When starting a business, one of the topmost priorities for every business owner is – How can I protect my brand? The answer is to trademark your business. Your primary preference should be protecting your intellectual property! It is a fact that having a trademark for your business could heavily influence your customer’s buying decisions. Trademarks are pivotal as they represent your business, reputation, brand, and emotions. And your business trademark will add value to your brand and profit in the future.
Now, How to protect your trademark? You can register for a trademark on your own in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, trademark lawyers usually represent first-time business owners. The trademark registration process can be long and confusing for someone new to this side of the field. There are a bunch of laws and deadlines to follow, plus if there is a mistake in a registration application – the USPTO might reject your application without refunds.
The process can be overwhelming, and the best way is to hire a trademark lawyer who would help you with registration work and the future of your business. Nevertheless, when you look for a lawyer, you will come across different services and choices with a wide range of prices. How to know and compare which trademark lawyer service is the best fit for your expectations and budget? To solve this doubt – here are seven tips for finding the best trademark lawyer for your business.
Where to start the search?
The first step to trademark your business is to find the right lawyer or law service. There are various ways you can find right lawyers –
- You can reach out to your friends, family, or any other business owners for referrals. The advantage is that you know another business successfully registered their trademark or have dealt with their trademark issues.
- You can join business conferences where there are all sorts of business lawyers or attorneys with whom you can interact and consult.
- You can go to the state or local bar associations.
- Get online legal services.
How much experience do they have?
Once you have established the service of your choice, the next thing is to know what kind of expertise they have in dealing with the trademark registration process. While most lawyers will understand the registration process, fewer will be familiar with technical details involving search and clearance processes.
You need to find someone who can a) Search for new and available marks on your behalf; b) Understand high-risk factors that are part of the trademark process; c) Understand requirements involved in international marketplace registrations; d) Knows how to handle invalidations, revocations, and oppositions; e) It would be best if they have previous experiences with businesses similar to you.
How much do they charge?
The trademarking process might cost you hefty amounts depending upon whom you decide to hire. Various firms and lawyers will charge you more or less for each step involved in the trademarking process. They might charge you on hourly or on how many days it took to register the trademark on your name. Make sure you inquire about the fees for services like trademark application, additional searches, and for monitoring your registered trademarks.
For the full trademark application process, the charges are around $500 to $2000 and additional charges for any delays or disputes. Apart from the lawyer’s fees, you will have to pay several hundred dollars for the government filling process.
What things can they trademark?
Knowing options from your future lawyer will open many potential trademarking opportunities. Ask them what things they can trademark from your business – they can provide you with examples and experiences which might be beneficial for the brand.
You might get new ideas for your business in the related industry niche. These may be things like how to trademark a phrase, company name, service names, product name, and taglines. It will deepen your relationship with the trademark lawyer, and they will know your expectations.
What trademark search process they follow?
Trademark search is the most crucial phase of the whole trademarking process. It is the most decisive process on which your case either fails or succeeds. It happens when a lawyer searches for other trademarks that are similar to yours and causes confusion; without any solutions, your application might get rejected. That is the reason you might want to know their trademark search process.
You have to inquire if they search in a) Common law databases; b) Government databases; c) App store databases; d) Regions outside of the country. A skilled trademark lawyer will know how to check all trademark databases comprehensively apart from the registration process.
Will they take part in every trademarking process?
The trademarking process is essential for your business, and you are paying the lawyer or firm with hefty amounts of money to work on the whole process. It may come as a surprise to you; lawyers or firms often delegate paperwork and draft language duties to non-legal personnel (interns, etc.). This action may impact the results of your trademark registration.
We can understand that lawyers might be extremely busy with other clients, but it is expected that they can earnestly oversee these duties. That is why you need to ask them about their involvement in the whole trademarking process.
How will you and your business profit from their services?
It is an undeniable truth that proper legal advice isn’t cheap, and on the other hand, bad ones are very easy to find. To make out of every penny, you spend to know more about their other services and if they can avail them in the present or for the future. Good lawyers always bring sources to various opportunities to your doors.
Ask them about other legal professionals and other lawyers for any particular legal pieces of advice. Know if they have connections with trade associations, where you can have benefits. Since businesses are always about opportunities, feel free to ask about any potential customers, clients, or partners.
You have spent so much energy, emotions, money and days building your business; it is your right to protect it at all costs. It is okay if you don’t find a favorable lawyer from day one, it will take time to build a good connection with one. Don’t forget to ask your doubts and questions; you might not know everything about laws and have paid a lot for the services. Be sure to take as many interviews as possible and choose the one who fits your business goals the best.