the attorney referral service of a state bar or local bar association (see American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Directory).  The USPTO cannot aid in the selection of an attorney, nor can the Trademark Assistance Center provide any legal advice. See 37 C.F.R. §2.11.

The public can search the trademark assignment records of the Assignment Recordation Branch on the USPTO website at http://assignments.uspto.gov/assignments.  Assignment records can also be searched in the Public Search Facility.  See TMEP §503.08 for further information about the accessibility of assignment records.