The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) is a body within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) responsible for hearing and deciding certain kinds of cases involving trademarks. These include appeals from decisions by USPTO Examiners denying registration of marks, and opposition proceedings filed against trademark applications. TTAB panels hear hundreds of claims each year asserting that trademarks should not be registered because they are generic, disparaging, or confusingly similar to existing marks. Such challenges to registration are initially considered by trademark examining attorneys whose judgment may be appealed to the TTAB. Decisions of the TTAB may, in turn, be appealed to a United States district court, or the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Before submitting an application to register a trademark, or before investing money in a potential mark, lawyers or businesspeople may want to search federal, state, common law, or international trademarks and service marks to see if a similar mark is already in use. Before undertaking a search, you should understand the limitations of trademark searching. Below are some free and subscription sources available for searching trademarks.
Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) - USPTO - Free search of Federally registered trademarks
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Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. L & L Wings, Inc., 962 F.2d 316 (4th Cir. 1992)
Cliffs Notes, Inc. v. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 886 F.2d 490 (2d Cir. 1989)
Frosty Treats, Inc. v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc., 426 F.3d 1001 (8th Cir. 2005)
Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co. v. Novak, 836 F.2d 397 (1987)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Doughney, 263 F.3d 359 (4th Cir. 2001)
Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co., Inc., 514 U.S. 159, (1995)
Stork Restaurant Inc. v. Sahati, 166 F. 2d 348 ( 9th Cir. 1948)
TrafFix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing Displays, Inc., 532 U.S. 23 (2001)
Two Pesos v. Taco Cabana, 505 U.S. 763 (1992)
Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd., 615 F.Supp. 838 (S.D.N.Y. 1985)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Brothers, Inc., 529 U.S. 205 (2000)
Yale Electric Corp v. Robertson, 26 F. 2d 972 (2d Cir.1928)