The best trademark lawyers are honest with clients, do not take shortcuts and explain clearly the expected costs before taking on trademark work.
With any industry, there are companies and individuals that provide the best service and others who do just enough to get by. When it comes to trademark attorneys, there are several factors that the best lawyers all share in common, such as being honest, doing all the necessary work and charging fair and reasonable prices.
When deciding which trademark attorney to hire, companies and entrepreneurs need to look at costs, quality and fit. For example, a high priced New York City trademark lawyer is not necessary for filing a simple trademark application. Smaller firms with less clients will likely provide better service to a client seeking one or two trademark applications than the big city trademark attorneys who seek clients with deep pockets and lots of trademark work. In other words, large fees and fancy offices does not translate into best trademark attorney for many clients.
Trademark lawyers add value for trademark owners who want to file for a trademark registration. But when deciding whether to hire a trademark lawyer, or which trademark attorney is best for you, consider the following factors before pulling the trigger.
No Shortcuts Before Filing Trademark Applications
A common issue, especially among trademark lawyers or even non-lawyers aiding in filing trademark applications online, is whether they are doing all the work necessary before filing a trademark application. Trademark lawyers know better than to file trademark applications without doing all the necessary work because they risk losing all of their client's investment in receiving a trademark application.
The first sign that a lawyer is willing to take shortcuts when it comes to filing trademark applications is whether they offer tiered trademark applications services. For example, if they have a “Silver Plan” that includes filing the trademark; a “Gold Plan” where they will do a trademark search before filing and then file the trademark; and a “Platinum Plan” where the firm will do a search, file a trademark and respond to certain types of Office Actions.
When it comes to finding the best trademark attorney for you, find one that does not offer all the necessary services at one flat fee price. If an trademark lawyer files a trademark application without doing a trademark search, the application is much more likely to fail and all investment into the application, including lawyer’s and government fees, will be lost.
In addition, try to find a trademark attorney willing to respond to Office Actions issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for no additional costs. Trademark lawyers with experience will be able to foresee any potential Office Actions and either avoid them, or know how to respond to them. There is no reason why an attorney should be able to charge their client more money to respond to an Office Action when they know the Office Action may be issued.
In sum, avoid trademark attorneys or trademark websites that offer different tiers of services when it comes to trademark applications. By cutting out some of the necessary work, trademark lawyers risk losing their clients investment in the trademark process and may need to go back and charge their client more money in the future. Both of those results seem unethical and help contribute to the often deserved poor reputation of attorneys.
Upfront and Transparent Pricing
Related to the first red flag when hiring a trademark attorney, i.e. they offer different trademark applications services for different prices, is whether the trademark firm offers transparent upfront pricing for the whole application process.
For example, a trademark firm that charges more to conduct a trademark search or answer Office Actions may seem they are being upfront with their pricing, but that is not entirely true. For example, an experienced trademark lawyer knows that it is extremely important to conduct a trademark search before filing a trademark application. This is important because a trademark lawyer will not be able to assess accurately whether the trademark can even be registered. If their as a confusingly similar mark already registered, the trademark application will be a complete waste of time and money.
In addition, be weary of lawyers who bill hourly to file trademark applications, conduct searches and respond to Office Actions. Different lawyers work at different speeds and some applications are more complex than others. Billing by the hour, rather than charging an upfront flat fee can lead to unexpected expensive bills later in the process.
Honest Discussions Through the Whole Process
The most important thing to look for in a trademark attorney, or anyone you plan to do business with, is to assess whether they are honest. Before filing a trademark application, an honest trademark attorney will have tough conversations with clients if they are warranted.
For example, a trademark attorney who found an issue in a trademark search may tell their client that there is only a 25% chance the trademark application will succeed. Telling a client this may result in the trademark lawyer losing money to file the trademark application, but the client will save money by not filing an application that would most likely fail. In other words, you want an attorney that will put the needs of the client above their desire to make money.
Honest trademark attorneys can be discovered by reviewing the first two issues, such as whether the attorney has transparent pricing and does not take any shortcuts. Trademark lawyers that bill by the hour or are willing to cut corners by filing applications without doing a trademark search are more likely to be dishonest about the trademark application process.
Granite Trademark Services
At Granite Trademark Services, we try to live up to all these standard by having transparent pricing, doing all the necessary work before filing a trademark application, and having honest discussions with our clients about any potential issues. We listen to our clients goals and work with them to help them achieve all their goals.
Our founder saw too many trademark attorneys do a poor job representing clients and felt an honest, reasonably priced trademark firm was needed. We are here to help serve our clients honestly, fairly and with open and honest pricing. All our employees are licensed attorneys with years of trademark experience.
If you have any questions, contact us for a free trademark consultation today!