A trademark is a particular form of intellectual property, distinct from copyrights and patents. It refers to any sign that indicates to which commercial company a product belongs. It can be a specific word, symbol, logo, or even a particular sound. Trademarks distinguish one product from other similar ones so that people can remember the business’s brand and quality.

Trademarks also protect the proprietor from people using the identity of the goods and services; the exclusive right to use the trademark rests on the proprietor alone. Essentially, they are valuable commercial property that can be licensed and franchised. Trademark rights can either be valid only in the country of registration or have international coverage and are renewable after a certain number of years.

Because trademark involves property, there can be several disputes concerning imitation or bootlegging. Proprietors then seek protection and representation with lawyers specializing in trademark law. So what exactly do these lawyers do?

What does a trademark attorney do?

Chartered trademark attorneys are qualified to give trademark legal advice concerning trademark law. They can also help you apply for trademark registrations and represent you with issues concerning intellectual property offices.

Here are other functions performed by trademark attorneys in registering a trademark:

• Ensure the client’s chosen trademark is available for registration

• Represent the client in the registration process

• Manage trademark portfolios for multiple clients

• Provide advice on the sustainability of trademark protection

• Handle licenses and assignment agreements

In terms of conflicts, a trademark attorney can also represent you during a trademark dispute. They are obligated to handle legal proceedings to protect you and your trademark from other people that may want to register an identical one and enforce your trademark rights over the infringement. Often these commercial disputes are handled during negotiations between both parties, with court litigation being the last resort.

What should I ask a trademark attorney?

Do you need a trademark attorney? The short answer is yes. You can technically skip legal services and fees by applying to the patent and trademark office online and practicing caution against infringement by looking up an online trademark database. You could, but chances are the trademark office won’t grant you the trademark.

Having a trademark attorney increases the legitimacy of your application and grants you a higher chance of approval. Most small business owners don’t have the time to self-learn everything about trademark and intellectual property law, and a trademark attorney’s job goes beyond simply filing your application.

Therefore, working with the proper trademark attorney is crucial so that it won’t cost you more. Create a list of potential attorneys that you may know around your area. Here are questions you can ask the trademark attorneys to see if they’re the right fit:

How experienced are you in dealing with trademark law?

Attorneys specialize in different fields, so it’s crucial to hire one with relevant trademark law experience. Find someone familiar with the technicalities involved in the registration and clearance process and understand the specific requirements depending on the scope of your trademark’s coverage.

What is a trademark, and why would I want a registered one?

Even if you know the gist of what a trademark is, a specialist should be able to give you a thorough explanation of what it is, how it works, its technicalities, as well as the potential risks involved. A reasonable trademark attorney should be able to convince you about the benefits of registering your trademark by educating you about the dangers of unregistered trademarks.

What are the risks involved in trademark registration?

If they have enough experience, a trademark lawyer should foresee the potential risks once you consult with them about your chosen trademark. If the trademark accidentally infringes another trademark or is too generic or borderline insulting/derogatory, your lawyer may explain the difficulty in defending it. In this case, you can ask for help with choosing another trademark.

How does the trademark registration process work?

A trademark attorney should first walk you through the whole process of registering a trademark before you make a final decision. You ought to know their routine of handling client requirements, such as what databases they use to assess the availability and risk of your chosen trademark symbol.

Additionally, they should inform you about the cost of trademark registration. Filing fees differ depending on the type of application, so you should already know beforehand.

Again, a trademark lawyer’s job does not end at the registration process. Your lawyer ought to explain how to file maintenance documents while your trademark is applicable. In cases of protecting your trademark, a trademark lawyer will represent you against infringers.