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Should I Use an Attorney to File a Trademark Application?

February 7, 2018 Blogs

There are so many online resources available for filing federal trademark applications. Legalzoom and Trademarkia are just a couple of examples.  Do you really need to pay an attorney to file a trademark application? yes—and you should use one with trademark experience.

First, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)—the government entity reviewing your application—basically recommends it:

Attorneys who are familiar with trademark matters represent most applicants. Before ever filing a trademark application, a trademark attorney can conduct a more comprehensive search for potential problems with your use of a proposed mark than you will be able to conduct. The attorney then can counsel you regarding use of the mark, recommend whether to file a trademark application, and advise you on your likelihood of success in the registration process.

Significantly, this is the first thing you encounter in a USPTO trademark application:

Second, your trademark application is simply more likely to register when you use an experienced trademark attorney. In fact, studies show that your chances of success in this regard are 50% – 68% higher.

Third, going it alone, or with an online service, can be a frustrating waste of money and time. Part of my practice involves trying to fix broken applications from “DIY” ers, online services, or less experienced attorneys. Two recovering examples:

Todd Nelson, president of Brigham City Outdoors, a river heights, Utah outdoor goods retailer, says:

Not fully understanding the trademark process, i tried to save a little money and apply for a trademark on my own. Not only was my trademark rejected, but because the process is so slow, i didn’t find out until later that year when i had already started producing inventory under the applied-for mark. I definitely recommend using a trademark attorney!

Similarly, Kurt Frome, president of Logan, Utah’s, a children’s products retailer, says:

In trying to save money upfront, i have lost several months trying to get the trademark through on my own. I don’t recall the online trademark service offering help to get the categories right, etc. On the initial application. It seems they are almost setting you up to fail. In hindsight it’s wiser to use an attorney to begin with.

Some other good articles to read when considering going it alone or using online services can be found here, here, and here.

Ultimately, an experienced trademark attorney can help you properly and successfully obtain a trademark registration and protect your brands at reasonable cost, saving you time and headache.