Knowledge Center

Trademark FAQ

Will the examining attorney search for conflicting trademarks?

Yes. The examining attorney will search the USPTO records to see if a conflict exists between the trademark in your application and another trademark that is live and registered with or pending with the USPTO. In doing this, he or she will also look for other trademarks that might be confused with yours. The USPTO does not provide preliminary searches for conflicting trademarks before an application is filed.

When you apply for a trademark with LegalZoom, we search for other federally registered or pending trademarks that are in direct conflict with your trademark before you submit your application. LegalZoom also offers a variety of additional comprehensive trademark search services that can help you learn more about the rights and risks associated with your proposed trademark. Click here to learn more.

The principal factors the USPTO examining attorney uses to determine if there would be a chance of confusion include:

  • The similarity of the marks
  • The commercial relationship between the goods and/or services listed in the application (what "class" or "classes" the trademarks are in and the goods and/or services to which they are applied)
For a conflict to be found, your trademark does not have to be identical to another, and the goods and/or services do not have to be the same. It may be enough that the trademarks are similar and the goods and/or services related.

If a conflict exists between your proposed trademark and a registered trademark, the examining attorney will refuse registration on the ground of likelihood of confusion. If a conflict exists between your trademark and one in a pending application that was filed first, the examining attorney will notify you of the potential conflict and may suspend action on your application, pending the outcome of the conflicting application. If the first application registers, the examining attorney will then refuse your registration on the ground of likelihood of confusion.

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