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A trademark identifies goods or services, ensures the exclusive right of the owner to use it, and protects the trademark owner against unauthorized use of the trademark. The trademark also hinders unfair competition, such as counterfeiters producing and selling goods or services that closely resemble those trademarked by others.
Trademarks are registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in Washington D.C. for a fee and may be renewed indefinitely. The courts enforce trademark infringement.
Should I Hire a Trademark Attorney?
You do not need an attorney to register a trademark, but having an attorney experienced in trademark law and the application process do the work can prevent incomplete applications and unforeseen legal complications that you may not anticipate if you register the trademark yourself.
It is true that a Trademark Examining Attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will help people apply for a trademark but the examiner cannot by law give you legal advice.
What Does a Trademark Attorney Do?
In general, your trademark attorney will advise you about the use of trademarks, handle the trademark application process for you, and enforce your trademark if it is infringed.
Your trademark attorney will conduct an extensive search of federal and state trademark registrations and unregistered trademarks under common law to ensure the trademarked name or other identifier you want is not in use by someone else.
The database of trademarks maintained by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), only tracks trademarks that are federally registered.
The trademark search is a crucial step and a novice may not be able to conduct a search that is thorough. That could lead to trademark infringement and legal defense costs.
In the trademark application process, your trademark attorney can do all the paperwork and protect your rights. For example, your trademark attorney may help you to better identify your product or change the identification enough so it is not confused with a similar trademark name.
If the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examining attorney denies your trademark application, or revokes your trademark, your trademark attorney can challenge the examiner’s decision.