Who Can Help Me with My Trademark Search and Application?
Trademarks, and other intellectual property rights involve specialized legal procedures and can involve significant business operating investments. The preparation of an application for a trademark and the conducting of the proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office to obtain the trademark is an undertaking requiring the knowledge of patent law and rules and Office practice and procedures, as well as knowledge of the scientific or technical matters involved in the particular invention.
We strongly recommend that final research, business planning, and applications regarding intellectual property be done in consultation with proper intellectual property legal professionals.
Our library services are designed to support the individual or corporate/legal researcher's efforts to conduct self-directed and preliminary research. Library staff cannot offer legal advice, conduct searches, assist in writing applications, guarantee completeness of searches, or advise on ideas.
Depending on your finances, trademark knowledge, available time, and access to patent research tools, you can represent yourself -- "pro se" --or work with someone, such as a trademark attorney, searcher, legal clinic student attorney, or pro bono attorney.
Law School Clinic Program
The Law School Clinic Certification Program allows law students enrolled in a participating law school's clinic program to practice Intellectual Property Law before the USPTO under the strict guidance of a Law School Faculty Clinic Supervisor. The program currently consists of students practicing in both patent and trademark law before the USPTO. The program is administered by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline. The Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline grants the law students limited recognition to practice before the Office.
Students gain experience drafting and filing either patent applications or trademark applications for clients of the law school clinic. Further, as they are authorized to practice before the USPTO, they gain experience answering Office Actions and communicating with either patent examiners or trademark examining attorneys for the applications they have filed.
Law schools participating in the USPTO's law school clinic program provide their services on a pro-bono basis to those that qualify. Each school has its own criteria for accepting clients. Please contact the school to inquire about becoming a client.
Participating schools in Connecticut (e-mail links):
While an applicant can file his or her own trademark application, attorneys (not associated with the USPTO) who are familiar with trademark matters represent most applicants. Some trademark owners may have valid and protected trademark rights that do not result from federal registration with the USPTO, and those marks may not appear in the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database. Before ever filing a trademark application, a trademark attorney can conduct a more comprehensive search for potential problems with your use of a proposed mark than you will be able to conduct in TESS. The attorney then can counsel you regarding use of the mark, recommend whether to file a trademark application, and advise you on your likelihood of success in the registration process.
The filing of a trademark application begins a legal proceeding having many legal requirements and strict time deadlines. Not all applied-for trademarks register, and filing fees are not refunded. Whether you ultimately proceed on your own behalf or a trademark attorney represents you, all substantive and procedural requirements of the Trademark Act and Trademark Rules of Procedure must be met. Should you wish to consult an attorney, you can find the names of attorneys who handle trademark matters in telephone listings or by using the attorney referral service of a state bar or local bar association (see American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Directory).
Some colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations offer resources, guidance, and assistance for entrepreneurs:
Inventors' support groups can be valuable networking opportunities:
Some individuals and organizations that are not registered advertise their services in the fields of patent searching and invention marketing and development. Such individuals and organizations cannot represent inventors before the USPTO. They are not subject to USPTO discipline, but the USPTO does provide a public forum where complaints and responses concerning invention promoters/promotion firms are published.
Elihu Burritt Library
(access via Harold Lewis Drive)
Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050