A trademark search attempts to identify all registered United States trademarks and trademark applications that may bar registration of a proposed trademark; in essence the search aims to locate the most relevant trademarks and applications alike.
While a trademark search is not required by the United States Patent & Trademark Office, there are many benefits to be gained by an applicant in having a search performed prior to filing a trademark application. The main benefit conferred upon an applicant by a trademark search is an assessment of the potential success a trademark application may possess, before the applicant invests large amounts of time, money and diligence, prior to entering the trademark prosecution process. As such, a trademark search helps to avoid a situation where an individual or corporate entity simply files an application without the benefit of a search, and much to their disappointment, a Trademark Examiner subsequently discovers a trademark that is almost identical, or confusingly similar to their trademark.
Therefore, by researching the databases and viewing the trademarks that have already been registered or applied for, an applicant limits the risk of submitting an application for an trademark that has been previously utilized by another individual.
Finally, although The USPTO maintains a database of the registered trademarks and applications that is open to the public; only a search performed by a registered attorney may be relied upon for proper interpretation of the results of the search.