Registering a trademark or servicemark to protect your brand is one of the most important things you can do for your business, but too often, in an effort to save a little money, a business owner decides to file his or her trademark registration without the help of a lawyer. Sometimes, they use one of those online document preparation services with slick websites and nationwide advertising. Other times, they just try to do it themselves. Unfortunately, it’s rare that things work out as the business owner hoped they would. Clients frequently come to me to “fix” things, after they’ve taken missteps and received unfavorable treatment from the government.
Doing it yourself isn’t necessarily doing it right.
It’s true that there’s no Requirement that you use an attorney to register your trademark. But, unlike copyright registration (which is quite easy and within most laypeople’s skill level), trademark registration is a complex process with quite a few hidden traps for the unwary.
Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) , while acknowledging that this CAN be done without a lawyer, has posted a page on its Web site entitled What a Private Attorney Could Do to Help Avoid Potential Pitfalls.
How a Lawyer Helps
That page describes many of the ways an experienced trademark attorney can help, such as:
- Conducting preliminary and comprehensive trademark searches
- Analyzing potential conflicting marks
- Preparing the Application to maximize the scope of protection without jeopardizing the registration by over-describing the mark, and by refining the description of your goods and services in such a way as to minimize the likelihood that registration will be refused
- Responding to refusals that do issue
- Policing and enforcement of trademark rights
The USPTO staff, while among the most helpful of government agents, are legally prohibited from offering you legal advice or assistance. So, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re on your own if you don’t have a lawyer.
But lawyers are expensive!
Now, it’s true that attorneys charge for our services. But you might be surprised at how affordable our assitance can be. It’s certainly more cost-effective to hire a lawyer at the beginning of the trademark registration process than it is to engage one to help once the application has been filed and the Examining Attorney has issued a refusal to register.
So, if you’re building a brand, isn’t it worth a few bucks to protect it with an attorney-prepared trademark registration? Why not call me for a consultation?