A registered trademark is a valuable asset to any business. While registering a trademark may seem fairly simple, the process is actually quite detailed and requires many legal decisions along the way. Choosing to take on this task alone can lead to unnecessary errors, costly re-filings, and even rejection. Whether you are just beginning to create your trademark or you are faced with possible infringement, you may benefit from the expertise of a trademark attorney.
When Should You Hire a Trademark Attorney?
A trademark attorney should be hired when you have an idea for the name of your company.
This is because a trademark attorney should conduct a search on your name and provide an opinion to you on whether or not the name is safe to use. Far too many business owners fall in love with a name and fail to properly search and clear the name before ordering signage and/or product packaging. If you are locked into a name before even hiring a trademark attorney, you are taking many of the tools the attorney has available to assist you out of his or her hands.
Why Should You Hire a Trademark Attorney?
You should hire a trademark attorney because a skilled and experienced attorney will give you a significantly better chance of securing a trademark registration than if you file a trademark on your own.
The University of North Carolina completed a study several years ago that found trademark attorneys can increase the likelihood of success of a trademark application by over 50%. The reason for this is that a trademark application is a highly complex legal proceeding even though many online companies and articles make it sound easy. Many business owners are lured into the trap that they can “do it themselves” and not have any significant consequences. The data here is overwhelming and clear, trademark attorneys give business owners a much higher probability of success in obtaining and securing trademark rights then if the attorney is not used.
Engage a U.S. Attorney for a Trademark Clearance Search
The first step to registering a trademark is completing a comprehensive trademark search. This search is meant to determine whether a confusingly similar trademark exists before you begin your application. While there are do-it-yourself legal websites offering these searches at an extremely low rate, the decision to go DIY could end up costing more in the long run. Legal websites and search engines typically only reveal exact matches to your trademark. Unfortunately, trademark disputes arise not from exact matches, but from trademarks that might cause a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace. An inadequate search could miss similar trademarks, resulting in rejection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
On the contrary, experienced trademark attorneys have the ability to perform a much more comprehensive search. Instead of simply detecting exact wording matches, trademark attorneys will complete a thorough search of your trademark, whether it be a business name, slogan, or even a logo, and determine if any existing registered marks may be deemed confusingly similar by an examiner at the USPTO. If your attorney is alerted to a possible match, you can work together to create a path forward to possible registration.