One of my professional goals for this year is to get trademarked. I've seen this as a pretty hot topic around the blogosphere lately and it seems to be on a lot of to-do lists this year. One thing I'm unsure of as I start to look into this is whether or not I need a trademark search attorney? It's awfully expensive for me, but I don't know how to navigate all the legal mumbo jumbo. I want it done right, but I don't want to go broke doing it either.
A trademark is an important step in protecting your brand name. It's definitely a process, so you have a pending trademark until everything is approved, then your name is registered. Company names are not the only thing that can be registered, you can also trademark logos and phrases. Trademark is meant to be a sign to consumers that products or services belong to that particular company. To protect names, phrases, and images from being used by others as their own or in an attempt to confuse consumers (trying to look too much alike to make them think you are them, for example) you have to file.
When to Trademark?
Most would say sooner rather than later. The tricky part is making sure that you are not infringing upon a registered trademark yourself! The registered databases are available to the public for searching; however, an attorney may be needed to interpret the results of the trademark search. Besides deciphering the results, they would be able to help prevent you from having to pay fees and damages for infringing on someone else's mark by showing that you did your best to ensure no one else had registered that mark in your area. From what I read, it does look like the sooner the better since, depending where you are, trademark “first to file” is considered when issues of infringement arise.
How to Trademark?
This is the part I'm still looking into. Do I need an attorney? Can I do it myself? How do I file? Where do I file?
These are questions you probably have as well and hopefully we can find some answers to guide us without it costing an arm and a leg and a toe! I at least know there is paperwork to file and a fee…
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time in writing this post.
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