Things every client should know about trademarks
Can you “trademark it yourself”?
Yes. Generally speaking, in the United States, every citizen has the right to represent himself or herself in most kinds of legal proceedings.
However, most trademark attorneys recommend against the practice. Why? Because the preparation of an effective trademark application is a legal task that takes years to master. Why? Because the legal issues implicated in the process of defining the mark and the goods and services to which it relates (and positioning it for licensing and / or litigation) are both broad and deep.
Evidence on this point is everywhere. Numerous court decisions comment on how challenging the preparation of an effective trademark application can be. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s publicly issued regulations, as well, support the proposition. For example, the U.S. P.T.O. Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure, the regulatory “Bible” of trademark – related regulations which both Examiners and practitioners consult for guidance, runs to approximately 1,000 pages of text. Copies of this reference work (or excerpts of it) can usually be located online (make sure to check the revision date to ensure that you’re looking at the latest edition), and it is an interesting document to peruse to obtain a sense for the magnitude of the procedural task at hand.
Bottom line: Every man has the right to represent himself both in court and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, most trademark attorneys recommend against the process. Why? Not because they want to obtain a fee. Rather, they recommend commissioning a specialist, because experience has shown, time and again, that when a capable client representative joins forces with a good, registered trademark attorney, the result is a broad, commercially valuable trademark.
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