One of the questions we are asked frequently is, Do I need an attorney for a trademark?
The costs of starting a new business can sometimes feel overwhelming. You likely want to do as many things as possible yourself to save money.
However, trying to tackle complicated tasks like registering a trademark on your own can be a big mistake. Even taking shortcuts like using an online legal service can leave you with inadequate protection for your intellectual property. While these approaches may save you money in the short term, it can cost you in the long run.
“Doing the appropriate research and making the right decisions often make the difference between a successful trademark application and denial.”Business and Branding Attorney Ashley Brewer
Before you use an online service like LegalZoom, consider scheduling a free introductory phone call with one of our experienced trademark attorneys at BrewerLong. We can talk to you more about the benefits of using an attorney to file your trademark application. Then you can make a more informed decision about whether the services of a trademark attorney would be valuable to your business.
Does an Attorney Have to Apply for a Trademark?
A person does not have to be a lawyer to apply for a trademark. Anyone can file a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
However, there is more to registering a trademark than simply filling out a form. You need to properly research, identify, and explain your trademark to give it adequate protection. Further, even after you get trademark approval, you will need to monitor your trademark to protect it from infringement.
When you file a trademark without an attorney, your application may contain errors that will affect your trademark down the road. In some cases, these errors may mean that your application will be rejected. In other situations, you may not know there is a problem until you try to enforce your trademark later. A trademark attorney can help you avoid these types of errors so your trademark is properly protected.
Do I Need a Trademark Attorney?
It is always a good idea to hire an attorney to help you with your trademark. Because trademark applications can be complicated, applicants represented by attorneys are 50% more likely to obtain trademark approval than those who file their own trademark applications.
If the USPTO rejects your trademark application, you will need to revise it, refile it, and pay filing fees all over again. Your attorney can help you get it right the first time to avoid delays and extra fees.
A lawyer can help you with all aspects of applying for and enforcing your trademark, including:
- Checking whether your proposed trademark has been registered by another company;
- Researching whether anyone else is already using your proposed trademark;
- Advising you on the strength of your trademark;
- Preparing and submitting your trademark application;
- Revising your application if necessary;
- Advising you on steps you need to take to maintain your trademark protection;
- Monitoring unauthorized use of your trademark; and
- Enforcing your trademark rights against infringement.
Once you register a trademark, the protection it provides does not expire. Nevertheless, you can lose trademark protection by not properly enforcing your rights. The USPTO will not take any steps to enforce your trademark rights. Rather, you are responsible to monitor and enforce those rights. An attorney can advise you on how to do so in light of your individual circumstances.
LegalZoom vs. Lawyer
Online services such as LegalZoom can provide you basic assistance in filing your trademark. However, they are no substitute for having a lawyer at your side.
Services like LegalZoom take a one-size-fits-all approach to preparing legal documents. Their basic service gives you a step-by-step process, but still leaves you to prepare the application primarily on your own. And even their more advanced service gives you only basic attorney assistance in completing your paperwork and helping with “minor roadblocks.”
Indeed, LegalZoom’s disclaimer highlights the many limitations of their services. When you use LegalZoom, your communications are not protected by attorney-client privilege. Additionally, LegalZoom “cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.”
In other words, LegalZoom can get you the right forms and point you in the right direction. But they cannot tailor their services to your specific needs or help you with any serious complications that may arise.
A trademark lawyer, on the other hand, can give you personalized service and advice. They will talk to you one on one about your specific needs and goals. They will thoroughly research your trademark to make sure it’s not already in use by someone else. And they can prepare an application that will adequately protect your trademark for the purposes you plan to use it.
Further, having an attorney from the outset will make it easier to enforce your trademark against infringement. Your attorney can advise you on how to monitor your trademark. And if you need to file a lawsuit, your attorney will already understand your trademark and its background and be prepared to enforce your intellectual property rights.
Getting Started with a Trademark Application
If you are ready to start your trademark application, contact the knowledgeable trademark attorneys at BrewerLong. We are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs with all their business’s legal needs. We are prepared to help you protect your intellectual property rights, so you can focus on building your business. Call or contact us today to set up a free phone consultation with one of our attorneys.
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