Is a Search of the USPTO Database Enough?

No. Just, no.

Searching the USPTO database is a very important step when you are trying to clear your brand for use. Finding a direct hit in this database could be damning. 

But what is a “direct hit?” Are direct hits always damning? What about those “indirect hits?”

Finding records in the database is not hard. (I’ll post a link to the database in the comments—poke around!) Knowing how to interpret the information you find in the database is the most important skill in clearing a brand.

Many people have told me about a “direct hit” that they thought would prevent the from using their preferred brand; many others have told me that there were no hits, so their brand was clear for use. I have confirmed many of these findings, but I also find many situations in which some other fact makes me give a different opinion.

Brand counsel uses various tools specifically engineered to find useful information about the brand rights of third parties. Once they digest this targeted information, they can then form opinions about the risks of your brand, and the opportunities that may be present.

So go ahead, perform that USPTO Database search. Learn all you can about the brand you want to use. Then call me to share this as I begin a professional search for you. (Still just $275.)

The phrase “but I didn’t know” is the reason I started my firm. I heard this phrase so many times from small companies when I worked for big firms and represented the large companies. These small companies were taking chances by operating in unknown conditions. This risk was not necessary, and I want to show them the way to certainty.

My mission is to inform, educate and represent small and mid-sized companies in the world of intellectual property, and specifically brand rights. Informing and educating are so important, because IGNORANCE IS NOT AN EXCUSE!