Finding the proper person to sign a trademark application is more complicated than it seems. In fact, it’s something that attorneys get wrong all the time.
Here are the two most common scenarios for selecting a proper signatory for your application.
1. If filing a trademark as a Corporation or LLC
If you’re filing a trademark application under the name of a corporation or an LLC, the signatory or the person signing the application must meet two requirements.
a) The person signing must be a corporate officer with authority to bind the company.
One of the things we often see people get wrong is they’ll allow a marketing director, or some other higher up, to sign the application. However, a marketing director does not have the legal authority to bind the company, so if he signs the application, the resulting registration can be completely void.
Even though it’s a hassle to ask your president or another managing member to come in and sign something, it’s critical to the rights you’re creating to ensure that the proper person is signing the application.
b) The person signing must have actual knowledge about facts around the trademark.
In a trademark application, there’s a sworn statement being submitted that states that the person signing knows the company has an intent to sell goods or services using the trademark or already has those sales of goods and services in the marketplace.
In larger companies, it’s entirely possible that some corporate officers don’t have knowledge about this. They may not be involved in that particular program or aware of a certain product or service. So, you have to ensure the person signing can in fact submit the proper sworn statement and could back it up if they’re ever deposed in a court case later on.
2. If filing a trademark as an individual
Things get a little easier if you’re just filing the application under your own name.
You just have to make sure you’re the one signing the application, and not a spouse or child. Do not let anybody else sign on your behalf.
3. Why an attorney should not sign your trademark application
It is a mistake to let your attorney sign a trademark application. This is because by signing a trademark application, your attorney is submitting a sworn statement that he/she has knowledge about the facts around your trademark. In other words, the attorney is attesting to the fact that he/she knows about your company’s intent to sell goods and services, or, about actual sales that have already occurred.
If there’s ever a challenge to your trademark application or registration, the attorney that signed the application becomes a fact witness and may be conflicted out from representing you.
If you have any questions regarding who should sign your trademark application, please fill out the contact form on our website.