Becoming a trademark attorney is similar to becoming any other professional; you need a degree. You also need to garner relevant practical experience in trademark law. In the U.S., trademark attorneys are often assigned to the U.S. federal court system. So, the attorney has to be licensed to be able to serve clients and represent their interest in matters of trademark, including the filing of trademark applications in the U.S. federal legal system.
Trademark law is an interesting and fast developing legal area.
The growth of the American economy has seen a boom in the tech and information sectors, which in turn has lead to an increase in the demand for Intellectual Property (IP) lawyers, including trademark lawyers.
The American Bar Association reported that in recent years, intellectual property has accounted for nearly 20 percent of legal job openings even though IP attorneys make up only a small percentage of the total lawyers, being around 34,000 (out of over 1.3 million licensed American lawyers).
All of which means big opportunities for trademark attorneys should you decide to enter that field.
The trademark lawyer will provide information about trademark registration, provide information relating to the validity of trademarks and deal with a wife variety of filings and registrations for trademarks and court cases relating to trademark issues.
In addition to these matters, there are certain prescribed rights that apply to trademark registrations, transfer and assignment of rights, infringement issues and remedies available to those who have had trademarks infringed.
What sort of duties would a trademark attorney handle?
There are a number of key roles for the trademark attorney, including the following –
- Assisting in the selection of a trademark
- Drafting and filing registrations for trademarks and providing legal advice regarding registration, infringement and other issues
- Checking that a trademark or design does not infringe someone else’s rights
- Protecting trademarks and the trademark owner’s rights with cease and desist and other matters including potential litigation.
- Therefore, trademark attorneys play a critical role in intellectual property protection and so have to undergo a rigorous process of education and training. Here’s how to become a trademark attorney.
It is interesting work and provides ideal career opportunities for those interested in this area.
How to Become a Trademark Attorney
Trademark lawyers go under different names and generally fall under the ‘intellectual property’ legal umbrella – being also known as patent and trademark practitioners, trademark litigators, trademark examining attorneys, intellectual property litigation associates, or intellectual property lawyers.
While any lawyer who is a member in good standing of the highest court of any state may represent clients before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), attorneys who have specialized training and education in patents and trademarks are often the most successful within this field.
The first and most obvious step to becoming a trademark attorney is pursuing a law degree. With appropriate preliminary education, you can be on your way to becoming one of the most accomplished intellectual property lawyers in the country. In other countries such as England, a university diploma or its equivalent is often sufficient.
In the U.S., however, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Once you’ve graduated with your degree, the next thing you need to do is get a legal education such as attending a law school that the American Bar Association (ABA) recognizes and approves.
You need to pass the Law School Admission Test. Once you earn your Juris Doctor degree while in law school, you must then must pass a bar examination for any state in which you plan to practice trademark law.
Specialization is not required for trademark lawyers, but law students who are interested in practicing trademark and patent law may want to consider it.
Note that some law schools in the U.S. offer specializations in patent and trademark law and so attending such a school can be one of the best decisions you can ever make on your journey to becoming a trademark attorney, but this is not a requirement, as attending any of the ABA-approved law schools is sufficient as long as you take courses in trademarks, copyrights, and patent. Trademark law is federally governed, so you should also consider taking a course in federal civil procedure.
Fulfill Other Requirements
Once you graduate from law school, the next thing for you to do is meet other requirements as well. In the U.S., you need to sit for a bar examination before being recommended to practice your craft at the federal level and by a lawyer in good standing.
Any law student interested in becoming a trademark attorney, should consider participating in the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Program. Only law students enrolled in the clinic program at a participating law school may receive limited recognition to practice in trademark matters.
In any professional and even technical field, you have to gain extensive experience to be considered valuable. You can gain experience within the confines of a well-established law firm, as you cannot easily get private clients as soon as you finish school. During this time, one can gain extensive experience filing trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is the governing body.
Know the Rules
Being a trademark attorney also involves knowing the rules and what can be trademarked. Many people cannot tell the difference between trademark and copyright law. For instance, copyright law involves the protection of original works of authorship serving an artistic purpose. So, knowing what can be trademarked and what cannot qualify for the same is quite important in trademark law.
Hard work, Determination, and Persistence
Besides the technical skills you’ll acquire through education and training, you’ll also need hard work, determination, and persistence, as it will not be easy at first.
Experience through working with a law firm will provide experience and skill in the necessary areas of patent and trademark law. For instance a law firm such as Your Trademark Attorney Law Firm will help to solidify these skills so that you become proficient by the time you decide to start your own law firm and help people with legal matters regarding patents and trademarks.
Trademark attorney jobs and opportunities may also be seen here.
A trademark attorney’s work involves a lot of filing and preparation of documents required to file for trademarks and patents. You’ll need to be adequately prepared to take on the challenge that involves working with trademarks and patents in the relevant offices across the U.S.
Source: Morris E. Turek, Trademark Attorney