What Does a Trademark Attorney Do?

by Zach Stevens

A trademark attorney is your go-to for everything related to trademarks. Whether you need help with a comprehensive search, an application process, legal advice, trademark filing, or taking action against someone infringing on your brand and copyright rights—a good lawyer will be there every step of the way!

Trademark Attorneys Help You Avoid Plagiarism

attorney ensuring trademark protectionThe most simple and sure-fire way to avoid plagiarism and stay within the bounds of intellectual property law when it comes to your branding is by getting trademark registration with the USPTO (The United States Patent and Trademark Office).

A trademark attorney can help you perform a trademark search and application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). When it comes to the legality of trademarks, an experienced trademark lawyer is capable of performing a thorough investigation on your behalf. Due diligence in this matter is extremely important because it means the difference between paying a little or a lot for a simple mistake in your trademark applications. If you don’t want to shell out unnecessary money that could be used elsewhere then hiring a trademark lawyer is an option worth considering.

Not only will they do most of the legwork for you regarding your intellectual property rights but they’ll also guide you through any mistakes and provide assistance when necessary until you have your official registered trademark.

There are many steps required throughout this process but all of them are meant for ensuring that a brand’s integrity remains intact. A trademark application can be difficult given how many brands there are on today’s market, but help from an attorney will make things easier as they conduct thorough searches in order create something unique just like you want!

Trademark Attorneys Understand the Purpose of Trademark Law

trademark ownerA trademark is a form of intellectual property and can apply to anything involving “marks”—symbols, slogans or phrases that identify the source of good or service. Companies often register their company name as well as product packaging designs with this law in mind because it protects them from counterfeit products which may be confusing for customers who think they are getting an authentic product when actually receiving something fake!

The purpose of trademark law is to prevent unfair competition and theft of intellectual property. This can be done by applying tests for consumer confusion, as well as putting in place rights that owners have against infringement with their trademarks if it does happen. Trademark laws maintain US integrity through ensuring each trademark has its own level of uniqueness amongst other brands/products which leads not only an unacceptably high amount but also very distinguishable branding from competitors who may want to steal or copy one’s ideas without permission.

Trademark Attorneys Can Help You Get the Most Protection from Your Trademark

Trademark attorneys are there to provide legal services and help you through the trademark application process. They can also represent you in court when it comes to dealing with potential infringers, and even help protect your trademark rights against unauthorized people who may have otherwise taken advantage of borrowing an idea without permission. Trademark attorneys are your go-to legal team for all things related to trademarks so take full advantage of their expertise!

Trademark attorneys can also help you refine or improve your mark to get it more protection than it otherwise would have had.

Trademark law is a spectrum, with different levels of protection for trademarks based on where they fall. This is known as the “spectrum of distinciveness”, and it means not all trademarks are created equal.

The following is a list of trademark categories starting at zero protection and ending at the highest level of protection possible:

Generic Marks—The common name for your product/service—This gives you zero protection.
Descriptive Marks—Mere descriptions of your product/service—Some protection is possible for Descriptive Marks.
Suggestive Marks—A name or phrase that suggests your product/service—These get moderate protection.
Arbitrary Marks—A completely arbitrary name with no intrinsic ties to your product/service (think: Apple Computers)—These get a higher level of protection.
Fanciful Marks—These are completely made-up names, phrases, or symbols that represents products/services (think: Xerox Computers)—These get the highest level of protection possible.

 

The Spectrum of distinctiveness

Generic marks get zero protection while fanciful ones are given the highest level of security. Marks that fall in the categories between them will vary depending on where they fall along this spectrum of distinctiveness.

Trademark Attorneys Can Handle Every Step of the Trademark Registration Process

Trademark registration application, from beginning to end, progresses along the following steps:

1- Creating your mark.

This involves conceptualizing the name, phrase, logo, symbol, device or other source identifier for your products/services. The idea here is that by creating a unique name/symbol for your brand, you will be able to better protect it from becoming diluted down the road.

2- Doing a trademark search.

It is critically important to conduct a thorough trademark research before you begin the application process. Your trademark attorney can help you with this, using their expertise of knowing which symbols are more likely to be registered and which are more likely to be denied based on things like likelihood of confusion or dilution.

Ultimately, it’s best not have that many gray areas when it comes down to receiving your USPTO registration for your mark—you want something solid.

This process takes about 1-2 weeks on average.

3- Filling out an application.

A properly filled out USPTO form will provide the utmost in legal protection for your products/services while also providing convenience for future registrations should you need them. By filling out the required forms correctly, you better protect yourself against someone else trying to register the same or similar marks.

It’s also more convenient, time-efficient, and financially responsible to ensure your trademark application is filled out correctly the first time, rather than having to pay for redo fees.

Getting your trademark application submitted is a win in itself, but just keep in mind that it usually takes at least 3 months before a trademark examining attorney at the USPTO even takes a look at your application.

4- Approval and publication

After the usual 3 month waiting period, your mark is either approved or rejected. If your mark is approved, it’s published in the Official Gazette within 2 months of approval.

This gives other people 30 days to object to your trademark application, which basically means they can voice their concerns about why this trademark shouldn’t be allowed to exist. If someone objects during that timeframe, you’ll most likely have to reach a settlement with that person or re-file your application for it to proceed forward.

Note: You can request an extension of time before publication if you need more than 30 days after approval to respond.

This may involve the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAP)—The TTAB is a body that decides on behalf of two parties in dispute, namely oppositions and cancellations. They also handle interference cases as well appeals from final refusals issued by USPTO Trademark Examining Attorneys during the prosecution process for trademark applications alone.

The Board will hear your case if you have any questions about what they can do or how to proceed with it.

Your trademark attorney can represent you before the board and get you the best deal if someone does challenge your mark.

5- Finalization

If there are no objections during the 30 day period after publication, then congratulations! Your mark has been successfully registered and protected under US law against infringement.

The New Role of US Trademark Attorneys for Non-US Citizens Seeking to Register Their Trademarks With the USPTO

Global Online MapMany non-US citizens look to register their trademarks with the USPTO. Now it’s possible for them to get protection for their trademark without having a physical presence within the US.

That said, effective as of August 3, 2019, non-US patent agents no longer have the authority to represent their clients before US entities like the USPTO. All applicants doing business with these governments will need a US trademark attorney.

Trademark registration is a billion dollar industry and the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has to be on top of its game. They provide important services for trademark owners, like maintaining accurate records that help businesses make legal decisions regarding their brands and ensuring they are in compliance with the law.

For years, the United States has been struggling with an increasing number of foreign-based trademark registrants who are not in compliance.

For this reason, all non-US citizens wishing to register their marks with the USPTO must have the representation of a US trademark attorney in order to do so.

A US trademark attorney can guide you through all possible options when choosing a mark. They will ensure that the mark clearly states what products or services fall under its protection and help you avoid any legal issues with other brands.

A US trademark attorney will determine if your proposed trademark is legally protectable. If it isn’t, they are able to provide you with directions on how to proceed before filing for a federal trademark application.

More information in the following video:

Conclusion

US trademark attorney shaking hands with clientTrademark attorneys understand trademark law and can handle all aspects trademark registration from start to finish.

Trademark attorneys can perform a comprehensive trademark search to ensure that your mark is not confusingly similar to another mark, or help you modify your mark so that it has a greater chance of being registered and will get the most protection it can.

A trademark attorney can play an important role in the legal proceedings that decide whether or not you are allowed to use your trademark and in this way they can be extremely helpful to any brand owner.

Whether you’re filing an application for the first time or defending yourself against an opposition, a US trademark attorney can help you understand all aspects of the litigation process and ensure that your rights are defended in the most effective way possible.

Agent/Attorney International Trademarks

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