Since the practice of modern trademark law began in the U.S. in the early 19th century, the industry has seen a variety of changes and evolutionary advancements. Most significant of these in the last 15 years has been the proliferation of the Internet and its resources. Today, numerous services exist that allow a trademark owner to file their own applications without the help of an attorney. While at first glance this type of service seems to offer the owner greater opportunity at a lower cost, there are a few caveats to consider.
1. Hidden fees
Many of these services publish a packaged price for the registration service, However, trademark applications are more than just completing fields on a form, and anything outside the most basic of application often involves additional, higher-priced fees, which are required to actually complete and register your mark.
2. Legal terminology.
Self-filing seems to be a time-saver, until you’re buried in the legalese of the industry. While you can research the meaning of a term, understanding how that area of law might affect another area of your application is not something you’ll find in an online search result. The time spent in researching and interpreting (or misinterpreting) information for your trademark filing often negates the savings for hiring professional assistance.
3. Managing rejections.
Often, a brand owner will start the trademark application process, submitting the filing and presuming all is done. However after a few months, the Trademark Office issues a communication. Some of these are requests for more information or are a rejection of the application. Responses to communications must be done by deadlines set by the Trademark Office, or all rights may be forfeited. In some cases, a mistake has been made that cannot be resolved without filing a new application, if at all. This may have a negative impact on your business and expose you to legal liability.
Despite the apparent ease of DIY filing, trademark law is complex. Without an understanding of the rules, a brand owner may expend significant resources for very little benefit. For these reasons, consider working with an experienced trademark attorney who can actually save your business time and money in the long run, while providing the best possible protection for your mark.