Do I need a lawyer to file my trademark application?
The most common question arising now in the minds of people, especially entrepreneurs, is if it is not possible to apply for registering a trademark by themselves, without getting any assistance from a trademark lawyer. The misconception is that trademark application is nothing but a mere filling out of forms. But the most important question to ask is : “does the process end there..or on the contrary, begin there?”
The first step in the process of registration of trademark might involve filling out forms; but even for that, some strategy and considerable amount of knowledge of IP law is required. Information such as the class/classes in which the mark could be applied, type of mark, inclusion of appropriate goods/services so as not to limit or broaden the scope of the specification(as this might invite objections from the trademark office) are pivotal and requires some amount of proper analysis lest it results in objections and ultimate refusal from the Trademark Office.
What is more important is that even before a decision is made to apply for a mark, it is necessary to anticipate possible objections in the form of third party marks and for this, a proper search requires to be conducted with the records of the Trademark Office and based on the outcome and the current trademark principles, it is possible to determine, to an extent, how successful the application will be.
It is also important to note that trademark registration does not end with filling out forms, but as I already mentioned, it is just the beginning. Thereafter comes understanding and responding to objections by the Trademark Office, attending hearings if necessary, watching out for third party marks which might be considered similar, keeping track and following up on the application etc.
The above might appear intimidating to some, but whatever has been stated above, are some highlights in the entire process. To put it more simply, intellectual property law, like any other branch of law, might begin with filling out forms; but it is only after that that the actual legal work begins and in case of trademark law, decides the course and destiny of the mark. By this, I do not mean that no application could be filed without help from a lawyer. You can..provided you dedicate significant amount of time and energy and keep yourself abreast of IP laws and trends. But I’m sure most entrepreneurs would rather be more happy to focus on developing their business than pouring over IP laws and I doubt if anyone would call that unwise!