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Basic or Premier Clearance Search: which is right for you?

I wanted to take a moment to clarify the differences between our Basic trademark search, which primarily relies on the records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and our Premier clearance search, which encompasses a more comprehensive approach by examining internet sources and state trademark databases.

Basic Trademark Search:

Our Basic trademark search is the initial step in the trademark clearance process. It primarily involves searching for trademarks that have been registered with the USPTO, or those for which applications have been filed but are still pending. This search helps identify any federally registered trademarks that might conflict with the mark you intend to register or use.

A Basic trademark search includes a thorough examination of the USPTO records database. We use specialized algorithms to search the USPTO database for trademarks that are similar to the one you wish to register or use, and which are being used in connection with similar goods and/or services. A licensed attorney will review the results of the search to identify whether your proposed mark is at risk of a refusal from the USPTO on the grounds of likelihood of confusion or descriptiveness. You will also get a report that shows the results in an easy-to-understand graph and helps you make an informed decision as to whether the trademark is available for you to use. A Basic trademark search is a must before investing time and money on building your brand and applying for a trademark registration. In most cases, clients uncover information from the Basic trademark search that is useful to them.

Premier Clearance Search:

A Premier clearance search, on the other hand, takes a more exhaustive approach to trademark clearance. In addition to reviewing USPTO records, it extends the search to other sources, including internet resources and state trademark databases. Here are the key elements of a premier clearance search:

  • Internet sources: This involves searching various online platforms, including social media, e-commerce websites, and other online databases, to identify any unregistered or common law trademarks that may be in use but have not been formally registered with the USPTO.

  • State trademark databases: Many businesses register their trademarks at the state level, which may not be included in the federal USPTO database. A premier clearance search checks state trademark databases for potential conflicts.

  • Domain names: A search for domain name registrations that might be associated with your intended trademark. This can help identify online usage that could conflict with your mark.

  • Common law trademarks: Identification of any unregistered trademarks that may have established rights through use in commerce.

In summary, while a Basic trademark search provides a fundamental review of USPTO records, a premier clearance search offers a more comprehensive analysis by considering additional sources such as internet records and state trademark databases. This broader approach helps ensure that you are well-informed about potential trademark conflicts beyond just federal registrations, providing you with a more robust assessment of the risks and opportunities associated with your chosen trademark.

We recommend a Premier clearance search when considering a new trademark, as it offers a higher level of protection and helps mitigate the risk of infringing on existing trademarks that may not be registered with the USPTO.

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