- United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Web site
- TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System)
- California State Trademarks
General Sources of Business Names
Search general business directories to find out what names are in use.
- Reference Solutions (Data Axle) - contains 20 million business names. It is searchable by any keyword in the name and also by industry and location. (In the U.S. Businesses Database's Advanced Search, include/select Unverified Businesses to capture all businesses using the name.)
- Mergent Online - U.S. and international company financials, ratios, news and annual reports, including D&B Private Company Database.
- ThomasNet Web site - manufacturers, distributors and service providers, "from Actuators to Zirconium and everything in between." Includes a brand search.
- Consultants & Consulting Organizations Directory (print directory)
- Encyclopedia of Associations - good source for nonprofit and special interest organizations. In print at the General Collections Center.
- California Business Search - CA corporations (including nonprofits), limited partnerships (LP) and limited liability companies (LLC). The Business Search is only a preliminary search and not intended to serve as a formal name availability search. (See Name Reservations for more information.)
Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Search
Print Directories of Local Businesses
[See Local Company Research Resources for a more complete list of local sources]
- California Manufacturers Register Current
- Directory of California Wholesalers & Service Companies Current
- Northern California High Technology Directory Up to 2014
General Sources of Brand & Product Names
- Brands & Their Companies - U.S. listings of trade names and products. Current
- The Advertising Red Books (formerly "Standard Directory of Advertisers") - brands and advertisers are indexed by industry and location.
- ThomasNet (manufacturers and their brands)
Sources for Specific Goods & Services
The Business, Science & Technology Center has many print trade directories for a wide range of industries.
- National Register of Apparel Manufacturers.
- RN & WPL Encyclopedia - best source for identifying clothing labels and manufacturers. Up to 2009
- Search the Internet for your prospective trademark. Use a search engine like Google for a broad search or try an index such as Yahoo to concentrate on a business or product category.
- Scan trade magazines for business and product names. Business Publication Advertising Source from Standard Rate & Data Service is an excellent source of industry publications. Check the Library’s catalog to see if SFPL has any of the industry titles.
- Consult local and regional yellow pages.
- For special types of businesses, consult a library center that specializes in a related subject. For instance, ask staff at the Art, Music, and Recreation Center about searching for band (music) names.
- There are companies that perform trademark searches for a fee. They can be located in the phone book under “trademark consultants,” or found online in library databases such as Reference Solutions.