Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When do you need professional trademark services (beyond using the Patent and Trademark Office online database)?

If you wonder, when selecting a domain name, whether you might have infringed on an existing trademark accidentally, you can, of course, go to “uspto.gov” and do a basic free-from trademark search.
Is this adequate?  My own experience in looking at the database is that it is pretty complete and reasonably up to date.
However, there are companies that do various searches (“Combined”, including state, expanded, common law and Internet, and international). 
There is a company called “Government Liaison Services” with a domain name called “trademarkinfo”, link   that offers a variety of searches – charges for the most thorough possible searches can run up into the hundreds of dollars.  Curiously, it’s in an older office building in Arlington VA, not too far from me.  I found out about it by accident.  I saw a spare copy of the magazine “Washington Lawyer” ( website url site)  on a park bench near GWU when walking back to the Metro yesterday. And the company had a print ad in the magazine, p. 9.  The ad also mentions copyright services.  
The magazine (April 2013 issue) had an interesting article about concussions in football.  The subject is interesting.  In the culture in which I grew up in the 50s, men were supposed to take risks of getting hurt to prove that they could defend and provide for women and children.  How the culture has changed.  

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