Trademark Searching for Small Business Owners

The Importance of Conducting a Trademark Search for Small Business Owners

Why Getting A Trademark Search Needs To Be The First Step To Starting A Small Business

When the average consumer thinks of a trademark, typically they think about marks owned by Fortune 500 companies. Although these trademarks may be more valuable, it is just as important for small businesses to register their own marks. Trademark owners, especially large companies, protect their own marks and actively make sure their marks are not being infringed, and it is important to avoid infringing another mark. Between the cost of re-branding, and the cost of potential litigation, a small business could be doomed from the beginning if they do not check to see if their chosen business name is already registered. The safest route to naming a business is to conduct an initial trademark search, and to ultimately have a trademark attorney review the results and give an opinion.

Registering your trademark may seem difficult and expensive, but that is not the case. Getting a trademark search, hiring a trademark attorney to review the results, and registering a mark can all be done affordably. Pricing may vary depending on your mark and your attorney, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) charges around $275-$375 for each class of goods a mark is registered under. While this federal protection is much more beneficial than state registration, it is also possible to register the mark at the state level for less than $200.

The payoff for obtaining a registered trademark far outweighs the costs of the registration process. Even where litigation can be avoided by stopping the use of an infringing mark, it can be very expensive to rebrand a business, especially for small business owners.

If litigation is unavoidable after infringement, it is significantly more expensive to hire a litigation attorney than it would have been to hire an attorney to give an opinion as to whether the mark should be used. Getting a trademark search can help avoid potential infringement and avoid the expenses involved with litigation. Although it is technically possible for a lay person to register a trademark on their own, hiring an attorney helps to ensure a smooth process and give the best chance of registration with the USPTO.

It is important to conduct a trademark search early in the plans for starting a business because trademarks can take months to years to become registered. You can begin to use your mark before it is registered to establish use in commerce, but it would be disappointing to pick a name and later find out that it needs to be changed. It may even be a good idea to have a trademark search done for more than one name, so you have options if your preferred mark is already taken. With help from an attorney the right name can then be safely secured for your small business.

Prices for trademark search reports can vary widely, but at Cardinal Intellectual Property we pride ourselves on the affordability of our Comprehensive U.S. trademark search. Cardinal’s trademark searches are completed by skilled analysts and are completed on your schedule. We are also happy to work with non-profit organizations to ensure an even more affordable comprehensive search. For more information on Cardinal IP’s trademark searches, or to request a quote, please contact, call (847) 905-7122, or visit

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