Understanding Trademark Bank's Advanced Search Features

Understanding Trademark Bank's Advanced Search Features

Understanding Trademark Bank's Advanced Search Features

Overview

As part of our ongoing quest to make Trademark Bank the most user-friendly Trademark monitoring and prosecution docketing software on the market, we have implemented a series of advanced search features that enable users to quickly and easily identify relevant trademark data. This Guide will explain how to make the most of the advanced search features on Trademark Bank, with an emphasis on operators, modifiers, and grouping.

Terminology

Before we launch into an explanation of Boolean syntax, it is important to note the key terminology that will be used throughout this Guide.

  • A query is a search. Queries in Trademark Bank can have up to three elements: terms, operators, and modifiers.
  • A term is a word or phrase for which you hope to find results. For instance, in searching for popular Louis Armstrong songs, you may type in the term "Hello Dolly."
  • An operator is a word, abbreviation, or punctuation that the software understands as a command, and not as a term. Word operators utilize ALL CAPS in order to signal to the program that the word is intended to function as an operator rather than a search term. For instance, with a query for "light and house," the search function will treat the word "and" as a part of mark. In other words, it would search for the trademark "Light and House". With a query for "light AND house," on the other hand, the search function would view "AND" as an operator, the significance of which is discussed below.
  • A modifier is a symbol that is added to a term to instruct the software to perform multiple searches simultaneously. For instance, a modifier can be used to search for variations of a particular word (e.g., create, created, and creative) or it can limit search results to instances where one word or phrase appears within a designated proximity of another word or phrase (e.g., only results where "ham" appears within five words of "cheese").

Search Operators

As noted above, Operators (or Boolean operators) allow terms to be combined for more effective searching. The Trademark Bank search function recognizes the following operators:

  • AND (&&)
  • OR (||)
  • NOT (!)

Before we explain the function of each operator, it is important to note that the first three operators, AND, OR, and NOT, must be in ALL CAPS.

Without further ado, we begin with AND, which we mentioned in our definition of operator above. A query that uses the word AND in between two search terms will produce records that contain both terms. The terms can appear anywhere in the trademark. For instance, a search for "light AND house" will turn up "Light House," "Lighthouse," "Litehouse, and "We All House the Light." For the trivia folks out there, using the ampersand (&) symbol twice will have the same effect. In other words, "light && house" will turn up the same results as "light AND house."

The OR operator tells the search function to look for records that contain one or more of a group of terms. A query for "light OR house" will find "Lighthouse," but it will also just find "Light" or "House." A string of multiple terms, connected by OR, will search for any of those terms. If you search for "light OR house OR street," the Trademark Bank search function will now also find "Mane Street" and "Street Dreamz." Like AND, OR has an equivalent symbol: ||. Thus, the results for "light || house" are the same as "light OR house."

Using the NOT operator will exclude trademarks that include the term that appears after NOT. A query for "light NOT lighthouse" will eliminate any of the "Light House" or "Litehouse" trademarks we saw in the discussion of AND. Symbol lovers will get the same results by using the exclamation symbol (!). The NOT operator cannot be used in a query for a single term. If you search for "NOT lighthouse," Trademark Bank will return no results.

Modifiers

Modifiers are a lot like operators in that both instruct the search function to treat the terms in a particular way. The difference is that while operators will add or subtract records from a single search, modifiers will run multiple searches simultaneously, and produce results from any search. With modifiers, our focus will be on wildcards, fuzzy searches, proximity searches, range searches, and boosters.

The wildcard modifier will search for trademarks that may contain variations of a single word or different words that have a similar root or spelling. There are two symbols that will perform the wildcard function:

  • The Question Mark (?) for a single-character wildcard (i.e., to one letter or symbol).
  • The asterisk (*) for a multiple-character wildcard (0 or multiple letter or symbols).

For instance, a query for "te?t" will return "Testavance" and "Text for Tuition." A query for "te*t" will return those results, as well as any other trademarks that include a word that begins with "te" and ends with "t," such as "Terraprecast" or "Teleport."

Fuzzy search refers to a modifier that instructs the search function to look for trademarks that are similar to the term to which the modifier is applied. To use this modifier, simply affix the tilde (~) symbol to the end of the term. For instance a query for "roam~" will return "Roam," "Rdam," "Roak" and "Rotam."

A proximity search asks Trademark Bank to return records where two terms appear within a certain distance of each other. To do a proximity search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Phrase. For example to search for a "apache" and "jakarta" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search:

"jakarta apache"~10

To understand boosters, it helps to know that the Trademark Bank search algorithm organizes results according to relevance. For instance, in the discussion of OR, we used an example query of "light OR house." In actuality, that query will identify over 44,000 USPTO records for active and inactive trademarks that feature one these two words.

In this case, let’s say that while you are interested in identifying marks that only contain one of the two words, "light" is far more important because it is the dominant portion of your mark. You can prioritize those records by adding a booster onto "light" so those results will appear first. Simply add the caret symbol (^) to the end of the word along with a "boost factor" (i.e., a number). The higher the boost factor, the more relevant the term will be. Thus, the word "light" will be treated as more relevant if followed by "^2" than "^1."

Grouping

The last technique we will address is grouping. Grouping refers to an instruction in your query that tells the search function to treat two or more terms as a sub-query. For instance, if you want to find trademarks that use the word "house" in connection with either "light" or "sight," you can run the query "(light OR sight) AND house." Grouping, combined with the other techniques discussed above, will help you make the most of the Trademark Bank search function.