There are many trademark search engines available on-line for the novice, tools that can deliver adequate preliminary trademark search results. However, when investing in a brand name, adequate is not enough.
Those “free”online trademark search engines offered by the USPTO and some commercial database companies are all marked by issues with data integrity and often quirky search functions. The experienced professional is aware of those deficiencies and able to overcome the shortcomings of each trademark search database.
Moreover, a professional search firm has access to those databases and “value added”, secure trademark search databases that are not available to the general public. Those additional resources allow the professional searcher to search across multiple databases and thus achieve a more reliable trademark search result. Similarly, the professional searcher has access to more current data than that available in all online databases, allowing for a more up to date set of trademark search results that otherwise might miss several thousand recently filed trademark applications.
Lastly, a trademark search is more subjective art than computer algorithm. In order to conduct a proper trademark search, the searcher must be aware of concepts such as dilution, families of mark, related goods and services as well as phonetic similarities. All too frequently those concepts are ignored in the do it yourself trademark search world, leading to the filing of applications that are often denied by the USPTO. The mistakes made by novices and those wishing to avoid the expense of a professional trademark search often result in exponentially higher expenses as the result of having to change a brand name or enter into litigation because the name chosen or a variant had already been registered.