Step-by-step instructions for searching using the basic word mark search option
Choose a field to search
Tell TESS which type of information to search for.
In a different tab or window, open TESS and click "basic word mark search (new user)."
Choose an option from the “field” drop down list:
- Combined word mark - Search the English words used in all marks and the English translations of foreign words or characters in all marks.
- Serial or registration number - Search by the seven-digit serial numbers of marks that have been applied for, or the eight-digit registration numbers of marks that have been registered.
- Owner name and address - Search by owner name and address.
- All - Search all fields.
Help with this step
What is a field?
A field is a type of information that can be associated with a mark. Every piece of information in TESS is categorized as one of these types.
Most information in TESS is entered automatically from your trademark application. For example, you fill out details like your name and address, your goods or services, and a description of your mark. All of these details go into your record and can be used to look up your application record in TESS.
The USPTO adds some other information in your application record. For example, when you submit your completed application, we assign it a serial number. Your serial number is part of your record as well, so it can also be used to search TESS for your mark.
Name, address, goods and services, mark description, and serial number are all examples of fields, or categories that each piece of information in the record falls into.
Limitations of the basic word mark search option
Not all fields are available in this search option. There are many aspects of a mark that you can't search for. For example, you can't search for marks with a design or marks associated with specific goods or services. This means that in most cases, you cannot effectively use this option to search TESS as part of your clearance search.
If you’d like to use a different search option, instructions are linked below.
Word and/or design mark search (structured) instructions – this option helps you construct and format your search criteria.
Word and/or design mark search (free-form) instructions – this option is recommended for expert users only.
Choose your search term
Choose what your results must contain
If your search term is one word, skip this step. If your search term is more than one word, select an option from the drop down list:
- All search terms (AND) - Every word in your search term must appear in the field you chose for a mark to show up in your results. The words can appear in any order.
- Any search terms (OR) - At least one word in your search term must appear in the field you chose for a mark to show up in your results.
- The exact search phrase - The exact search term you entered must appear in the field you chose for a mark to show up in your results. The words must appear in the order you entered them.
Choose singular or plural, live or dead
a. Choose plural and singular, or singular only.
“Plural and singular” returns both the plural and singular forms of your search term, while “singular” returns only the singular form of your search term.
b. Choose live and dead, live only, or dead only.
Choose “live only” if you are doing a clearance search. Only live marks can prevent your mark from registering if they cause a likelihood of confusion with your mark. Live marks are either registered or part of a pending application.
Click “submit query” to search.
(Optional) Expand and filter your results
Combine your results from multiple searches to see more marks that are relevant or filter out marks that aren’t.
a. Choose two or more searches from the drop down box called “view your search history.” Your searches are labeled sequentially (S1 for the first search, S2 for the second search, an so on).
b. In the search term box, enter your search labels (S1, S2, and so on) separated by a space.
c. Select “ALL” from the field drop down list.
d. Choose an option from the “results must contain” drop down list.
e. Click “submit query.”
Help with this step
“All Search Terms (AND)” filters your search results to list only marks that came up in both searches.
“Any Search Terms (OR)” expands your search results to list all marks that came up in either search.
You’re looking for all marks owned by Mark Trademan that include the word “T Markey.”
Your first search used the “combined word mark” field and the search term “markey.” This search returns all marks that use the word “markey.” It would be labeled “S1” in your search history.
Your second search used the “owner name and address” field and the search term “Trademan.” This search returns all marks that have “Trademan” in the owner name and address field. It would be labeled “S2” in your search history.
If you enter “S1 S2” as your search term and choose “All search terms (AND),” you get a list of marks that use the word “markey” and have “Trademan” in the owner name and address field. You may find marks owned by other people or companies named Trademan, or marks like “S Markey,” but the list will be manageable enough to view each result and find what you are looking for.
View your results
In the list of records, click on the “word mark” column to view the record of each mark. Focus on these details:
- The mark at the top of the page
Is the mark similar (in sound, appearance, meaning, or commercial impression) to yours?
- Word mark (and translation if applicable)
Is the wording similar to the wording in your mark?
- Goods and services
Are the goods and services similar or related to your goods and services? Don’t rely on the international class– goods and services in different international classes may still be related.
- Live/dead indicator
Is the mark live?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, there may be a likelihood of confusion between your mark and the mark you are reviewing.
What to do with this information
If you find a live mark that is similar to yours and is used on or in connection with goods or services that are related to your goods or services, consider changing your mark and doing a new clearance search. Otherwise, the USPTO may refuse to register your mark, or the owner of the other mark may take legal action if you apply for registration.
Where to get help
Interpreting your results can be complicated. There are many factors to consider in determining likelihood of confusion. We can’t advise you on how to do a clearance search for your mark, do one for you, or interpret your search results. However, a private trademark attorney can do all of these things and advise you throughout the application process. See why hire a private trademark attorney to learn more about what an attorney can do for you and how to find one.