First some breaking news! The word has come down from the US Patent and Trademark Office. The new name of the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries will be Patent and Trademark Resource Centers. The actual name change will be official as of October 1st. Although as yet no festivities are planned, we look forward, both before and after the change, to helping you with your Patent and Trademark research here at SIBL.
What do Trademark Examiners do? No — this is not a trick question. They do examine applications for trademark registrations.
Trademark examining attorneys seem to have noticed that since the filing process has become simpler — it's online, quick and seems easy — there are many, many opportunities for applicants to make all kinds of mistakes. The trademark registration application, though, is a legal document with a highly formal process and ultimately subject to public scrutiny. There's no way the USPTO can just say "no harm - no foul" when mistakes are made. And the filing fees are non-refundable!
USPTO's response? Videos! On the USPTO website, they have posted a self-produced (yeah DIY!) series of somewhat tongue-in-cheek videos covering important issues and particular types of filing mistakes. You can view them at the Trademark Information Network page. Some of them are also available on YouTube - of which I've embedded a couple below.
Here's an overview of things you'll want to do before filing your trademark registration application:
All of the actors in this video are (at the time of filming) USPTO employees — as I understand, all are or have been examiners. I can't help wondering if some of the "stories" told in this video aren't real. Whatever you may think about the "plot" here, the underlying story is important: there are many key issues to think about before you file your application.
Next, here's a video with a little more technical information:
Who will own a trademark? An individual or a group of people? Partnership, corporation, LLC? If a business is successful, its trademark can become extremely valuable. So you don't want to wake up one morning and discover the actual owner isn't who you thought it would be.
Well, there are more - so if you want to get information about trademark filing direct from the source, I recommend you visit TMIN (again - the URL is www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/TMIN.jsp). Enjoy!