trademark law

trademark search

An investigation to discover any potential conflicts between a proposed trademark and existing ones, and preferably done before a new trademark is used in commerce. A trademark search reduces the possibility of inadvertently infringing a mark belonging to someone else. A business can conduct a preliminary search using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's online trademark database. The most thorough trademark searches are accomplished by professional search firms.

secondary meaning

When a trademark that is not distinctive acquires a meaning within the marketplace such that consumers associate it with the product or service. For example, though first names are not generally considered distinctive, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream has become so well known that it has acquired secondary meaning and is entitled to trademark protection. Proving secondary meaning requires evidence of public recognition through use and exposure in the marketplace.


1) Crimes of robbery, kidnapping, and similar activities on the high seas. The trial and punishment of such pirates may be under international law, or under the laws of the particular nation where the pirate has been captured. 2) A colloquial term without legal significance often used to describe willful copyright, patent, and trademark infringement.


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