IP Protecting IP: When IP Gets Meta

Sometimes modern society gets a bit too self-referential for its own good.  If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, you often see tweets about tweets (“Thanks for the retweet!”). The intellectual property field is full of very tech-savvy, forward-thinking individuals who are so attuned to the world of IP that they think about everything through an IP lens, and intellectual property concepts are included in their patent, trademark, and copyright applications.  I first noticed this trend when I was looking at the homepage for the USPTO 2012 National Trademark Expo, and I saw the T.Markey logo waving back at me. T.Markey is an anthropomorphized registered trademark symbol, complete with googly eyes, gloves, and a pair of tennis shoes.

T.Markey (image from USPTO website).

I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if this personified trademark was also a registered trademark?”  I checked TESS, and sadly I couldn’t locate “T.Markey” as a registered trademark.  This experience planted a seed of interest, though, so I began searching for examples of meta IP.

After the jump, read about patent applications, trademarks, and copyright records that begin to loop back in on themselves!
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A New Version of US Trademark Status and Document Retrieval System

The US Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) is one of many free search tools offered by the USPTO for trademark searchers who need to locate data on US marks. In the past, searchers would need to access both the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR) and Trademark Document Retrieval (TDR) systems if they needed to locate both status data and  all documents related to the registration of a specific US trademark.  The USPTO has recently updated and integrated these two systems into a single interface called the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system, and a USPTO press release announced last week that the TSDR system completely replaces the old TARR and TDR systems as of September 2012.  The current TSDR interface has been updated to version 2.0, and a number of new features were added to the system, including a new ““Assignment Abstract of Title Information” section,  a listing of the application’s notice of allowance date, links to parent or child applications, and more.

After the jump, check out the full list of updates to TSDR 2.0, and learn about how to locate trademark status data and documents related to specific US trademarks through the system.
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A Brief Guide to Searching for US Trademarks on USPTO’s TESS

Trademark searching is a specialized skill, and professional trademark searchers have years of experience with Boolean-style searching and knowledge of trademark legislation and search resources.  Read our interview with  Manager of Trademark Search Services at Landon IP Kimberly Trainor for an in-depth look at the skills required for conducting effective trademark searches.

Trademark searching is a specialized skill, but it can be very useful to have a basic understanding of how to search freely available trademark databases, especially the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).  We’ve looked at  a case study of hunting for turkey trademarks in TESS, and we’ve also looked at two free alternatives to TESS, TMQuest and Trademarkia.  Today, we’ll go back to the basics and look at all the search and viewing features available on TESS.  TESS may not have the most attractive user interface, but it offers surprisingly flexible search options through it’s expert search form.

Continue reading for a run-down on how to use the USPTO’s TESS to search for US trademarks!

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Profile of a Trademark Searcher

Here at the Intellogist Blog, we’ve interviewed a wide range of intellectual property professionals:

Over the past few month, we’ve looked at a number of trademark search tools, but a user can’t conduct a comprehensive trademark search if they lack the necessary search experience and expertise in trademark law.  Professional trademark searchers will also have access to both free and subscription trademark search platforms, which allows them to conduct an extensive search of all available databases. Landon IP provides professional trademark search services, and I recently had the privilege to interview Kimberley Trainor, the trademark search manager at Landon IP.

Read on as Kimberley discusses the different types of trademark searches and what it takes to conduct a professional trademark search!

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TMview: Search for Trademarks Across Multiple European IP Offices

Professional trademark searchers at Landon IP need resources beyond US-only trademark search platforms (like TESS, TMQuest, and Trademarkia). Professionals are often asked to perform global trademark searches, and they utilize subscription based platforms that will not be available freely to anyone conducting an initial trademark search.  For amateur searchers, it can be difficult to locate a high-quality, free international trademark search platform. We’ve already looked at one example of a free international trademark resource, the WIPO Global Brand Database, and today I’ll highlight another free trademark search platform that allows users to search across 27 intellectual property offices.  TMview is a free search platform maintained by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) which allows users to search trademark data from 25 European trademark offices, as well as trademark data from OHIM and WIPO.

Read on to learn how TMview integrates the trademark data of 27 individual offices on an easy-to-use platform that includes advanced  features like a command line interface, tabbed result viewing, and the option to create alerts.

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Free Trademark, Domain, and Logo Search Tools on Trademarkia

I’m always happy to find new trademark search tools, especially free search tools that can be used as an alternative to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).  Professional trademark searchers are able to easily navigate TESS due to their years of experience utilizing both the command line and search form interfaces, but less experienced searchers conducting a preliminary trademark search may find the TESS interface a bit difficult to use.  We’ve looked at one alternativeTMQuest, a free US trademark search tool created by Minesoft. I’ve recently come across another free trademark search site, Trademarkia,  that also allows users to search for domain names, logos, trademarks currently published for opposition, brand ideas, and the option to search social media networks for brand names.

After the jump, we’ll look at the search features of Trademarkia and see how the site compares to TESS!

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Free Minesoft Databases, Part 1: US Trademarks on TMQuest

The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) that’s provided through the USPTO website isn’t the most user-friendly  system for trademark searching.  For example, the structured search form on TESS only allows up to two terms to be combined by a boolean operator in a single query, and if the user wants to include more than two terms in the query, they must use the command-line “Free Form” interface to conduct their search.  Help options are available on TESS, but the help materials are mostly available on a separate “TESS Help Menu” page, accessible through a small “Help” option in the menu above the search forms.  A small “quick tips” option and a menu of “US Trademark Field Codes” are available on the “Free Form” interface, but the user must scroll to the bottom of the page or navigate to a separate webpage to view these help materials.

Luckily, there is an alternative.  Minesoft TMQuest is a free searchable trademark database that covers US registered trademarks from 1881 to present, and the site was created by Minesoft, the company that also produces the subscription patent search system PatBase.  TMQuest is an excellent alternative to TESS for preliminary US trademark searches (although professional trademark searches should be utilized if a comprehensive search is needed).  Read on to learn about the useful features of TMQuest that make trademark searching more user-friendly, such as a detailed advanced search menu with help materials integrated into the search form.
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