Hiring a Trademark Lawyer

Find a Lawyer for Trademark Infringement Cases and Registration

Although a trademark lawyer is not always necessary, in many instances one may have to find a lawyer for trademark infringement cases and trademark registration.

Either as a preventative measure or after the fact, there are many instances where it may be necessary to find a lawyer for trademark law. Although attorney services can potentially cost thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the case, and the hourly rate of the individual, the expense may be well worth it in cases of trademark infringement or complicated trademark registration. To have the most effective and efficient experience with a trademark lawyer, it is important to have a basic understanding of trademark law, and a clear expectation of the attorney legal services offered.

How to Find a Lawyer for Trademark Law

Hiring a trademark lawyer can lead to a loss of thousands of dollars or a savings of thousands of dollars, depending on how qualified and necessary the attorney is for a specific need. To find a trademark lawyer, it is important to spend the time to research potential candidates, instead of simply answering an advertisement or picking a random intellectual property lawyer from an attorney legal services listing. It is also important to have a basic knowledge of the work involved and time that will be spent in filing a trademark registration or trademark litigation, to be able to predict approximately how much a service may end up costing.

As intellectual property law covers a broad range of issues, from copyright registration to entertainment law services, an intellectual property law firm is not enough. Look for either a trademark law firm, or a specific trademark lawyer — an intellectual property lawyer who has experience with preparing trademark registrations, or defending trademark infringement cases. Find out what law school they attended and if it has an extensive intellectual property law program or not. Ask for referrals, and back check them. Also, inquire as to who will be doing the work, the trademark law, or paralegals.

Using a Trademark Lawyer for Trademark Infringement Cases

Trademark infringement involves a business or entity using the same or a similar mark as another entity that already owns rights to the mark through registration or established use. A lawsuit revolves around confusion for the consumer; trademark infringement occurs when it is unclear where a source of goods comes from because there are conflicting trademarks being used to identify a product.

For trademark infringement cases, it is important to find a lawyer who has both experiences with trademark law and as a trial lawyer. They need to be able to answer a complaint, file, and answer motions, and represent either a defendant or a plaintiff in court. Hiring a trademark lawyer for trademark litigation is almost essential as there are a number of conditions that a court will look at, which only someone well-versed in trademark law can easily decipher and make proper assessments on. To save expenses, and the trademark lawyer’s time, have all pertinent information ready, such as instances of third party use of the trademark, possible effects of the trademark infringement on business, or lack thereof.

What Attorney Legal Services to Expect for Trademark Registration

To find a lawyer for trademark registration, again, look for an attorney with specific experience in preparing federal trademark registration applications. Trademark registration can be done without legal help, however, a trademark lawyer can add insurance through their experience and knowledge of the subject. They can prevent a bad mark from being denied, and look out for potential problems with trademark infringement.

A trademark lawyer will help decide if the desired mark is a wise choice, based on a thorough trademark search, usually through a professional trademark search firm. Once the appropriate materials and information are provided, they will fill out the application and correspond between the United States Patent and Trademark Office or examining attorney during the review process. If any problems do arise with the application, a trademark lawyer can be extremely useful in navigating around obstacles.

Take the time to find a lawyer who can provide the legal counsel and protection well-worth the money that will be spent.

Intellectual Property Law

Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, and Trade Secrets

The law of intellectual property encompasses four basic property rights: trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.

Intellectual property is a property that is the result of one’s creative thought process, as distinguished from property that is tangible in nature such as real estate or personal property. The law of intellectual property consists of issues dealing with trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. This article explains the four basic areas of intellectual property law.

Trademark Protection to Identify and Distinguish Goods

The law of trademark covers both trademarks and service marks. According to 15 U.S.C. §1127, the term trademark is any word, name, symbol or device used by a person to distinguish his or her goods or products from those manufactured or sold by others. Similarly, a service mark is used to identify and distinguish a person’s services from those offered by others.

According to Deborah E. Bouchoux, author of Business Organizations for Paralegals, trademarks may consist of slogans, designs, sounds, colors, and even fragrances. Marks that merely describe a product, such as “fluffy” or “zesty,” will not be accepted for registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). An exception exists for descriptive marks that have achieved a secondary meaning such that the mark is readily associated with the source of the goods.

One need not register a mark with the PTO in order to acquire trademark rights. Nevertheless, as Bouchoux explains, “registration with the PTO does afford a number of advantages to an owner, including the right to bring an action for infringement in federal court.” Trademark protection, unlike protection given to copyrights and patents, does not necessarily expire.

Copyright Protection for the Original Work of Authors, Artists, and Musicians

Copyright protection arises from the Patent and Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Copyright protects the works of authors, artists and musicians to ensure that they have the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display and perform their works. The law of copyright has evolved with technology to encompass such works as software programs.

Copyright protects original works that are fixed in a tangible form of expression which can be “perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated.” Books, musical compositions, software programs, and sculptures can be copyrighted, for example, but ideas, processes or systems cannot. Generally speaking, the copyright term for works created after 1977 by individuals is the life of the author plus 70 years. The term for corporate copyright owners is 95 years from publication or 120 years from the creation of the work.

Patents Prevent Others from Making, Selling or Using One’s Invention

According to Bouchoux, a patent is a grant by the federal government to exclude others from making, using, or selling one’s invention. In order to obtain a patent, one’s invention must be novel, useful and non-obvious. There are three types of patents granted by the PTO:

  • Utility patents are granted for machines, processes, manufacturing methods, chemical compositions, biotechnology and the like. Utility patents are the most common patents.
  • Design patents protect the creation of a new, original, ornamental appearance for a useful product. An example might be a new shape for a glass container.
  • Plant patents protect certain types of plants, such as flowers and fruits.

Utility patents and plant patents last for 20 years, while design patents have a term of 14 years.


Trade Secrets

A trade secret is any valuable and closely guarded information that gives its owner some type of competitive advantage. A trade secret may be just about anything, including recipes, customer lists or marketing plans. The owner of the information must take reasonable steps to protect the information in order to claim the protection. No federal registration is afforded for trade secrets, but if they are properly protected, trade secrets may be kept indefinitely.

Benefits of a Corporate Identity Guide

A Style Guide Serves as a Roadmap for Corporate Communications

A corporate identity guide provides guidelines for providing consistent communications and visual design for all materials produced by a corporation.

A corporate identity guide serves as a reference for employees, designers and writers to use when developing communication materials for a corporation. The guide typically contains rules for logos, page layout, advertising, appropriate color use, layout examples and guidelines on the copy style and tone that should be used in communication materials. Although used primarily by large corporations, a corporate style guide can be a useful tool for creating consistent communication for businesses of any size.

Why a Corporate Identity Guide is Useful?

A corporate identity guide is an essential tool for any business that wants to provide consistent communication across all channels of their business. The style guide provides writers and designers guidelines to use when creating corporate communication materials so the pieces fit into the specific look and style established by the corporation. It serves as a roadmap for employees, outside agencies and consultants working on behalf of the company to use to develop materials for a corporation.

A corporate branding guide often covers various aspects of the business. Style guides often contain rules for designing signs, point-of-sale items, brochures, web sites, newsletters, and other corporate communication materials. A branding guide may also include details on employee uniform design and internal communications.

A corporate identity guide provides insight into the corporation’s culture and style and helps designers and writers work within those specific guidelines. A style guide is also useful when there has been a change in staff in the internal creative department, public relations or marketing groups. The branding manual helps all individuals within the business remain clear on the style and look business communications should follow.

How to Create a Corporate Identity Guide

Many advertising and marketing agencies can help corporations develop a corporate identity guide. However, with a little effort, a branding manual can be put together in-house.

A basic style guide can easily be put together with basic software such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Organize the style guide by visual design and copy tone. In the visual design section, provide basic rules for logo use and colors. Provide examples of inappropriate use as well. Include all the information you would need to communicate to an outside designer to conform to the established corporate identity.

In the copy section, include information about trademarks, specific phrases, headlines used in various marketing materials and advertisements. Provide guidelines regarding the language used in both formal and informal documents and any other information that would help a writer write in the appropriate style and tone of the corporation.

A corporate identity guide can help businesses of all sizes provide consistent communications across all channels of their business. The style guide provides essential information for designers and writers to reference so the work they complete conforms to a pre-established corporate identity.