Step 2: Evaluate in The E5 Trademark Process
The second step in the E5 Trademark Process is to Evaluate, and Evaluate involves two actions. The first is (1) investigating and the second is (2) thinking. And for investigating, we’re really talking about doing a [trademark] search. Now, you’re going to see different kinds of searches promoted on different websites and books, such as a “knockout search”; and when you hear a [trademark] knockout search, what is typically meant is a quick search of Google, Bing, and maybe the U.S. Trademark database. Just something simple that it’s going to have about 30 minutes of work behind it; and typically, you’ll see a charge of less than $500 for those. Frankly, they’re worthless — especially if the search is just of the US Trademark Office website because, think about it, just like you’re here now wondering whether you should try to register your mark or not, there are thousands of businesses (if not millions) across the country that are using brand names and logos that are not registered, and only those that have been applied for and actually registered are going to be in that database.
So, what you really need is a FULL TRADEMARK SEARCH. Now a full trademark search means that it’s a search that involves the U.S. Federal Trademark database as well as the trademark databases of all 50 states. In addition, it will look for common law uses of the mark not just on Google and Bing, but other places in social media and through other resources as well. The full trademark search is the one that’s provided by us through the E5 Trademark System and is the only one that I would recommend for you because the only way you’ll ever find confidence in answering the questions of, (1) “Can I use this mark” or (2) “can I protect this mark?” or both questions, is through a full trademark search. Now, there’s a third kind of search I do want you to be aware of; and depending on your budget and aggressiveness, you may choose to do this out of the gate. Or, you may wait till your mark is actually registered, and that’s a maintenance search. A maintenance search is typically a monthly or some other regular period of time search of either the U.S. Trademark Database or the U.S. Trademark Database plus other databases. Again, this is all fee [budget] dependent and the purpose is to identify other marks that are coming up that others are using which may be infringing or in other ways obstructing your use of your mark.
Now, after you’ve finished the investigation phase, you’re going to want to think about it.
Now, thinking about, you know, what you’ve found or your attorneys found in the investigation phase is something that’s often overlooked. You know, people will do this just way too fast. The best example I can give you is imagine when you first learn to ride a bike or maybe you first learn to read, you could enunciate a word, or you could get the pedals moving, but you didn’t have (on a bike) the control that you do now as someone who’s experienced. And when you’re trying to sound out the words when you’re first reading a book, you didn’t have the vocabulary and the reading ability that you do now. It’s because those things only come with experience.
So, your attorney will be fluent in understanding what is discovered and applying it to the mark you’re trying to use and/or protect. Oh, and one more thing, you’re going to want to download the Action Sheet below or maybe in a button up here on the screen, so you can begin to work your way through the process of evaluating your own mark by doing an investigation, and then I’ll give you a few extra little tricks that are used by trademark attorneys in thinking through the use of your mark. For example, you want to not only look at your mark and think about what it says on the page, but you’re also going to want to vocalize the mark because trademarks go through a “looks like and a sounds like” test.
Examiners literally enunciate the words when they put them through an examination; and so, you should do that too before you proceed to use or try to register your mark.
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