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An official name search is imperative if you do not have a federal trademark registration. Imagine this…you just started a business and found the perfect name. However, money is tight and you think a trademark can be saved for later down the road. You run a google search and a TESS search and think you have the green light. Your name is not in use. Several months or years later, your business has grown and your business name is now recognizable. You have marketing material and you have invested in an advertising budget. You call your attorney and decide to proceed with a trademark application. However, you learn that google and the TESS database are not adequate searches. The trademark office does not only look for names that are the same.  The trademark office will also test whether your mark is likely to cause confusion with already registered marks. So, even though you ran your own search and didn’t find any business with the same name as yours, there could still be a number of businesses with names that are similar enough that they are likely to cause confusion. 

Performing an official search now can save you thousands of dollars down the road.  An official search will let you know what level of risk you will face during the application process. You could be denied a trademark registration because you didn’t verify with an official search. You may be able to overcome the denial and the trademark denial may not mean you have to change your name. However, if the owner of the registered mark becomes aware of your mark and application, they may decide to pursue a claim against you for trademark infringement resulting in a name change for your business. A name change can be detrimental as a brand change can cost you a lot of business. I’ve had countless business owners contact our office due to an involuntary name change all because they failed to properly have an official search and wasted thousands of dollars on marketing materials. 

The search fee is different for each attorney. But a few hundred dollars now can save thousands down the road. If you’d like to get started with a search, feel free to email me – anitria@entreprelegal.com

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