A trademark can be a single word or name, a phrase or sentence, or even a symbol or graphic that identifies a business, product or service. Registered trademarks are identified by the symbol "®." Otherwise, a trademark may be identified with the symbol "TM" or "SM" (for service mark), neither of which require registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), an online database of all registered trademarks, is a great place to search for registered trademarks, but be sure to look elsewhere on the Internet for non-registered trademarks as well.
Launch an Internet search engine (such as Google, Bing or Yahoo!) in your Web browser. Enter the name of the company, product or service of the trademark you want to look up.
Look for the tradmark (TM), service mark (SM) or registered trademark (®) symbol next to the name as it appears in the search results--both in the Web page title and search result snippet (if available).
Search for and launch the official website of the company you believe may have a trademark. Look for the area of its Web site called "About Us," "Legal," "Media" or similar and see if it provides a list of its trademarks.
Visit the USPTO TESS search system in your Web browser (see Resources).
Select "New User Form Search (Basic)." A new screen will open.
Select "Plural and Singular" and "Live and Dead" in the "View Search History" options.
Type the name of the company, service or product you're researching for a trademark in the "Search Term" text box.
Highlight "Combined Word Mark" from the "Field" drop-down list and "All Search Terms (AND)" from the "Result Must Contain" drop-down list.
Click "Submit Query." A new window will display your search results.
- search and magnifier buttons. (with clipping path) image by Andrey Zyk from Fotolia.com