According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is a “brand name.” Businesses, inventors, and creative entrepreneurs often find themselves needing to protect a symbol, phrase, design, or other nuanced creation meant to identify a particular property, idea, or concept. When this occurs, they rely on trademarks for ease of identification. As the US Patent and Trademark Office indicates, trademarks are created for ease of distinguishing. Indeed, it is easy to recall the world’s most famous trademark symbols and the companies associated with each. This ease of association occurred via a deliberate process, which included devising and properly registering a symbol, devise, or phrase. Though this might appear to be a straightforward process, it can be a difficult one, wrought with complications and pitfalls. One requirement stipulated in a federal application for a trademark indicates that a “clear representation of the mark” must be included when applying. In order to determine whether an existing representation or a mark intended for future use is clear, a professional opinion may be ideal. people often rely on an attorney to navigate this difficult path.
Though it is possible to apply for a trademark independent of an attorney, few people do. This is in part because an individual trademark must meet certain legal requirements. Often, a layperson will attempt to register a trademark which is unenforceable, vague, faces ownership issues, or too similar to an existing trademark. Hiring a trademark attorney can prevent these pitfalls and others, by assisting in the navigation of the process. An attorney will be able to determine immediately glaring errors with a trademark and conduct a search for trademarks that may conflict with a proposed one. Additionally, an attorney can help his client interpret common law applications for the trademark, even when these applications may not be readily apparent or easily interpreted.
Various states provide the opportunity to register a trademark at the state level. In Minnesota, for example, it states that registering a trademark with the state “does not copyright your mark, it only registers it to ensure it is officially recognized with the state of Minnesota.” An attorney can advise as to whether a state registration is appropriate and whether this should be pursued in addition to or instead of a federal registration. Trademark attorneys are often found clustered in major cities. So, in this instance, it would be ideal to try a search for a trademark attorney minneapolis mn to return a list of attorneys who may be able to assist.
Deciding whether to acquire a trademark attorney is a personal decision. For those who prefer a hands-on experience, taking the steps to register a trademark is an arduous but rewarding experience. However, a law or rule is only as good as the existing ability to enforce it. Often, those who have independently filed a trademark application find that they are ill-equipped to deal with encroachments on their property. A trademark attorney is able to address infringement and pursue legal action. Therefore, for this reason alone, an attorney is usually the best choice.