Many legal experts will tell you that anyone can head to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website (or other online trademark services) and file for a trademark without any legal assistance. However, those same experts would also explain that there are specific “procedures and formatting requirements that you must follow, and you must choose the correct filing basis and description for your products or services. If your application is not prepared properly, it may be refused or delayed.” So, does that require a lawyer? Yes and no. There are further issues to consider, and for most, it pays to work with legal counsel.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Many people discover that it would be far better to sit down and consult with an experienced trademark attorney before, during and after the whole trademark registration process. Why? Some of the main reasons you will want to seek legal advice include:
- You discover that someone is using a trademark you already have, and doing so without permission. It is your responsibility to take action, and if you do not, it could be misconstrued as abandonment and forfeiture. Your attorney can file a lawsuit for this matter.
- You have questions that websites like that of the USPTO, or even online forums, fail to answer.
- You are responding to a refusal from the USPTO
- You have a trademark that could be easily confused with another, pre-existing mark or one with a pending application. If there is the likelihood of confusion between the two, a lawyer can help you decide whether or not to revise or even pull the application.
- You are going to file for foreign trademarks as well as those in the U.S., and you need someone expert in all facets of trademark law
- Someone is accusing you of infringing on their trademark, and you have a formal “cease and desist” letter. An attorney is essential at such times.
Work with Experts
Though many attorneys are willing to speak with those seeking trademarks, not all are conversant with the laws. If you are going to file a trademark in Chicago and you want to get off to the best and strongest start, you’ll want to work with experts in all areas of trademark law. Jayaram Law specializes in helping innovators to obtain trademarks and protect their intellectual and other properties.