Updated: Feb 17
Money matters! And it is possible to strategically save money on a trademark application. I know this may seem odd coming from a trademark attorney, but I often hear from people who are launching their new businesses on a shoestring and want to make sure they are spending their money in the wisest way possible.
My suggestion for folks with limited funds: if you have the choice between having an attorney do a full search to check your proposed mark's availability for use and registration, or having an attorney fill out the application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for you, go with the search!
The search matters more in the long run. You will invest so much money over the years to market and sell your product or service, that it will eclipse the attorney fees that you spend on conducting a full search of relevant databases including USPTO records for the same or similar marks for similar goods and services; state Secretary of State records; and web/social media records. I want you to be crystal clear that your proposed mark is available for use and registration before you spend hundreds of dollars in filing fees with the USPTO. Then, you can confidently build brand equity.
The worst way to spend money is to skimp on the search and pay someone to fill out the application for you. The application itself doesn't require an enormous amount of insight, just some familiarity or reading up on what you are supposed to put in all of those boxes! An attorney-led clearance search, on the other hand, will give you the benefit of a specialized attorney's years of practice and insight as to whether you will encounter problems with the mark you would like to register.