How to Perform a Simple Trademark Availability Search

Last updated: December 14, 2023
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Conducting a Simple Trademark Availability Search

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Updated: December 14, 2023


  • To perform a simple trademark availability search in order to evaluate the strength and uniqueness of a proposed mark. 


  • Private Individuals
  • Sole Proprietorships
  • General Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Corporations
  • Non-Profits
  • Limited Liability Partnerships

Additional Information: On November 30, 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented a new, more user-friendly trademark search system. While the process has been greatly simplified, there are still a lot of different factors and criteria that need to be considered. For example, finding no results for your trademark doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unique or strong enough for registration. Advice for selecting a strong trademark can be found in our Insight here, but first, let’s get into some pointers on how to properly conduct a “knock out” or simple trademark availability search.  

A “knockout” or simple trademark availability search is a preliminary step in the trademark registration process. It’s useful for “knocking out” any obviously conflicting trademarks that have already been registered with the USPTO. If you find results that are too similar to your chosen mark, then you might need to think of alternatives. Otherwise, you could face accusations of infringement later on.

A simple trademark availabillity search can be done on your own, but it’s no substitute for a comprehensive trademark availability search conducted by an experienced trademark attorney. Knockout searches are a simplified method that can sometimes miss trademarks that aren’t exactly the same as your own but could still be similar enough to cause problems. Working with a lawyer is the best way to ensure your trademark’s strength and availability.


Performing a Knock Out or Simple Trademark Availability Search

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1. Go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s search page (

2. After carefully reviewing the USPTO’s instructions, check your mark’s availability using the search box pictured below.

New USPTO Search Engine - Simple Trademark Availability Search
How to Perform a Simple Trademark Availability Search 2

3. The results page will show you relevant information for any related or matching marks, including their status, class, and more. You can use this information to evaluate the strength of your trademark by cross-referencing your results with the criteria below.

The Limitations of a Knock Out or Simple Trademark Availability Search

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As you consider your trademark’s chances of registration, keep in mind that a simple trademark availability search like this one is no substitute for actual legal guidance. These results cannot guarantee that your trademark is available for registration. Contact our corporate law firm today for reliable guidance through the trademark search and registration process.

Live Trademarks and Dead Trademarks

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The first thing that you need to look for when evaluating other marks in your simple trademark availability search is whether they are “live” or “dead.” Basically, you’re checking if the trademark is active or not. Inactive or dead trademarks, while they’re still on file in the USPTO database, are typically considered invalid either because the application was rejected or because a successful applicant failed to renew their registration. You only need to worry about active or live trademark when running a simple trademark availability search. However, dead trademarks can also provide some insight into why marks similar to your own have been refused. 

Taken or Similar Names

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Next, you’ll want to make sure that your proposed trademark isn’t already taken. At first, you’ll just be looking for an exact match, but the USPTO will refuse your application if the mark’s examiner believes that it’s too similar to one already registered with the Office as well. It’s a good idea to try a few combinations out here to cover all your bases. For example, try combining your original search term with an asterisk (*), which will let you search for results that contain extra numbers or letters that weren’t specifically within your parameters. 

International Class

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You’ll now want to further refine your search by international class. This section can seem more complicated than it really is. All goods and/or services fall into one of 45 international classes. For example, most vehicles fall under Class 12, while musical instruments (as well as sheet music stands, instrument stands, and conductors’ batons) fall under Class 15. The USPTO has this helpful page – the Trademark ID Manual – that you can use to determine your mark’s class. 

Goods and/or Services

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Now here’s where things do get a little tricky. You’ll need to do some more research even after you think you’ve found the right international class. This is because goods and services can sometimes be grouped under multiple classes. To do this, you’ll want to search for the proposed trademark name in conjunction with the good or service that it will be associated with, but without entering the above international class code. 

Trademark registration isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but it’s not without its own complications at both the state and federal levels. For this reason, it’s a good idea to engage with an experienced trademark attorney who can help you search for your mark’s availability and advise you through the process. To get started, you can give us a call at (727) 279-5037, or you can visit our flat fee service pages for Florida state trademarks and federal trademarks, respectively.

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