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A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark.
Registered trademarks refer to trademarks that have been registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and they are the only trademarks registered to use the 'r' symbol.
State trademarks are trademarks that have been registered by a state, not the USPTO. State trademarks are only valid in the states where they are registered and they use the TM symbol. The Secretary of State is the entity in charge of trademarks for Illinois.
Common law trademarks are trademarks that have not been registered by the USPTO, nor have they been registered in any state. It is not necessary to register a trademark. You can establish legal rights simply by using the trademark in commerce. These trademarks also use the TM symbol.
A 30 page PDF document that outlines the steps in the trademark application process. This guide provides examples between conflicting marks, differences between common law and a federally registered mark, and how to find legal help though the trademark registration process.
This resource provides tips and tricks on conducting a trademark search. Issues such as determining international class, common search refusals using TESS, as well as the ability to search logos and designs can be found here.
This is the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System, which includes a basic word mark search (do not use to search design marks), a structured word/design mark search (look up the design search code manual before beginning here), the world/design mark search free-form, where you can use Boolean search terms and multiple fields. Also available to you is the dictionary database and the option to search the Official Gazette for published or registered marks from a certain date.
This is a resource to help along the way in using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). Here you will find guidance on how to make the most of your search, and why TESS is a good place to start your trademark research.
Here you can check the status of your trademark and retrieve registration certificates relevant to your application and registration process. You can search by US serial number, US reference number, US registration number, and international registration number.
Clickable HTML manual document that includes guidelines for Examining Attorneys and materials in the nature of information and interpretation, and outlines the procedures which Examining Attorneys are required or authorized to follow in the examination of trademark applications.
A definition of a fourth type of intellectual property, trade secrets. Trade secrets consist of information and can include a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process.
This website can be used to search for trademarks (since 1870) and patents (since 1830). This can be utilized for a preliminary search to narrow down results and see if your product is worth continuing research on. Files can be viewed and downloaded as PDFs. It also includes a European Trademark Search and an International Trademark Search. This website also includes an FAQ of trademark questions.