Should I conduct a search for similar trademarks before filing an application?
Absolutely. You can spend a lot of money doing that, but at a very minimum, you ought to search the U.S. Trademark Records and you ought to have a professional look at it, because the rules are a little bizarre. There are classifications involved. You don’t get every class. Motor oil’s one class, tennis shoe’s another class. So you would want to search, and certainly, for example, if your name’s McDonald’s and you think, “Well, I’m going to open a hamburger stand,” you might want to know there’s already a hamburger stand named McDonald’s before you spend a lot of money on advertising.