It can be challenging to navigate the trademark registration process. Many entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups, do not have the resources to hire legal counsel. Hiring an intellectual property lawyer may seem expensive.
Many applicants are attracted to the simplicity and speed of DIY online service providers’ registration process. It is especially true for those just starting their business ventures. These potential clients might be aware of the importance of trademark registrations and may wish to have one. However, they need to understand the role of an attorney in successfully registering a trademark.
When is it the right time to apply for a trademark?
The best way to start the trademark registration process is after you have narrowed down your choices of possible marks. It includes business names or product names, logos, and slogans. You will find out about the mark’s availability before you purchase signage and labeling or develop a marketing strategy that uses the effect.
Additionally, your priority date is the date you file your trademark application to the USPTO. Anyone attempting to file confusingly similar marks after that date will be rejected. This essential protection can help protect your brand against copycats by being secured early.
How to apply for a trademark – Do it yourself, or hire an attorney.
Entrepreneurs are often self-sufficient. Many entrepreneurs find it affordable to do the job of trademark registration without an attorney. Many online resources can help you manage the entire process if you decide to do it yourself. Everything is possible, from completing a thorough trademark search to choosing the suitable international classes to respond to Office Actions.
To learn how to search for the correct application, you will need to be familiar with the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website. You will also need to respond within the given timeframe to Office Actions issued to you by the USPTO once your application has been filed. It is crucial to follow each step correctly to obtain approval for your trademark.
An attorney to hire
Many entrepreneurs hesitate to pay for an attorney, especially if their venture is not yet profitable. Partnering with an experienced attorney will allow new business owners to concentrate on other tasks, such as product development, team member training, and advertising, instead of worrying about trademark law and applying for applications. Your attorney will make sure the process goes smoothly and in a timely fashion and provide the protection you require as soon as possible.
Small businesses should hire an attorney to register trademarks
Small business owners are often too busy to learn the details of trademark law. An experienced trademark attorney will provide a full range of U.S. trademark registration services, including trademark searches, application submission, and communications with USPTO.
Analysis and search
A trademark search looks at the mark’s existing registration and any pending applications to see if they may conflict with yours. Although DIY websites might offer similar searches, they usually charge more and are not as thorough as those performed. A trademark attorney is recommended.
Gerben Perrott PLLC’s attorneys use state-of-the-art software to search pre-existing registrations for similar marks. It allows them to find similar sound, appearance, and function patterns in fields related to yours. The following search results are also reviewed with an attorney to ensure that the applicant fully understands the potential risks and changes required when applying for their trademark.
This guidance is often critical to determining the success of an application.
A trademark application might appear to be a simple document that requests contact information from the owner and details about the goods or services covered by the mark. However, the application form contains many legal questions that need to be analyzed. For example, determining the appropriate class for your application, deciding on the filing basis that is most appropriate for your product offerings, understanding what a proper specimen is for each class designation.
All of these decisions can be made with the help of a trademark attorney who is familiar with USPTO’s requirements and standards for filing trademark applications. These are the only requirements for DIY sites. An error can lead to a refusal of the application and even the cancellation or expiration of your trademark.
After the application has been submitted, you will need to file it
Your application submission does not automatically mean that you are done with filing. A statement of use filing may be required depending on the filing basis for your application before your mark is approved for registration. Additional filings that may be needed include extensions, Office actions responses, and administrative updates. These filings are at the applicant’s discretion when filing via DIY sites.
These filings will determine the fate of your application. Therefore, it is best to consult an attorney about the filings you may need to protect your trademark.
If the application is denied and required to resubmit, any savings made by DIY websites will be lost. However, an attorney can provide several services such as application monitoring, filing facilitation, and filing facilitation that will significantly increase the likelihood of an application being successful.
Numerous university studies show that applications are more likely to be approved if filed with an attorney than submitted by the applicant alone. Therefore, to maximize your chances of success, hire an attorney to help you complete your application.
Working with an attorney can help you save money
The upfront costs of a trademark attorney should be considered an investment in your business. Although initial fees are more expensive than using an attorney, you can save even more money by avoiding litigation.
Your trademark is a representation of your business, brand, and reputation with consumers. It is, therefore, the most valuable piece of intellectual property in your company. Unfortunately, although the lure of saving money may be appealing, there are potential pitfalls in the trademark application process that could make it costly to hire an experienced attorney to manage your trademark assets.
Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the authors Shalom Lamm.