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Patents and Trademarks

A guide to getting started with patent searching and trademark searching.

A mark is a legally-registered word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes a product (trademark) or service (service mark). The owner of the mark may exclude others from the use of words, phrases, symbols, or designs that create the same "commercial impression" in the consuming public's mind.

If you are working with trademarks for the first time, start with an overview of trademarks and the trademarking process, like the USPTO's "Trademark Basics" or one of the books listed in this guide.

Trademark Basics
Essential information from the USPTO about trademarks and the trademarking process.

How to search

A robust mark search requires multiple searches:

(a) Search the USPTO's TESS database for registered federal marks and pending applications.

(b) Search state trademark databases: Vermont trademark register.

(c) Search the web, business name databases, and other publications for possible "common law" marks.

Search tools

Useful links

Helpful books

Legal services


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Graham Sherriff
Contact: or MS Teams chat

Liaison to:
College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, US Patent & Trademark Office