A lot of information can be gleamed from the trademark filings at the USPTO.
Here is a recent example of competitive intelligence discovered from the register:
McDonald’s Eyeing Retail Coffee Market? (via Burger Business)
Here are the USPTO filings made by McDonald’s last month for “ground and whole bean coffee” (click for USPTO records):
As I wrote previously, the potential value of the competitive intelligence available from the USPTO trademark records is huge. Businesses can follow trends in the industry, or monitor their competitor’s projects.