How to Find a Trademark Lawyer – NerdWallet

A trademark is a discussion, symbol, phrase or purpose, such as a logo, that identifies your business ’ south goods or services and distinguishes them from competitors — and the best room to protect your hallmark is by registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ( USPTO ). While it ’ s potential to register a brand on your own, most businesses — particularly those registering a brand for the first time, are represented by a hallmark lawyer. here ‘s how to find a capital hallmark lawyer, including some advice on how to get free legal help for a hallmark application.

What a trademark lawyer can help you with

The trademark registration process, specially for a first-time applicant, can be long and confusing. There are many deadlines to follow, and if you make a error with your application, the USPTO will not refund your registration fees. For this rationality, it ’ mho wise to hire a reputable hallmark lawyer.

A trademark lawyer can help you navigate the registration process and handle the pursuit :

  • Conducting a hallmark search to determine if your brand is unique and can be registered with the USPTO .
  • Responding to USPTO parallelism or objections to your application from the trademark examining lawyer .
  • Filing for a alien hallmark and understand alien trademark laws .
  • Taking action if you believe person else is using your trademark without your license ( called trademark misdemeanor ) .
  • Defending yourself and your business if you ’ re accused of infringing person else ’ randomness trademark .

Should you decide to hire a lawyer to help you with your brand file, there are multiple places to find a adept brand lawyer.

How to find a trademark lawyer

If you ’ d like a lawyer to help you with a brand publish, you ’ ll indigence more than an ordinary business lawyer. You ’ ll need a consecrated trademark or intellectual place lawyer, person with specialize expertness to see your brand adjustment or dispute through to a successful completion.

1. Referrals from other small-business owners

Your colleague small-business owners are much the best path to a great lawyer. If another business successfully registered their hallmark or cover with another trademark issue through the help of a hallmark lawyer, ask for contact information and make an appointee. Don ’ t inevitably assume they ’ ll be qualified or uncoerced to help you. For exemplar, if they specialize in a certain diligence or if your sheath is more complicate, the lawyer may decline. But, it ’ s a good locate to start.

2. Business conferences and events

business attorneys are frequently invited to attend business conferences or to speak at such events. If you attend a spill on IP issues or trademarks, or if you mingle with a hallmark lawyer during a meet and greet, get their business card and make an date for a consultation late. If you get accepted into a startup incubator, that ’ s another avenue to finding a trustworthy lawyer. just keep in mind that the application process for incubators is highly competitive, and technical school startups are often preferred.

3. Bar associations

department of state and local legal profession associations often have lawyer referral services where you can find lawyers practicing in specific areas. These include both on-line directories and call numbers you can call to get a referral to a brand lawyer.

4. Online legal services

These days, lots of legal help is available on-line. respective on-line legal services can match you up to a brand lawyer near you, and some will provide legal aid on hallmark issues for a gloomy, pay back price. here ’ s a look at some of the sites that can help :

  • LegalZoom : This is a low, fixed-cost option for brand search, registration and monitoring. Prices start at $ 199 for basic services. If you sign up for LegalZoom ‘ s monthly plan, it will besides connect you to a local lawyer who can respond to USPTO actions on your behalf .
  • Rocket Lawyer : Rocket Lawyer will connect you to a local anesthetic lawyer who can help you with trademark search and the registration procedure .
  • UpCounsel : UpCounsel is a big choice for more complex cases ( e.g. charge for multiple trademarks or appealing a refusal of registration ). On its web site, you can summarize your legal interrogate or problem, and UpCounsel will match you with an experience lawyer in its net .

Online legal services like these have made it much easier to find low-cost legal aid for about every part of running your business, including trademarks. precisely be certain to confirm an lawyer ’ sulfur license and check out reviews from past clients before any lawyer begins representing you.

Free legal help

The resources above are great if you have a budget for a lawyer or legal services, but you might not be so golden. possibly you ’ re not profitable yet or you ’ re a brand-new occupation that ’ sulfur precisely trying to get off the crunch. Did you know that dislodge legal aid may be available ? Since registering a trademark is such a complicated action, assorted organizations provide pro bono aid for small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers. If you ’ re in a creative industry, like music or arts, free aid is even more widely available.

Law school clinics

many law schools have clinics that focus on intellectual property matters, which can be a big resource for minor businesses. law students enrolled in these clinics can file trademark applications and appear at USPTO proceedings on behalf of small-business clients and entrepreneurs who can not afford expensive legal guidance. The students work under the supervision of a law professor or more feel attorneys. hera ’ s a number of law schools that have IP clinics recognized by the USPTO. Just remember that these are law students who don ’ t have a set of know under their belt. If a scholar international relations and security network ’ thymine equipped to handle your case, the law professor or lawyer who is overseeing the case will recommend that you secure outside legal representation.

American Bar Association’s pro bono directory

The American Bar Association ( ABA ) has an on-line directory for minor businesses that are looking for loose legal help on trademark issues. not all states are represented, but the largest states are. The directory lists lawyers and law firms that provide brand services for free or at a low cost. Some of the firms focus chiefly on helping musicians and artists. In most cases, individuals and businesses need to fall below a certain income doorsill to qualify for spare or low-cost help.

International Trademark Association Pro Bono Clearinghouse

The International Trademark Association ’ s ( INTA ) Pro Bono Clearinghouse was created to help low-income individuals and nonprofits and charitable organizations with gloomy operating budgets get free legal representation on trademark issues. If you ’ re able to demonstrate a fiscal necessitate, the INTA will try to match you up to a lawyer or police firm that is a member of INTA and who can help you free of charge.

6 questions to ask a trademark lawyer

once you use the channels above to make a short list of lawyers, how do you choose which hallmark lawyer will be the best partner for you and your business ? It ’ south authoritative to choose wisely because getting a trademark can be a retentive march, taking six months to one year on average, and the function international relations and security network ’ t very over even after you secure the hallmark. You or your lawyer will besides want to keep monitoring the brand subsequently to make certain no one else is using it without your license.

1. How much do trademark attorneys charge?

Trademark attorneys can charge around $ 500 to $ 2,000 for the full trademark application process and an extra $ 400- $ 500 if any delays or disputes arise in your encase. In addition to the fees charged by the trademark lawyer, you ’ ll have to pay several hundred dollars in politics file fees. The fee will depend on the succeed factors :

  • The number of marks you are registering .
  • The results of your initial hallmark search .
  • How promptly you ’ d like to register your hallmark .
  • Whether your application is granted or denied by the USPTO .
  • Whether you ’ d like your mark monitored once it ’ sulfur registered ( to ensure other companies aren ’ triiodothyronine using it ) .
  • Whether you use the lawyer to help you maintain and renew your hallmark .

Make certain that your fee arrangement is in writing and that you understand precisely what you ’ ll be expected to pay. And remember, you may be able to save money by finding pro bono legal help or by using fixed-fee on-line legal services like Rocket Lawyer or LegalZoom, both options mentioned above.

2. Do you have any experience in my industry?

Industry-level cognition can be helpful when registering a raw trademark. The trial for hallmark eligibility is whether there ’ s a “ likelihood of confusion ” between your sign and another mark. If there ’ s a like logo or distinguish being used by one of your competitors, the likelihood of confusion is high. In other words, two restaurants using the like hallmark is probably to cause more confusion than a restaurant and a doctor ’ second function using the same mark. A lawyer who has deep cognition of your diligence is, therefore, better than one who is unfamiliar with the type of work you do. In addition, if you ’ re in a creative business, like music, art or plan, there may be different rules about when something qualifies as a singular trademark. For exercise, there are stricter rules for registering the appoint of a musical set or a birdcall lyric than registering a simpleton service or merchandise brand.

3. What’s your level of experience?

You should ask this question of any lawyer who is representing you for any reason. however, a brand application can be peculiarly complicated and sets in motion several deadlines and requirements that you need to comply with to successfully register your trademark. Don ’ triiodothyronine look for a general commercial enterprise lawyer — look for a trademark lawyer who has experience in :

  • Conducting a comprehensive trademark search .
  • Registering hundreds, even thousands, of trademarks successfully in the past .
  • Responding to oppositions from the USPTO in case you ’ re required to provide extra information or your application is denied .
  • Dealing with litigation and other methods of resolving trademark disputes, such as mediation and arbitration ( if you ’ re hiring a trademark lawyer because you believe person has infringed on your trademark ) .
  • Understanding alien brand law if you ’ re plan to do occupation outside the United States .

4. What is your trademark search process like?

Out of all parts of the trademark registration work, the partially that could “ make or break ” your case is the trademark search. This is when the lawyer searches for other trademarks that could be found bewilderingly similar to yours. It ’ s a common reason that brand applications are rejected. Most brand attorneys search the government database, but there are early places to search for trademarks, including the app store, websites and “ common law ” databases for trademarks. Common law trademarks are trademarks that seaport ’ t been registered with the politics, but they may inactive enjoy legal auspices simply because they are actively being used to identify goods and services. A good lawyer will besides check state-level and local-level trademark databases. Make certain your brand lawyer knows how to conduct a comprehensive trademark search at the beginning of the adjustment process.

5. Who will be working on my case?

When you hire an lawyer to work on your case, you besides basically hire the rest of their team. This includes law clerks, paralegals, legal secretaries and business partners, all of whom may work on your subject. Some attorneys delegate a meaning collocate of work to clerks or paralegals, and this can cause errors on your brand application. Ask what work will be delegated, whether the lawyer independently reviews all work completed by paralegals and secretaries, and what the lawyer will handle on their own.

6. How will you communicate with me about my case?

Make sure the lawyer will keep you up to date about the progress of your case and that they know your preferable method of communication — call or e-mail. normally, the case will begin with an initial in-person reference, but that ’ s the only time you may see the lawyer ( specially if your subject is pretty straightforward ). But if you do need to contact the lawyer, make sure you know how to reach them on abruptly notice. A translation of this article was first base published on Fundera, a auxiliary of NerdWallet .

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