Best Trademark Attorney
When attempting to protect your trademark, failing to seek out the best trademark attorney can have significant repercussions. Any trademark attorney that you use should have a long track record of success. Unfortunately, many individuals realize this only after they’ve wasted time and money – or even lost exclusive rights over their trademark.
We are highly experienced trademark attorneys and can ensure your application, infringement issue, or litigation matter are handled correctly the first time.
Why to Seek the Best Trademark Attorney
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) states that hiring the best trademark attorney isn’t required to protect your brand, however their guidelines do say that they “strongly encourage [IP owners] to hire a U.S.-licensed attorney who specializes in trademark law to guide [them] through the registration process.”
Unlike other areas of the law, trademark rights are an ongoing legal process. Obtaining registration, submitting documentation detailing use in commerce, defending your logo in court and other necessary actions are just single aspects of a continuing strategy to protect your brand.
Performing Trademark Searches
Prior to trademark registration, you’ll first need to verify that something similar isn’t already in use. This may seem simple if you’re looking to trademark a phrase or other verbiage that could be found through a basic word search. Many people who opt to submit their own applications learn too late, though, that even the USPTO’s own website isn’t exhaustive.
A trademark lawyer can conduct a thorough trademark search on your behalf. In addition to properties listed in the federal register, a full clearance will seek out common law trademarks and other usage that could prevent your ability to secure nationwide protection. This is known as doing your due diligence and will help avoid potential future trademark litigation.
Searches conducted by a trademark attorney will find any possible usage conflicts or likelihood of confusion that may exist. This has the potential of helping you avoid giving accidental public notice – when filing an application – that your company has been infringing upon a federally protected brand identifier.
During Trademark Registration
The registration process is another important period when a trademark lawyer can prove vital. Once you submit an application, it can take four months before an examiner even conducts a review. If a mistake has been made in your application an office action will issue.
An Office Action will detail the problems that your trademark application faces. This could be something as simple as failing to completely fill out a section or a serious problem like your trademark being merely descriptive or likely to be confused with a prior trademark. This begins a process that could result in your application being denied if the examining attorney’s concerns aren’t properly addressed.
Mistakes during registration will extend the process and require more work at a minimum. In a worst-case scenario, your application could be outright denied and marked dead. The best trademark attorney for you will have at least 10 years of experience filing trademark applications, so they can avoid the most common mistakes made by self-registrants. Legal assistance is also helpful if a Notice of Opposition is filed after you’ve received approval for publication.
Trademark Infringement Issues
Federal registration is meant to protect your trademark from potential misuse, but the government puts the onus of policing violations on the owners themselves. This means it’s up to you to monitor and appropriately respond to trademark infringement. This can prove nearly impossible to those without a legal background.
This is why trademark attorneys use trademark monitoring services to identify misuse and then take prompt action to defend your rights. This can identify infringement even if it is not yet widespread. Catching violations early is imperative since failure to respond can result in trademark abandonment.
The best trademark attorney will also have extensive experience in litigation. If a trademark cease and desist letter fails to end violations, a legal professional can hold infringers financially and legally accountable. Although many defendants never show up to court – with nearly 85 percent of monetary judgments being handed down by default – having a trademark lawyer who has been through the entire trademark litigation process is essential.
When Your Rights Are Attacked
If a third party believes your registration would negatively impact them they can attempt to prevent your trademark entirely. There are several methods for doing this:
- Letter of Protest
- Trademark Opposition
- Trademark Cancelation
Each of these processes can end with an application being rejected or an approved trademark being removed from the federal register. A Letter of Protest is typically sent before a trademark application is ever published for opposition. This letter gives the USPTO examiner additional information which could impact their final decision on whether to approve the application.
A Trademark Opposition, on the other hand, needs to be filed during the 30-day opposition period after notice of publication in the Official Gazette. An extension in time to file this notice can be requested. A Trademark Cancellation is similar to an opposition, but it is submitted after you receive federal registration.
If a Petition to Cancel is filed, it will land you before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). In any instance, an experienced attorney can review the issues at hand and prepare the best case possible to protect your trademark rights.
Even if the registration process goes smoothly and no one ever infringes upon your brand, there are still instances when finding a good trademark attorney will come in handy. This is particularly the case during USPTO required maintenance periods.
Five to six years following Registration, a Section 8 trademark renewal must be filed. This informs the USPTO that your trademark has had continued use in commerce over the years. A section 15 for incontestability should also be filed at this time.
At the 10-year mark following registration, you’ll need to file a Section 9 renewal. Another declaration of use needs to be filed at this point, and both forms will have to be submitted every ten years following that point.
If you don’t file these in a timely manner, fail to show actual use in commerce or make other mistakes during this process, you trademark will abandon.
Benefits of a Trademark Lawyer
In addition to making the aforementioned processes simpler and avoiding common mistakes, though, these legal professionals also provide the following benefits:
- Can properly respond to trademark trolls.
- Can handle domain name disputes.
- Will respond to digital issues (e.g. Amazon trademark infringement).
- Monetary savings (e.g. avoiding costly litigation or loss of rights).
- Provide guidance on when legal responses to infringement are necessary.
- Instruct on methods of making currently-unregistrable properties registrable.
- Better approval odds (Studies show a 50 percent higher chance of trademark approval).
- Avoidance of potential conflicts with other trademark owners.
- Infringers take trademark owners represented by lawyer more seriously.
Choosing the Best Trademark Attorney
There are a variety of considerations for everyone to take into account when seeking out the best trademark attorney. Experience matters in every area of the law, but if your legal representative makes a single mistake regarding intellectual property, you could lose years of brand building and untold amounts of profit.
Always consider the following factors when deciding upon a trademark lawyer:
Trademark litigation isn’t always necessary. If an issue can satisfactorily be settled outside of court, it’s typically best to do so. Even with this being the case, you always want your attorney to have extensive experience with litigation.
In fact, it’s a good idea to seek out aggressive litigators. These are legal professionals who have no qualms about going to court if their client isn’t getting a fair deal. Even if a case ends up being settled, it’s better to have the threat of an experienced litigator and not need them than to wish you had selected the best trademark attorney from the outset. Do your best to find a law firm that represents national brands. This means they have both the infrastructure and experience to handle any trademark issue.
It’s vital that you never overlook Trademark Trial and Appeal Board experience when choosing a trademark lawyer. There about 6,000 oppositions filed each year and this had consistently increased over time. We have handled hundreds of these types of cases.
If you are seeking the best trademark attorney, we can assist. Please contact us today.