Trademark cases are complex. They involve not only showing that you own (or that others do not own) a particular mark, and they also tread into various areas of use, intellectual property rights and a dozen other assorted subjects. If you find yourself looking down the barrel of a trademark case, you owe it to yourself to consider hiring an attorney. Starting out you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of lawyers in your area – it seems that even small towns have a couple of dozen people hanging around the courthouse looking for work. Rather than simply hiring the first person you see to represent you, you should make sure that you contact an attorney with a specialization in trademark law.
A Specialized Discipline
Trademarks are, to put it bluntly, complicated. While they are not quite the sort of thing that the average lawyer will shrink away from in terror, the cases that feature trademarks will almost always be passed off to an individual with considerable trademark experience. Most state bars require attorneys to pass on a case if they cannot provide the proper level of representation, and trademarks usually fall outside the scope of most attorneys’ knowledge. If you find yourself heading towards a trademark case, you might as well contact a trademark lawyer from the beginning- if you do not, you will likely find yourself being recommended to one anyway.
But Really, Why a Trademark Lawyer?
Perhaps the best reason to seek out a lawyer with experience in trademarks can be found by look at the average law school curriculum. First year students get a good foundation in topics as diverse as criminal law and federal civil procedure, but trademarks are nowhere to be found in the required subjects. In fact, an individual has to go out of his or her way to become educated on the topic – most classes are elective, and the topic may not even be covered on the bar exam. Trademark lawyers are those individuals who actually seek out the knowledge for use in later practice.
This educational gap transfers over to professional practice, as well. Trademark cases are not the stuff of daily practice for most lawyers, and most will go an entire career without ever having a client ask for trademark advice. A trademark lawyer, however, will represent individuals in these cases all the time – it is, after all, the area of law that these individuals choose to practice.
Trademark litigation or protection requires an attorney who is actually skilled in the practice. It is always better to seek out someone who has skills and experience rather than depending on a local attorney – it might hurt not to work with your family’s lawyer, but trademarks are simply too complicated to trust to anyone other than a skilled trademark lawyer. Finding that lawyer can take time, but it is well worth the effort.