Affordable Trademark Lawyers
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At UpCounsel, we want to help you protect your brand with a trademark at one low cost.
A trademark is a symbol, word, or words that have been legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product within the United States. Registering a trademark is an important step in forging an identity for your business. Not only does it improve brand recognizance, but it prevents other companies from using your logo in a deceptive way.
By having an attorney register a trademark for you with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you will establish your rights as the legal owner of the mark, which will protect it from being used by others in an unauthorized manner.
To get started registering a trademark, you can easily post a job and compare free custom proposals from several trademark attorneys who can best help save you time and money registering a trademark.
Why Hire a Trademark Lawyer
Why Hire a Trademark Registration Lawyer
There are many reasons to trademark your logo or brand name.
- Customer Recognizance
- One of the most important reasons to trademark your brand name is so customers can find you. No matter what industry you're in, the market's crowded. This makes it more difficult for customers to find you online or in retail locations. With a trademark, your business, services, and products stand out. This builds a relationship, reputation, and influences a customer's final decision.
- Social Media
- If your business isn't connected to social media, you should start immediately. Many consumers use social media to find information about your business instead of traditional search engines. With a trademark, they can find you. This gives you more traffic, higher search rankings, and more brand recognizance.
- Providing Value
- Trademarks aren't always valuable at first. However, they add value to your business over time. This doesn't always translate to a monetary value, but a recognizable trademark is worth so much more. It leads to expansion possibilities and may encourage a larger corporation to buy you out. You should also treat a trademark as an asset that can be sold, bought, or licensed.
- Low-Cost Asset
- Compared to other business costs, a trademark is a bargain. It costs as little as $275 to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The trademark is also renewable at little cost after five years and 10 years.
- No Expiration
- As long as you continue to use the trademark at your business, there is no end date. This allows you to build the brand indefinitely.
- Better Hires
- As a reputable and recognized company, it's easier to find, attract, and keep employees. When candidates have strong feelings about the brand, they want to work for your company. Many times, you can keep them based on brand alone.
- A trademark isn't always a word or words. It's also an emblem or logo. If you have a trademarked logo, it allows you to communicate in other markets that don't speak the same language. Nike's famous swoosh logo gives it the ability to branch out without coming up with a new concept.
With so many benefits, overlooking a trademark is disastrous. However, you need a lawyer to take care of the paperwork. The right trademark registration attorney provides these services:
- Just because you have a logo that's original doesn't mean it is trademarked. A good trademark lawyer knows how to research to see if you indeed have a logo that's appropriate for a trademark. Once the research is complete, they consult you on whether you should trademark and if the filing will be successful.
- Legal Counsel
- The USPTO website is a good start for trademark research. However, it's by no means comprehensive. If you have questions or concerns outside what the website teaches, it's best to consult a top trademark attorney. They have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions easily and professionally.
- Trademark Enforcement
- If you already have a trademark, it's up to you to enforce it. There's no legal body that checks for trademark infringement. If you believe that a rival company is using your trademark fraudulently, a trademark lawyer can give you advice on what action to take.
- Accusation of Trademark Infringement
- If another company accuses you of trademark infringement, it's an uphill legal battle. That's when you need an attorney that's familiar with the topic. Most often, you will receive a cease and desist letter. A trademark lawyer can analyze the letter and give you the best steps to take afterward.
How to Find the Best Lawyer
How to Find the Best Trademark Registration Lawyer
Registering your trademark as soon as possible is important. With the help of an attorney, you increase your chances of a successful filing by up to 50 percent. However, you need to find the best trademark registration lawyer available. When you're conducting your search, make sure the attorney has what you're looking for.
- Look for Experience
- This is probably the most integral asset of a trademark lawyer. Experience in registering trademarks, working with the USPTO, enforcing trademarks, defending against infringement, and evaluating trademark searches is something that an attorney must have. Industry experience is a nice addition, although it's not absolutely necessary.
- Do Your Research
- Just because an attorney has experience in trademark law doesn't automatically make them the ideal candidate. If you want evidence of their involvement in trademarks, always run the name through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Located on the USPTO website, this search allows you to search for a particular lawyer. Only then are you 100 percent sure of their experience in the industry.
- Find Out Which Services You Need
- Trademark law involves more than just filing, registration, and disputes. There are several other topics that require an attorney's advice. This includes:
- Application Preparation
- Trademark Clearance Searches
- Counterfeit and Online Infringement
- Cancellation and Opposition Proceedings
- Trademark Renewal
- Portfolio Management
- Change of Ownership
- Trademark law involves more than just filing, registration, and disputes. There are several other topics that require an attorney's advice. This includes:
You should also note that the USPTO doesn't offer a list or recommend trademark registration lawyers. If someone claims to have the recommendation of the USPTO, it's a red flag that they aren't being truthful. Instead, search on UpCounsel for lawyers that deal with trademark filings.
Questions to Ask a Lawyer
Questions to Ask a Trademark Registration Attorney
- Will you be handling my case?
- If you opt for a sole practitioner, chances are that the lawyer you talk to will handle every aspect of your trademark registration service. Larger firms don't always practice this. Many times they hand it off to junior attorneys or paralegals with little experience. That's why you need to ask. It's often the difference between correct filings or headaches in the future.
- How will you protect my trademark?
- Filing a trademark is the first step towards establishing a brand name. However, if the trademark isn't protected, it can lose its appeal and power. You may need to keep the attorney around following your trademark and asking how they intend to protect your trademark is vital. Making regular filings to prevent the USPTO from considering your trademark abandoned is one of the most crucial aspects of finding and retaining a lawyer. Make certain to check what their follow-up measures are.
- How will you monitor trademark infringement?
- After filing a trademark on your behalf, a top lawyer remains vigilant to make sure there are no infringement issues. The lawyer should constantly check to see if there are any new filings to the USPTO that are similar to your own. Without consistent monitoring, your trademark could lose value.
- How can I make a strong trademark?
- The best trademark lawyers will know what makes a strong or weak trademark. If you're not completely satisfied with your own work, you can call upon their experience to help you. As a general rule, the more concrete and specific your trademark, the more powerful it is. Generic logos or descriptions may not even be eligible for a trademark. That's when your attorney's experience pays dividends.
- Which trademark class should I choose?
- When registering a trademark, you must pick a class of goods or services. Picking the wrong one can leave your trademark vulnerable to competitors or render it useless. However, your business may fall into more than one category, making it even more confusing. An attorney knows which class is most beneficial and whether you should register for more than one.
- Which trademark specimen should I use?
- Along with choosing a class, you must pick a trademark specimen when you register. This indicates how you use your trademark when conducting business. This is slightly different from the logo itself. Rather than a drawing, it shows your trademark how it's used in packaging or a label. A solid trademark lawyer knows the best specimen for your trademark.
- How can I keep my trademark?
- Once you file for a trademark, your work isn't done, and neither is your attorney's job. A top trademark lawyer can easily explain how to keep your trademark and do the necessary filings. Maintenance documents are required between year five and year six of your registration, between the ninth and tenth years, and every 10 years afterward. The best trademark attorneys can help you file the paperwork on time and before the deadline, so you never fret about losing your trademark due to negligence.
- What are your fees and what do they include?
- For a basic trademark application and filing, most trademark attorneys impose a flat fee. However, it's important to ask as some may have hourly rates. These same hourly rates may also apply for trademark monitoring or other trademark services. Finding out what the flat fee covers and what falls under the hourly rate allows you to follow a strict budget.
- Do you offer a free consultation?
- Anything that's free is well worth the effort. Asking if they offer a free consultation allows you to ask questions of an expert without committing to anything. For the person that wants to do everything on their own, a free consultation is a definite advantage.
- How do you keep up with trends and changes in trademark law?
- Because laws and trends change over time, it's important to have a lawyer that stays abreast of current situations. By asking how they keep up-to-date on the latest trademark news, you can see if they have a proactive or reactive approach to their job. This can result in fresh ideas from lawyers or more convenient ways to handle any situation.
- Do you practice any other types of law?
- Finding out what type of law your potential attorney practices is integral to a good business relationship. If the lawyer is completely focused on trademark law, it's probably the best option. However, that doesn't mean it's the perfect fit. If they also offer services you need outside of trademark laws, it's nice to have a one-stop choice.
- Have you ever worked for the USPTO?
- It isn't 100 percent necessary to ask this question, but it's nice to know if your attorney ever worked for the USPTO. If they have, it gives them insight into the process, allowing them to jump any hurdles that may get thrown in the way.
- Have you ever argued a case in court?
- If you fear that your trademark may resemble another company's or you just want to make sure you have a person that will fight for you, knowing if they've ever argued a case is a great question. It lets you know if they'd be a solid choice if the worst should happen.
In order to properly register a trademark with the USPTO, an UpCounsel attorney must:
1. Conduct a trademark search for similar trademarks, goods, or services.
Before you file a trademark for your company name, logo, or slogan, your attorney will run a trademark search to make sure there is no existing trademark with a similar name and in a similar industry as yours.
If you’re not sure what industry you would operate in, you should do a trademark search for your major competitors and see in what industries they have their trademark's registered.
2. Determine the mark format.
There are three types of mark formats:
Standard Format - Used for the basic word, words or numbers of the mark. For example, if you have a standard mark format for "ThisNewCorp," you will be able to prevent someone from using a stylized "ThisNewCorp" in your industry.
Stylized/Design Format - This is the type of format you would use for marks that have a specific design element that you wish to protect.
Sound Marks - This is the type of format you would use for sounds which classify or symbolize the source of a good. One of the most famous examples of this would be the NBC chimes.
3. Determine the goods and services industry for your mark.
The goods and services industry class is a class number under which you will register your trademark which is based on the industry that most closely matches your company’s. Every class number that you register your trademark under is essentially like filing a new trademark. This means that you will have to pay for every class number you register under.
4. Determine the goods and service description for your mark.
This description is intended to describe all of the products or services that you wish to be covered by the product. While you should be broad with the description, it should not be too broad or else the USPTO will ask you to rewrite it (which may be months after you filed the trademark).
5. Fill out the online trademark application.
After determining the availability of your trademark name, the class number, and description, your attorney can begin the process of filing an online application. This in itself is a multi-step process.
Trademark registration costs start at $675 and are based on the following:
(1) The Number of Marks: Only one mark may be filed per trademark application. If you have multiple marks, they require separate applications, each with its own filing fee;
(2) Number of Classes: You must pay for each class of goods and/or services in the application.
For example, if the application is for one mark, but the mark is used on goods in two different classes, such as computer software in Class 9 and t-shirts in Class 25, then a filing fee for two classes is required before the application could be approved.
(3) The version of the form being used: See above. There are three possible filing fees for the USPTO. The application filing fee for the TEAS Plus version of the form is be $225 per class of goods and/or services but has the strictest requirements. The next level is the TEAS Reduced Fee filing option that is $275 per class of goods and/or services. The TEAS Regular filing option is $325 per class per class of goods and/or services.
What is the difference between a trademark, copyright, and patent?
A trademark is a word, symbol, logo, or other device that identifies and represents a company. A copyright is a type of protection afforded to many types of original works in literary, musical, and artistic form. A copyright will protect the original owner in the event that anyone else distributes, copies, displays, or performs the work without the owner’s consent. A patent is the protection afforded to the inventor of an invention in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.
Do I really need an attorney for filing a trademark?
Although an attorney is not required to file a trademark, it is highly recommended that you obtain legal counsel. There are many time-sensitive deadlines to be met and paperwork to be filed, that it could get a little complicated. Also, an attorney can help you do a comprehensive, thorough search for any similar trademarks to prevent you from the hassle of discovering one later on down the line. It’s important to keep in mind that filing fees are non-refundable as well, so it would be best to have an attorney help you file properly the first time around.
What are some reasons the USPTO might refuse a trademark?
A likelihood of confusion is one of the most common ways a trademark may be refused. The basic idea here is that the proposed trademark is so similar to an already registered trademark that it is probable that consumers will get the two products confused. Several elements must be met to prove that there is a likelihood of confusion including the similarity of the marks, the strength of the original mark, and evidence of any actual confusion, for example.
Some other reasons include: the mark being misdescriptive, the mark being geographically deceptive, or the marking being only ornamental.
What about international trademark registration?
A foreign trademark registration is necessary if you plan to sell internationally. Since trademarks are dealt with locally, you should file a trademark application in any country you believe will be a key market for your business.
What happens if someone uses my trademark without my permission?
This would be considered trademark infringement. In the event that your newly registered trademark may be infringed upon, our trademark attorneys can help draft and send a cease & desist trademark infringement letter and/or file suit to protect the mark against infringers.