Long ago and far away I watched my (then) documentation manager look up a
site on the Web and report back to me that a particular name was or wasn't
I also think the site specified if the name was TM'ed or (c)'ed or whatever.
Would anybody know the address of said site?
No web site can tell you whether a name is "taken."
In the United States, the Patent and Trademark Office's web site offers a searchable database at http://www.uspto.gov/tmdb/index.html. However, this feature will only identify federally registered trademarks in the United States (not all trademarks are so registered), it is not up-to-date (as of today, it is current only as of January 1, 2000), it will not identify similar-sounding trademarks (such as Ritz versus Rits) and it will not identify similar trademarks (such as Microsoft versus Macrosift). Nor will the site tell you whether, if a trademark is registered, it may still be available for use (such as in connection with different goods or services). A thorough trademark search will search federal, state and common-law trademarks. Such searches are generally available through lawyers who practice in this field, who can provide the all-important interpretation of the search results. In any event, even a lawyer cannot necessarily say for certain whether a trademark is available for use.
If you're speaking of domain names (in the popular .com, .net and org top-level domains), see Network Solutions' WHOIS search at http://www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois. However, be forewarned that just because a domain name may be available for registration does not necessarily mean that the same word (or combination) is available for use as a trademark.
Douglas M. Isenberg
Attorney @ Law
Editor & Publisher, GigaLaw.com
GigaLaw.com: "Legal Information for
Internet and Technology Professionals"
Visit TechWhirl's Other Sites