How-to: Watch and/or search for U.S. trademark registrations

What is a trademark?

From the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s FAQ:

Trademarks protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and indicate the source of the goods. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce.

Whether or not you should file a trademark is up to you and your attorney. This post merely provides information on how to find out what trademarks have been applied for or granted.
How to search existing trademarks and trademark applications

Go to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), click on ‘Search Trademarks’, and search for a specific word/phrase/design mark.

Detailed instructions on how to interpret the results are on the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) Help page.
How to keep an eye on fiction-related trademark applications

Follow CockyBot ™ on Twitter. CockyBot tweets information about recent fiction-related applications in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database. In addition to listing the text that someone has applied to trademark, CockyBot provides links to check on the status of the application, documentation about the application, and a URL to an Amazon search for that text.

More details about exactly what CockyBot does, as well as a number of useful links related to trademarks and the U.S. trademark process, can be found at


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