How to Search for a Trademark Registration

By Leigh Thompson
A trademark protects intellectual property, such as words, names, sounds, colors or symbols.

Set of simbols image by PaulPaladin from Fotolia.com

A trademark registration protects intellectual property, such as words, names, sounds, colors or symbols. Trademark registration distinguishes the registered mark from other marks and identifies the mark's source. Additionally, trademark registration provides legal protection for the unauthorized use of your mark. Trademark registration is available on the state and federal levels. Federal trademark registration is handled by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). State trademarks are handled by the state trademark office in your state of residence.

State Trademark Registration Search

Contact your state to find out which department issues trademark registrations. This information may be available on their Web site. You can also call the general-information line. This number is available on the state's Web site or in the telephone directory. Typically, the secretary or department of state’s office issues trademark registrations on the state level. You can also use the USPTO Web site. They provide a list of state trademark offices and contact information.

Search the Web site of the state trademark office. Some state departments provide databases on their Web sites that are available for searching previously registered trademarks.

Call the state trademark office to inquire by telephone whether a mark has been registered. You can find their phone number in their Web site directory or your phone book. The operator should be able to provide you with information on the registration of a trademark or further direct you on the process of searching trademark registration in your state.

Federal Trademark Registration Search

Go to the Trademark Electronic Search System available on the USPTO Web site to search for a federally registered trademark. You are given four ways to search trademark registrations and the option to browse the indexes. The basic search provides commonly used fields, such as serial or registration numbers, owner information and description of word or mark. The advanced search provides increasingly detailed search-field options, such as filing date, design code and mark filing code. There are 52 search field options available in the advanced search. The free-form search performs a search based on a simple search term. You can also use the option to search by publication or registration date.

Go to the Trademark Public Search Library and use one of their four automated systems: X-Search, Trademark Image Capture System, Trademark Reporting and Monitory System, and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board VUE. Other search options include registrations documented on microfilm and paper. You can search for trademark registration using the volumes bound in paper form. These volumes go back as far as 1870.

Public Search Facility - Madison East, 1st Floor

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Go to your nearest Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL). The search tools available at the PTDL include searches via the Internet, optical disk and microfilm. You can also access their handbooks, manuals and guide books regarding the trademark process. You can find your nearest PTDL by performing a search on the USPTO Web site. You can also call the general trademark line at 800-786-9199 for additional assistance.

About the Author

Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.