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Legal Zoom for My Trademark?

Should I Use Legal Zoom for My Trademark?

The answer is no. Don’t use Legal Zoom.

I often have new clients come to me for help after they already used (and paid) Legal Zoom. The trouble with Legal Zoom is they only provide the mechanics of the trademark registration; they do not give you advice. So, when you get stuck or have a question, you either guess or you have to pay an experienced trademark attorney anyway.

For example, a new client called me because he had paid Legal Zoom to file a trademark. Legal Zoom ran an initial search (with limited depth) and gave the client the results. They did not give the client any recommendations or analysis about what the results meant or whether to proceed with the filing. Search results without analysis are not useful. Anyone who understands how to search on Google can manage to get limited trademark search results. Understanding what the results mean to you and your trademark are the import part, which Legal Zoom will not provide for the base fee.

In another example, a new client contacted me for help when the trademark Legal Zoom had filed for her received an “Office Action” (meaning the examining attorney found an issue with the filing). Legal Zoom does not provide help with Office Actions for the initial fee. To get help, for an additional fee, Legal Zoom offered contact with a random attorney – not even the attorney who did the filing. She sought me out because I am a trademark attorney in Portland Oregon. After being left hanging by Legal Zoom, she wanted to find a local attorney she could meet in person. I was able to fix her problem quickly. The client was happy and said she wished she hired me in the first place.

Ultimately, the allure of Legal Zoom is cost. In this case, you are literally getting what you pay for. Legal Zoom is only a little easier than filing a trademark yourself. If you are a true DIY person and you want to take the risk, file it yourself and save a few bucks. That way, when you get stuck, you have that money to hire an experienced attorney to fix things.

Or, you can hire an experienced trademark attorney and do it right the first time. Trademark registrations are far more likely to succeed if filed by an experienced attorney. (See: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2246750)

If you are thinking about getting a trademark, call or email me. I would be happy to discuss your options.

Aaron Cronan is a trademark attorney based in Portland Oregon. He has been helping clients protect their trademarks for over a decade. Aaron offers individualized options and flat fee pricing so you know exactly what the process will cost.