You can’t do it all.
At some point, most corporations will have to rely on trademark attorneys for registering, and protecting trademarks. It is a multi-step process, requiring unwavering attention to detail, and intimate knowledge of the culture, laws, and languages of the region in which you want to register. Your company may not have the workforce or the skill-set to get these complex jobs done solely in-house.
Whether you are crunched for time or lack specific expertise, a well-versed trademark lawyer can ease the burden and provide invaluable direction.
Interestingly, in many countries ‘trademark attorney’ can mean different things. Across the E.U. trademark attorney can mean either a registered trademark agent without them being a qualified lawyer (i.e., a law society member). In the U.S. foreign agents can practice before the USPTO, but only qualified lawyers within the U.S. can qualify as a trademark attorney. Which is why taking the time to fully vet the trademark attorneys you choose work with is important to consider depending upon the type of services you need (searching, watching, opposition, litigation, etc.).
As you can imagine, the cost of hiring a trademark lawyer can vary widely. It is dependent upon several factors, which we’ll discuss in this article.
How Much Does a Trademark Attorney Cost?
- Understanding Fee Structures
Trademark attorneys, both in the U.S. and abroad, charge based on two factors:
- The price of procuring the actual search report.
- The time it takes to analyze the search results.
It’s worth mentioning that trademark attorneys are legally restricted from charging for the search results themselves. These reports are generally compiled by third-parties.
What you’re really paying a trademark lawyer for is the professional, legal interpretation of the results, the likelihood of confusion, and the defensibility your trademark.
- Knowing What You Need
Most attorneys bill by the hour.
As with many professions, there is no predictable standard. Rates typically range from $150-to-$350 an hour. Because of the steep hourly rate, knowing exactly what you need ahead of time is crucial.
The problem? Knowing exactly what you need ahead of time is much easier said than done.
Here are a few common scenarios that can increase costs unexpectedly:
- You decide to expand your search to an additional country or region.
- Your particular candidate happens to draw A LOT of data to be analyzed.
- Your candidate comes back a dud (you need to conduct a whole new search analysis).
- Factoring in Local Counsel
If you plan on seeking the advice of local counsel for global or overseas searches, pricing will vary from country to country. Trademark experts in regions with fewer experienced trademark lawyers will most likely charge a higher hourly rate (i.e., China) than those with an abundance of experts.
Linguistics is tricky business—you can’t fake an expertise in Mandarin, even if you took a course in college! Native speakers are essential to catching the problematic alternative meanings, including slang, when performing trademark searches in languages outside of your own country.
With that said, hiring local counsel as part of a global search is a fast way to rack up your expenses. You may need the expertise of individuals in India, Russia, and Japan; but that doesn’t mean those fees are always going to be within your budget.
The good news? Another option does exist.
Trademark Attorneys: The Secret to Paying Less
NameCheck™ combines the accuracy of traditional legacy providers with the DIY nature of traditional online databases into a user-friendly platform. It’s powered by a unique algorithm designed to evaluate word linguistics, product type, and jurisdictions within seconds. Results are ranked in order of relevance, company litigiousness, and other potential threats.
While it will never replace the expertise of outside counsel, it can reduce their workload and accelerate time-to-value.
The good news for you?
Significantly less workload can mean significantly lower costs.
*This is an informational opinion article of the author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent official policy or positions of Corsearch or its clients.