Once it is determined that trademark protection is appropriate for your goods and/or services, selecting an available and protectable trademark are important steps. A “clearance search” that looks for existing marks that may conflict with your proposed mark will help avoid possible infringement of another’s trademark and avoid having to change your trademark at a later point, which may adversely affect your business plan. Trademark rights exist when you are “using the trademark in commerce.” Those rights are typically protected through reliance on “common law” rights or “federal registration” rights. Common law rights exist automatically and provide limited geographic protection. Federal rights require the expense of filing for registration and, in the US, provide nationwide protection and presumptions/remedies upon infringement. Foreign trademark rights may also be appropriate depending upon various factors. Your Technology Manager and the Copyright/Trademark Manager can discuss trademarks and clearance searches with you in more detail.