Have you chosen a brand only to learn months later that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is refusing to register it due to someone else’s prior trademark registration or pending application? The USPTO’s most recent Q4 2022 data indicates that it takes 8 months or more for a trademark application to be reviewed—and ideally approved—by an examiner. Given that prolonged timeline, any issues with the application, such as a similar third-party mark that could prevent your own registration, may not surface until you or your company has already invested heavily in the mark.
This raises the question: what can be done for brands eager to launch but that want some measure of comfort that their trademark will be valid?
The answer: Searching.
Trademark searches take two primary forms:
1) Preliminary searches, and
2) “Full clearance” searches.