Not many business owners realize the invaluable asset that a trademark can be to their business. However, as a trademark attorney, this is precisely why I’m usually ready to do backflips and pull out the snack tray when a sauce maker (aka business owner) comes to me about filing one. It tells me they’re getting serious about their business and ready to secure lasting success.
But there’s been a problem as of late. Sauce makers have been telling me about trademark attorney horror stories that had them turning away from getting their trademarks altogether. Let me tell you: I’m not here for it. Trademarking is not a cheap process; you don’t deserve counsel that causes you to doubt your decision or waste your money. Trademarking is the right step forward, and I want to reassure you of that.
Most business owners who get trademarks are often on track for significant growth because they are committing to being known in their industry and developing a reliable reputation for consumers to come to them for those goods or services. And I believe you deserve that security.
In this blog, I want to clear the air and ensure you are empowered to find good counsel and secure your sauce by sharing the top 3 questions to ask a trademark attorney. It’ll immediately put you on to any red flags so that you know to either run in the other direction or sign on the dotted line. Let’s get this whole hoopla started, shall we?
The first and most important question to ask potential counsel is whether or not trademarks are the primary service in their practice. This question is essential because if trademarking is not necessarily some of their primary services, you may find yourself on the back burner of priorities to them, which could further delay your own goals.
This problem/red flag lands especially heavy when you consider that the trademarking process can take anywhere from a year to a year and a half to be completed (and that’s if everything goes smoothly.)
Every trademark application goes through a rigorous process, including inspection by an examining attorney. However, if the examining attorney decides that something ain’t jiving in the sniff test, you will be issued an “office action.” Office actions are the USPTO’s way of letting you know that an error has occurred with your application and they need you to correct it. Sometimes it can be a simple error, but sometimes it can be not-so-simple.
If your trademark attorney is inexperienced with this process, they may get intimidated by an office action and, instead of addressing it, may ignore it. Many times, a client would tell me they have a trademark pending only to do a trademark search and find out the application is at a stall because of an office action. All this to say, find out from any potential counsel how they handle office actions and their turnaround time in addressing them!
The final question to ask any trademark attorney you may be courting is how they will keep you updated throughout the process. Trademarks take time but staying on top of it ensures the process is only as long as it needs to be. Some questions to gain clarity on this include:
Any experienced trademark attorney should be able to answer these questions with no problem. If they’re stumbling through their answers, consider it a red flag on the play. Make sure your attorney can give you regular updates, even if the update is to say there is no update. At all times, you need to know what’s going on with your application.
In fact, they’re probably right here at Anderson Law Firm. As Trademark/Intellectual Property Attorneys and advocates for small business owners, our sole mission is to help you feel empowered in the way you run your business as well as the decisions you make for it.
This is why you will have clear and frequent contact with us the moment you sign on for trademark registration. You will know when there’s an update we’re addressing (like an Office Action) when there is no update, and you may even get updates when we find our favorite snacks on sale. Just kidding – you have to opt-in for that. Either way, we’re here to support you every step of the way and won’t have you questioning your decisions, unlike some of these…
You know what? Our mamas taught us better than to talk smack.
If you’d like to discuss filing your trademark application or looking to course-correct after a bad experience, click here to set up a consult call. And even if you don’t go with us, make sure to use the trademark questions above to peep a red flag when you see one!
P.S. – I made a video to emphasize these points – check it out below:
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