To get a trademark or to get a patent, the process starts with the application. Filing a trademark application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) starts a legal proceeding and does not require a lawyer. Most applicants hire an attorney who specializes in trademark matters to represent them in the application process and provide legal advice. While a USPTO patent and trademark examining attorney will try to help you through the process even if you do not hire a lawyer, no patent attorney may give you legal advice.
A private trademark and patent lawyer can help you before, during, and after the trademark application process, including policing and enforcing any trademark registration that may issue. While you are not required to have an attorney, an attorney may save you from future costly legal problems by conducting a comprehensive search of federal registrations, state registrations, and “common law” unregistered trademarks before you file your application. Comprehensive searches are important because other trademark owners may have protected legal rights in trademarks similar to yours that are not federally registered. Therefore, those trademarks will not appear in the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database but could still ultimately prevent your use of your mark.
Inventors are encouraged to search the USPTO’s patent database to see if a patent has already been filed or granted that is similar to your patent. Patents may be searched in the USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT). The USPTO houses full text for patents issued from 1976 to the present and TIFF images for all patents from 1790 to the present.
If you would like to search the trademark office database for yourself, you can follow this link: Click Here
If you would like to search the patent office database for yourself, you can follow this link: Click Here
Trademark and patent lawyers can help you during the application process with several things that could seriously impact your rights, such as determining the best way to describe your goods and services and preparing responses to refusals to register that an examining attorney may issue. Finally, a private attorney can also assist in the policing and enforcement of your trademark rights. The USPTO only registers trademarks. You as the trademark owner are responsible for any enforcement.