Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)

Where can I search for registered and pending USPTO trademarks?

At TESS: Trademark Electronic Search System (http://tess2.uspto.gov/). TESS is for searching all pending and registered  USPTO Trademarks and viewing Trademark images.  

There are three choices available for searching: Basic Word Mark Search (New User) | Word and/or Design Mark Search (Structured)  | Word and/or Design Mark Search (Free Form)  | . If you are not familiar with the system, you may want to start on a Basic Word Mark Search. See TESS page below for the ‘Select a Search Option ‘. See Published for Opposition search instructions for specific search instructions on how to use TESS for searching for marks that have been published for opposition.


What is in TESS?  The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) contains the records of active (LIVE) and inactive (DEAD) trademark registrations and applications. Active or LIVE marks may be used by the USPTO examining attorney to determine that a "likelihood of confusion" exists. Inactive or DEAD marks may still be in use by the original applicants (who may still have common law rights) or the marks may be abandoned. See Can I Use An Abandoned Mark? For more information.


What is NOT in TESS?  Some trademark owners with valid and protected trademark rights (common law rights acquired by use) do not choose to register their marks with the USPTO, so those marks will not be found in TESS.  However, you should still consider these other marks when adopting a mark for your goods and/or services.  If a trademark is being used in the United States, the owner may have legally protected rights that are not the result of the USPTO registration process.  A common law trademark owner may wish to enforce these rights through an opposition or cancellation proceeding with the USPTO or through a civil claim with a court or possibly criminal claims through counterfeiting or other statutes. Not Just Patents can give you information and help you decide if TESS is enough information for your particular trademark and trademark use.


Why should I perform a search? One purpose of a trademark search is to help determine whether a “likelihood of confusion” exists, i.e., whether any mark has already been registered or applied for at the USPTO that is (1) the same OR similar to your mark; and (2) used on related products or for related services.  Note that the identical mark could possibly be registered to different parties if the goods and/or services are in no way related, e.g., for computers and soft drinks.  WARNING: If your search reveals another mark that would definitely "block" your application based on the above standard, please note that if you file anyway, the filing fee is a processing fee that the USPTO does not refund even if registration of your mark is refused. Note that other reasons for searching exist, i.e., to determine if a potential trademark is inherently distinctive (see below).


Will my mark register if I do not find anything in TESS?  No, not necessarily. USPTO trademark examiners (attorneys) make decisions on whether marks may be registered on more than just a lack of “likelihood of confusion.”  After you file your application, the USPTO will conduct its own search and other review, and might refuse your mark, based on several different possible grounds for refusal.  Once you submit your application, the USPTO will not cancel the filing or refund your fee, unless the application fails to satisfy minimum filing requirements.  Filing an application does not guarantee registration.


How should I search?  The USPTO cannot provide guidance as to how you should search, beyond the linked HELP provided at the top of the first page of the TESS site.  However, you must understand that a complete search is one that will uncover ALL similar marks, NOT just those that are identical.  In addition to studying the marks, you must also closely study the listed goods and/or services to determine possible “relatedness.”  


[Trademark] Search Principles

(From the USPTO at http://tess2.uspto.gov/webaka/html/help.htm#FreqAske)

Following are the likelihood of confusion search principles used by the USPTO that you may want to consider prior to submitting a trademark application. You must decide which of these search principles may be appropriate for your trademark search. Even if you diligently follow all these search principles, that does not necessarily guarantee that you will find all potential citations under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act.

  1.     Conduct a Thorough Search.
  2.     Search All Forms of all the Distinctive Elements of the Mark.
  3.     Search Each Distinctive Element Alone.
  4.     Search Acronyms AND What They Stand For.
  5.     Search All the Legal Word Equivalents of Terms.
  6.     Search Component Parts of Individual Terms When Necessary.
  7.     Searches for Marks Consisting of Two or More Separate Terms Should be Conducted so that the Two Terms Would be Retrieved Whether They Run Together or are Separate.
  8.     Search Pictorial Equivalents for Distinctive Terms and Vice Versa When Appropriate.
  9.     Search all Phonetic Equivalents
  10.     Search all English Equivalents


Why Search or Verify a Trademark? To Plan for a Strong Trademark Registration

To Clear a potential trademark for use, Not Just Patents® recommends verifying that the trademark is strong, available to use, ready to register and that the most accurate and broadest goods and services are claimed on the application and that the specimen of use shows what you need it to show.


Why a Strong Trademark? To maximize the commercial strength and minimize the weaknesses of a trademark, Not Just Patents recommends our service and our Five-Step Verification process:

1) Verify Inherent Strength (this avoids merely descriptive, geographically descriptive, likelihood of confusion and other office actions),

2) Verify Right to Use, (this avoids likelihood of confusion refusal office actions and others)

Note: The USPTO database does NOT include:

   * Trade names.

   * State trademark registrations.

   * Common law marks.

   * Domain names.

3) Verify Right to Register, (this avoids many types of refusals including merely descriptive, deceptively misdescriptive, geographically descriptive and others that can often be predicted)

4) Verify the potential mark (as currently used) Functions As A Mark,  (this avoids specimen refusals, trade name refusals, and others. The USPTO is looking for valid use not just any use of a mark.)

5) Verify that the Goods and Services ID is both the correct and the maximum claim that are user can make and verify that the Goods and Services ID meets USPTO requirements before filing. (This avoids office actions to correct incorrect IDs  which can slow down a registration. Incorrect IDs  may be corrected during the prosecution of a trademark if they do not materially alter the mark or the ID. Correcting problems before application saves time and money.)

*We don’t stop here but this is a good start!


What is Verifying a Trademark and Why Verify a Trademark? There are many different definitions for verifying a trademark. Some believe that it involves a mechanical quick search of USPTO records to look for direct hits (some call this a clearance search). Some would expand the mechanical USPTO search to look for some ‘similar’ trademarks. Some would expand the search to include common law trademarks. When the clearance process is entirely mechanical and only looks for direct hits, minimal information is obtained. There are lots of questions that should be asked and more than direct hits should be analyzed. A plan for a strong trademark is one that includes answers to trademark issues like:




Not Just Patents® LLC

PO Box 18716, Minneapolis, MN 55418  

1-651-500-7590    

info@notjustpatents.com


Aim Higher®

Facts Matter

Search Not Just Patents® sites:


TrademarkRegisterFAQ.com

Tie It Up

Securing the Right IP

Call 1-651-500-7590 or email info@notjustpatents.com or ContactTrademark.com for Responses to Office Actions; File or Defend an Opposition or Cancellation; Patent or Trademark Searches and Applications; Send or Respond to Cease and Desist Letters.

For more information from Not Just Patents, see our other sites:      

Steps to a Patent    How to Patent An Invention

Filing Requirements for Patent Applications

Trademark e Search    Strong Trademark     Enforcing Trade Names

Common Law Trademarks  Trademark Goodwill  Abandoned Trademarks

Should I Get A Trademark or Patent?

Patentability Evaluation

Trademark Disclaimers   Trademark Dilution     Oppose or Cancel?

Examples of Disclaimers  Business Name Cease and Desist

Sample Patent, Trademark & Copyright Inventory Forms

Verify a Trademark  Be First To File   How to Trademark Search

37 CFR § 1.53 Application number, filing date, and completion of application

Using Slogans (Taglines), Model Numbers as Trademarks

Which format? When Should I  Use Standard Characters?

Difference between Provisional and Nonprovisional Patent Application

Opposition Pleadings    UDRP Elements    Loss of Trademark Rights

How To Answer A Trademark Cease and Desist Letter

Shop Rights  What is a Small or Micro Entity?

Trademark Refusals    Does not Function as a Mark Refusals

Converting Provisional to Nonprovisional Patent Application (or claiming benefit of)

Acceptable Specimen       Supplemental Register  $199 Statement of Use

How To Show Acquired Distinctiveness Under 2(f)

Patent Pending see also Patent Marking

Trademark Attorney for Overcoming Office Actions

Functional Trademarks   How to Trademark     Surname Refusal

Patent Drawings

Grounds for Opposition & Cancellation     Cease and Desist Letter


Valid/Invalid Use of Trademarks     Trademark Searching

How to Respond to Office Actions

What is a Compact Patent Prosecution?


Examples and General Rules for Likelihood of Confusion

USPTO Search Method for Likelihood of Confusion

Examples of Refusals for Likelihood of Confusion  DuPont Factors

Patent search-New invention

Color as Trade Dress  3D Marks as Trade Dress

Patent Search-Non-Obvious

Ornamental Refusal  Standard TTAB Protective Order

How to Keep A Trade Secret

Descriptive Trademarks Trademark2e.com  Likelihood of Confusion 2d

State & Federal Trade Secret Laws

Merely Descriptive Trademarks   Merely Descriptive Refusals

Chart of Patent vs. Trade Secret

Register a Trademark-Step by Step   Trademark Fixer

ID of Goods and Services see also Headings (list) of International Trademark Classes

Likelihood of confusion-Circuit Court tests

Pseudo Marks    How to Reply to Cease and Desist Letter

Geographically Descriptive or Deceptive

Overcome Merely Descriptive Refusal   Overcome Likelihood Confusion

What Does ‘Use in Commerce’ Mean?    SCAM Letters

Section 2(d) Refusals   ApplyToTrademark.com

Trademark Incontestability  TTAB Manual (TBMP)

Typical Brand Name Refusals  What is a Family of Marks?

TTAB/TBMP Discovery Conferences & Stipulations

TBMP 113 Service of TTAB Documents  TBMP 309 Standing

Trademark Steps Trademark Registration Answers TESS  

Trademark Searching Using TESS  Trademark Search Tips

TSDR Trademark Status and Document Retrieval

What are Dead or Abandoned Trademarks? Can I Use An Abandoned Trademark?  Can I Abandon a Trademark During An Opposition?

Published for Opposition see also Opposition Steps/Cancellation Steps

Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses

Differences between TEAS and TEAS plus  

How do I Know If Someone Has Filed for An Extension of Time to Oppose?

Protecting Trademark Rights (Common Law)

Steps in a Trademark Opposition Process

Zombie Trademark  

What Does Published for Opposition Mean?

What is the Difference between Principal & Supplemental Register? What If Someone Files An Opposition Against My Trademark?

Acquired Distinctiveness  2(f) or 2(f) in part

How to Respond Office Actions  DIY Overcoming Descriptive Refusals

Extension of Time to Oppose

Trademark Clearance Search   DIY Trademark Strategies


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