LegalZoom and Trademarkia – The Perils of Using Do-It-Yourself Trademark Services

When it comes to do-it-yourself trademark websites, LegalZoom and Trademarkia are two of the most popular ones, thanks in large part to aggressive marketing and a focus on upselling and volume.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with these websites, LegalZoom is a legal document filing service, while Trademarkia is essentially a trademark search engine.

Despite the legal focus of these websites, both LegalZoom and Trademarkia are unable to dispense legal advice.  They even offer a number of disclaimers that prominently emphasize this fact:

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Trademarkia Review (Part 3) – The Trademarkia Trademark Application Filing Service

In this third installment of my series on Trademarkia, I’ll take a look at Trademarkia’s trademark application filing service.  If you haven’t read my first two articles about Trademarkia, you may find it beneficial to do so before continuing.  You can read my earlier articles by clicking below:

Trademarkia Review (Part 1) – Is Trademarkia a Scam?

Trademarkia Review (Part 2) – The Trademarkia Trademark Search

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Trademarkia Review (Part 2) – The Trademarkia Trademark Search

In Part 1 of my Trademarkia review (Is Trademarkia a Scam?), I attempted to uncover the truth about Trademarkia, using its very own words, claims, and explanations.  I explored what Trademarkia professes to be (an online search engine) as well as what Trademarkia declares itself not to be (a provider of legal advice and services).  I also tried to decipher the confusing relationship between Trademarkia and its behind-the-scenes founder/administrator – the law firm of Raj Abhyanker, PC.

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Trademarkia Review (Part 1) – Is Trademarkia a Scam?

Part of my responsibility as a trademark attorney is to help individuals make informed decisions.  My law practice is devoted exclusively to educating people about trademarks, as well as helping them research, register, and defend their marks.

That said, I feel compelled to provide some background on a web-based company called Trademarkia.  Trademarkia is very similar to LegalZoom in that it’s not a law firm.  Also, just like LegalZoom, Trademarkia apparently believes that people who are seeking trademark services can be properly served through a one-size-fits-all approach.

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Trademark Class – How Do I Choose the Correct One?

If you’ve ever attempted to register a trademark, you already know that the USPTO trademark application form requires you to identify the trademark class into which your product or service falls.  Most people look at the portion of the form that asks for the trademark class and, not surprisingly, have no idea what that even means.  Well, the good news is that the classification system is not really all that difficult to understand once you know how to navigate it.

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How Do I Trademark a Logo?

Most people already know that it’s possible to trademark a logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (just as it’s possible to trademark a product name).  But, applying to register a logo as a trademark is quite different than simply registering a name or a slogan.  In my experience, people who file their own US trademark application tend to make the most (and costliest) mistakes when they attempt to register their logos.  Of course, this often leads to the expenditure of additional time and money that would have been completely unnecessary if the application was properly prepared in the first place.  Although this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the things you need to know to successfully trademark a logo, here are a few hints that will help you avoid making some common mistakes.

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Can I Trademark a Product Name?

People ask me all the time if it’s possible to trademark a product name.  The answer is….sometimes.  Some categories of product names are eligible for federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), while others are not.  In general, the more unique and creative your product name is, the easier it will be to register it as a trademark and the greater scope of protection it will receive.

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What is a Final Office Action?

A final office action is issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) if you didn’t successfully or properly respond to all of the issues raised in a previous trademark office action.  If you fail to take action within six months from the date the final office action is sent, your trademark application will go abandoned and you’ll have little choice but to begin the US trademark registration process all over again.

If you receive a final office action, you basically have three options:

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What is a USPTO Trademark Search?

A USPTO trademark search is simply a search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office records.  It will reveal pending trademark applications and existing trademark registrations that are active (live), as well as abandoned applications and canceled registrations that are inactive (dead).

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LegalZoom Trademark Registration – A Flawed and Deficient Trademark Service

Last week, I received a telephone call from a guy located in Florida who was on the verge of opening a new business.  Apparently, he was thinking about using the LegalZoom trademark registration service to prepare and file his trademark application.  For those of you who don’t already know, LegalZoom is an online legal document preparation service.  It’s not a law firm and it can’t offer any legal advice or guidance.  People who are looking to register a trademark with LegalZoom (God forbid) are asked to fill out a questionnaire that resembles the official USPTO trademark application form provided by the Trademark Office.  They submit their responses to LegalZoom along with a payment that covers LegalZoom’s service charge and the government filing fee for the trademark application.  Without checking for accuracy or completeness, LegalZoom transcribes the responses onto the USPTO application form and submits it on behalf of its customers.  There’s absolutely no review by LegalZoom as to whether the trademark is even eligible for registration, which is a problem considering that there are many categories of trademarks that are completely barred from being federally registered.

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