Your brand name or trademark is your unique identifier in the marketplace. It identifies your goods or services to prospective customers so they know to choose your products over those of your competitors. Brands are a consumer’s reference point – they are hallmarks of trust, quality and reliability. You may buy Crest toothpaste because you like the way it whitens your teeth, or Allstate insurance so you know you’re in good hands.
Your brand is huge, and even if it doesn’t seem like it right now, it has the potential to be the most valuable asset in your company. Protecting your trademark is no small undertaking and should not be left to chance. This month, we consider the top 5 reasons why you should work with a trademark attorney in protecting your brand name.
1. Trademark Law Is Complicated. Trademark law is a highly specialized area of the law with specific rules and requirements. Registering a trademark may seem like a straightforward form process, but in truth, trademark law in the United States is subject to specific regulations, unique filing requirements and is strictly enforced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). There are many areas for mistakes and simply entering the wrong information could lead to your application being rejected and losing any filing fees paid.
2. Cost Effective. Believe it or not, it can cost less to register your trademark with a trademark attorney than without one. If there are any errors, omissions or conflicting marks when you file your trademark application, the USPTO will issue an Office Action refusing registration of your mark. If the issues are substantive, or in the case of a conflicting trademark, you will likely have to hire a trademark attorney to respond to the Office Action on your behalf. This usually incurs additional fees. Wouldn’t it have been smart to use a trademark attorney from the outset?
3. Better Searches, Better Odds of Success. Trademark attorney searches are much more in-depth and comprehensive than the search that is available on the USPTO website. Trademark attorneys, including the attorneys at Flat Fee Trademark, use paid, proprietary databases to search trademarks. Our searches don’t just include your mark, but also variations of the mark that could result in the USPTO denying your application. You may think you’ve covered all your bases, but if you don’t know what to look for, you will probably miss something. An experienced trademark attorney can help spot potential issues and conflicting marks before submitting your trademark application.
4. Real Live Attorneys. Beware quickie trademark filing companies. Most of these filing services are not staffed by trademark attorneys. They may use a paid attorney spokesman, but they are just document preparers. They cannot provide legal advice and if you receive an Office Action or an Opposition proceeding from a third party challenging your mark, you’ll have to find and hire a real trademark attorney.
5. Avoid Infringement of Other Marks. A trademark attorney can advise you on using and registering your mark in a manner that will reduce the likelihood of infringement of others’ trademarks. In considering trademark registration, it’s important to get your mark registered as soon as possible, but it’s even more important to ensure you have proper rights in the trademark. If someone else is using the same mark or something very similar for related goods or services, you could be sued for trademark infringement. This would be bad. A trademark attorney can provide guidance on proper use of your trademark to avoid liabilities down the road.
So there you have it, the Top 5 reasons to hire a trademark attorney when registering your trademark. If you have any questions about the trademark registration process or trademark law in general, the trademark attorneys at Flat Fee Trademark are available to answer. Please give us a call at (800) 769-7790. We offer free consultations and we’re always happy to hear from you.