An effective trademark is an extremely valuable business asset.
U.S. companies spend years developing a brand identity that clearly differentiates their products in the marketplace. But without a properly obtained trademark, the words, phrases, symbols, and logos you use to differentiate your products are vulnerable in the public realm.
Trademark lawyers serve a number of purposes for trademark acquirers and owners. The most secure trademarks are trademarks that have been registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademark attorneys offer invaluable assistance in navigating the registration process and help ensure that your trademark is registered in a way that covers all of the necessary bases.
Trademark attorneys also play an important role in defending your trademark in cases of trademark infringement or dilution. Even fully registered trademarks may eventually become the subject of infringement. When that happens, you'll rest easier knowing that you have experienced legal counsel in your corner.
Since trademark lawyers practice a highly nuanced area of law, the process of hiring a trademark lawyer is a little different than the process involved with securing an attorney for general business counsel.
- Avoid generic referrals. Generic referrals (i.e. referrals through trade journal ads, legal listings, generic Google searches) are insufficient for hiring a truly qualified trademark attorney. The most qualified trademark lawyers usually don't need to advertise to attract legal clients.
- Focus on targeted referrals. Instead of generic referrals, proactively solicit referrals from other businesses within your industry network. Before you contact prospective attorneys, ask your contact to provide a recommendation that includes the outcome of their relationship with the attorney.
- Evaluate the law firm. Trademark lawyers are typically associated with law firms that specialize in trademark law. In addition to a targeted referral, you'll want to make sure the firm has the legal resources and reputation necessary to successfully navigate trademark registrations and infringement suits.
- Evaluate individual attorneys. Although the firm's reputation is important, the outcome of your relationship will ultimately hinge on the experience, education, and background of an individual attorney who is dedicated to your account. If the firm is unable (or unwilling) to offer the individual service of a specific attorney, move on to the next firm on your list.