Trademark Search Design Code Manual

The USPTO design search code manual is a helpful guide to codes used in performing a preliminary trademark search for your logo or graphic design mark. This manual can be found at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website when you are on the main search option screen. You will need to perform your trademark search using the free form method in order to really use the design search codes to narrow your results and find the most relevant trademarks to compare with your own.

You can learn more about the reasons for a trademark search before filing a trademark application in a prior post on this blog. Here we are going to show you a little more about the help example of the USPTO on how to specifically use a design search code.

Table of Contents for USPTO Design Code ManualDesigns are Divided into Categories

First, you will find that the design search code manual is comprehensive as shown in this table of contents from the Trademark Office website.

The design codes have been divided into 29 different broad categories such as celestial bodies, human beings, and animals to name a few. Following, the table of contents, the design manual includes an introduction on how to use the codes and more general guidelines. You will find both of these sections very helpful in knowing how to use the design codes. 

Trademarks Containing Design Figurative Elements are Coded Under Three Levels


Using these three levels of code, all design codes are formed into a six digits. A person can perform a narrow search by focusing on all three levels of the code, or a broader search can be done by focusing on levels 1 or 2 only.

In conducting a design search, one may focus on an extremely narrow group of similar design marks by using one or more six-digit codes and the field tag for design codes [dc]. One may also look at broader categories or divisions of marks by using either two-digit or four-digit codes.

Example Trademark Search by Design Code

Trademark search input example for a design search code
For example: A search for 030301[dc] would retrieve all documents with a design of an elephant in the mark, even if there are other words or designs in the mark. Trademark search result using design codeHere is an example of one of the registrations found as a result. The first two digits of the design code 03 stands for Animals, the second two digits of the design code 03 stands for elephants, hippopotami, rhinoceri, giraffes, alpacas, camels, llamas, and the last two digits of the design code 01 stands specifically for elephants and mammoths.

Design codes can be combined to find documents with more than one design in the mark.Combination design code trademark search For example, a search for a mark with both an elephant (03.03.01) and a blanket (09.01.07) design is entered as 030301[dc] and 090107[dc]. The following design would be retrieved because the mark contains both an elephant and a blanket.

As mentioned, the design codes can also be searched by using only a four digit code or two digit code and using a truncation symbol ($). Using the truncation operator,  will result in a broader search. For example, if one wanted to retrieve all images with any type of bird (03.15) and any child (02.05), the search would be entered as 0315$[dc] and 0205$[dc].

Using these strategies, you can improve your preliminary trademark search results before spending your money on filing a new trademark application for your business brand. We recommend choosing a trademark that is strong and does not infringe on an existing trademark.

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