An attorney who guides clients through the trademark process is involved in intellectual property law. In other words, the property in question is not a physical object one can touch, but an idea. The idea is a company slogan, name, or logo: a trademark. Think of the jingles and symbols you remember from certain products you loved. These were forms of advertising. Even a catchy name is one way to garner consumer attention and is, thus, important. When an entrepreneur first starts up his business, he often turns to a trademark attorney who will ensure that he does not infringe on someone else’s rights.
How might he make this mistake? If a new business owner registers a name, logo, or slogan without conducting a proper search of existing intellectual property, he might find himself facing a law suit. It all depends on the perspective of the trademark holder and the success of this new business which is using another person’s intellectual property unwittingly. Sometimes the issue will be dropped because the applicant was clearly unaware of his mistake and no damage was really done. In other cases, the plaintiff will seek reparations of some kind.
A trademark attorney is tasked to protect a client from making this kind of mistake, but also to protect a client from being compromised by someone else’s poor decision making. He conducts a search of registered trademarks and makes a trademark application for his client. There is often a set, one-time fee for this service based on the extent of the search plus the application. Clients can ask for more extensive searching to be done, thus paying a higher fee. Going deeper means reaching into not just federal but also state databases.
If the client wishes, he can request a letter of attorney opinion stating his findings. This will reflect the extent of his search into the legality of a trademark application and is part of a thorough search rather than a basic, federal one.
Yearly services are also available if a client is concerned that his trademark is going to be infringed upon. The trademark attorney protects this trademark by monitoring upcoming applications and various commercial markets to see if anyone is at risk of committing trademark infringement. The client also has obligations as the holder of a trademark and will be advised by her attorney if she is crossing any legal boundaries which put her at risk of litigation.
Not all cases of infringement are accidental. Sometimes a business person will take the risk of assuming that he will not be caught stealing someone else’s intellectual property. This is when attorneys act to protect the client from losing the power of a well-chosen name, symbol, or phrase.