Why should you pay me to handle registering your trademark when you could pay Legalzoom a lot less?
It’s simple. You get what you pay for.
Did you know that the trademark system is actually set up to deny applications? The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) actually assigns an “examining attorney” to review every application, and these attorneys’ job is to find a reason to deny your application. The USPTO denies applications for a lot of reasons, but the main ones are that the mark being applied for is not distinctive enough to be registered, or the USPTO attorney finds a similar mark that’s already registered, or that .
Choosing a great trademark is the first step in the registration process.
A trademark has to be distinctive — you generally can’t register a business called The Plumbing Parts Store because that’s just descriptive of what you’re selling, it’s not distinctive. There are other tricky rules about trademarks that incorporate your name (usually a no-go) or a geographic location (like “Nashville Tire Store”, again, no good). Legalzoom will not help you choose a mark that’s likely to be registered. I do. This saves you money in the long run, because if the USPTO rejects your application, you can’t try again without paying the full registration fee again.
The other issue that will doom your registration application is a similar competing mark.
Legalzoom’s trademark search will not protect you.
The search that Legalzoom includes in its basic registration will only search the USPTO database for identical marks that have been registered — not any similar mark that the USPTO could (and will!) use to deny your application. I not only search the USPTO database for identical and similar marks, I also conduct a broader internet search to find out if another company in a similar field is using the mark you want to register. And, if your company is making a major investment in the brand associated with the mark, I can get an even deeper search that will turn up companies already using the mark you would never have found on your own. This is key, since that company has priority over you to use the mark, and could cause your business major problems later, even if your mark is registered by the USPTO.
I also help you evaluate any competing companies using a similar mark to make the best decision for your business about whether to go ahead with registering that mark, or choosing a different one.
Get an office action? With Legalzoom you’re on your own.
An “office action” is a response from the USPTO pointing out a problem with your application or asking for information. About 80% of trademark applications receive some sort of office action. Many can be handled with a simple response, but applicants often don’t know what to do, and end up abandoning their applications when they get one (losing their registration fee for good). I handle simple office action responses as part of my flat fee, and take care of the more rare, complex responses (which require research and a long legal brief) on an hourly fee basis. I can also help you decide whether it’s worth investing more money in a mark that the USPTO has indicated it will deny, or move forward with a different mark.
With Legalzoom, if you get an office action, you have to handle it on your own, or sign up for their monthly legal subscription plan to get their help.
If you are building your brand and will be creating value in your trademark, investing in an attorney to make sure you register the trademark correctly to get all the benefits of federal registration is money well spent.
You might want to think about saving up for this expenditure to make sure you do it the right way the first time. You will have some “common law” trademark rights just by using the company name in the meantime, so long as no one else was using it first. But you can’t sue a copycat unless your mark is registered.
Contact me today at email@example.com to discuss how I can take your trademark registration worries off your plate and help you protect your valuable brand.