Trademark Resources


General Sources of Business Names

Search general business directories to find out what names are in use.

California Businesses

  • 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]

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

Additional Suggestions

  • 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 (Data Axel).