Do You Need to Hire an Attorney for Federal Trademark Application in the USA?
Getting a trademark registered in the U.S. can give you and your business significant legal protection against infringement of your Intellectual Property Rights. It is an integral component of brand registration, which helps build confidence among the consumers. And therefore, you should take appropriate steps to protect your trademarks, such as hiring an attorney for federal trademark application and registration.
But the question arises – do you actually need a trademark attorney to represent you at the USPTO?
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, whether or not to hire a trademark attorney will depend on the location of your residence.
- If you are a trademark applicant or registrant, fully or partly domiciled in the U.S. or its territories, then you do not need an attorney. However, the USPTO still recommends hiring a lawyer who can guide you through the entire registration process.
- If you are a trademark applicant or registrant with a domicile outside the U.S. or its territories, it is mandatory to have an attorney represent you at the USPTO. If you are undergoing Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings, you must have a U.S.-licensed attorney to represent you.
What are the Advantages of Hiring an Attorney for Federal Trademark Application?
Whether or not you are domiciled in the U.S., hiring an experienced and licensed attorney can go a long way in helping you with the following:
- Providing expert legal advice about trademark registration
- Performing a comprehensive trademark clearance search before filing an application
- Helping prepare the application with the right information required
- Communicating with the USPTO for legal correspondence
- Maintaining and updating trademark rights
- Safeguarding against fraudulent solicitations
- Representing at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on your behalf
- Helping avoid the common mistakes when navigating the S. trademark law
Why You Must Hire a Licensed Trademark Attorney?
The USPTO mandates trademark applicants to have only a U.S.-licensed attorney to represent them. He or she should be an active member and in good standing of the highest court of any state or territory in the United States. Only they can represent an applicant for trademark application, registration, or Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings.
A non-licensed attorney may provide inaccurate legal advice and information about the federal trademark application and registration process in the U.S. Their inexperience and lack of in-depth knowledge of the U.S. trademark law may cause the application to be abandoned or rejected. In some cases, the legal validity of the application or trademark registration may be jeopardized and get canceled. Working with an unlicensed attorney may also extend the time taken to submit the application or process trademark registration.
The USPTO ensures that all regulations related to the U.S. copyright and trademark law must be followed diligently. Any unauthorized practice may cause the USPTO to reject your trademark application or cancel the legal validity of the trademark registration. Therefore, ensure you seek advice and get assistance from only an authorized law firm or attorney to represent you before the USPTO.
To abide by the USPTO’s regulations and Rules of Professional Conduct, ensure the attorney:
- Does not misrepresent the applicant’s statement or law to the United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Has the expertise and knowledge to represent you competently
- Provides expert consultation and keeps you in the loop concerning the status of the federal trademark application
How to Know If You Are Hiring a Legitimate Trademark Attorney?
There are many law firms and private companies offering legal services related to Intellectual Property Rights, copyrights, and trademarks. However, the USPTO considers such legal services legitimate only when they are provided by a U.S.-licensed attorney. However, many such companies do not work under the affiliation of licensed U.S. lawyers and are not eligible to provide such legal services lawfully. And there are others who provide dubious services, such as recording trademarks in private registries.
A trademark helps establish your business credibility and reputation, building consumer trust and confidence in your brand. And only a licensed & experienced lawyer can ensure your trademark is well protected. An attorney ensures a streamlined federal trademark application and registration process, and can also help you with TTAB proceedings. Hence, they are an investment worth considering.
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