I want to register a trademark. Based on a preliminary search that a friend’s legal department did for me, I know that no one has trademarked the name already.
I’ve skimmed a number of books/websites, so I have a respectable grasp of what the TM process involves. Many of these said books/websites imply that an informed and careful layman can complete the process without a lawyer, and from what I’ve seen of the forms I think I could handle the application part.
The part that looks thorny (and is glossed over by most of those said books/websites) is addressing the “Office Actions” that the TM office sends back to you. OA’s are, in essence, challenges to your application. You must, in turn, make a case why your trademark does not conflict with other close-but-not-identical existing trademarks they turn up.
My friend, whose corporation is currently going through the process for one of their trademark applications, showed me the the package of arguments that his corporation lawyers prepared in response to the OA’s that the trademark office sent them. It seemed beyond the abilities of most laymen. (But I did not scutinize it too deeply. Also, it may have been lawyerish overkill to impress the client and/or jack up the legal fees.)
So, my question is: can it be done – Office Actions and all – by a layman? If the OA part is too tough, can I use a lawyer for just that phase of the process? Or will no respectable TM lawyer want to be bothered with an application that he/she gets handed midstream?
Also, let’s say I decide to go the lawyer route start-to-finish, assuming it’s a fairly routine case (that is, one TM in one category, w/no exact conflicts, but a few near-matches that can be argued away based on the nature of the goods/services involved), what can I expect the total process to cost me? $1,000. $5,000. More? (Please don’t quote lawyer hourly rates to me. It’s meaninglless because I have no idea how many hours a lawyer typically needs to do this sort of job.)
(I consider this a GQ, but if a mod thinks it’s a IMHO topic, feel free to ship it out. I won’t complain.)