A trademark is a unique name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image or a combination of these elements that uniquely identifies your product or service to your customers and distinguishes you from your competitors. By registering your trademark, you provide your company, your product and your services with government protection that are part of the benefits of trademark rights. With a registered trademark, your competitors will not be allowed to use a logo or name of the same likeness, or produce a product or offer services that are similar to yours. For example, Apple produces computer products with an Apple logo. Another company cannot use the apple, or something similar to an apple, to identify themselves within the same industry. Sometimes the benefits extend beyond industries as well.
Trademarks are filed under the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The role of the USPTO is to make sure that there are no other trademarks like yours. This office was not setup for your benefit, but to protect the existing trademarks that are already registered. Their objective is to search for possible infringements in the trademark that you filed and rejecting your application if there is. Application fees are not refundable.
With these possible roadblocks in your application, it is best to do searches on existing trademarks to make sure that the trademark you are applying for is unique and distinctly identify your company, product or service. There are Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTD), where you can visit and manually search for existing trademarks. You can also utilize the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) online to look for existing trademarks that are registered in the United States of America. To search for existing applications, you can use the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval System under the USPTO. By doing these searches, you save the trouble of your application being rejected.