Applying for a trademark is an important and exciting step in the idea invention process. But what if your trademark is already taken? When filing for a trademark, you will need resources to ensure that there are no others like yours. The possibility exists that somebody else has already come up with the same or a similar idea as you! The first way to avoid the above scenario is to make sure that all pieces of creative content within your trademark are completely unique. Logos, names, phrases, symbols, images and designs must all be easily distinguishable and different from other trademarks and their content. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be on the lookout for these things, so save yourself some time and beat them to the punch! If you haven’t yet quite grasped the importance of a unique trademark, consider this: copyright infringement is punishable by law! This offense could result in a fine or even jail time. Luckily this is pretty easily avoidable via the Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL). The PTDL houses extensive and accurate records of patents and trademarks, both pending and approved. The PTDL is both free and public, so do a thorough search before applying for your trademark. Remember to search pending trademarks as well, your idea may not yet be taken, but it could be in the process! The PTDL website contains a vast array of forms and information pertaining to patents and trademarks. Utilize this website to stay current on laws and news. The PTDL will help you stay well versed in patents and trademarks, which in turn can help you be a more productive and successful inventor!