A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in business.
A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the Federal Agency charged with granting U.S. Patents and registering Federal Trademarks.
TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) contains more than 3 million pending, registered and dead federal trademarks. TESS provides access to the same text and image database of trademarks as currently provided to examining attorneys at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The fact that a mark is not present in the TESS database does not necessarily mean that the mark is not currently being used as a trademark. The TESS database contains only those trademarks that are Federally registered or that are pending (applications undergoing examination at the USPTO). The TESS database does not contain any information on state, foreign, or common law trademarks. The TESS database does include the available information on inactive applications and registrations (i.e., abandoned applications or canceled or expired registrations).
Additional resources used in trademark searching: