With self-reliance and ingenuity so often associated with the entrepreneurial spirit, it is not surprising to see sole inventors going it alone once again when it comes to trademark management. But according to IP Watchdog contributor Mark Malek, frugality in this arena may be more hassle than it is worth.
"I appreciate the reasons for filing your own trademark applications, particularly in this economy," Malek wrote. "Nevertheless, there is significant long-term damage that can be caused by filing your own trademark, or relying on a one-size-fits-all service provided by non-attorneys."
In his practice, Malek suggested that a number of the revisions that have to be made to trademark applications after they have been rejected often cost more than hiring a qualified attorney would have during the initial procedure. Aside from the perils of failed applications and expensive infringement defenses, sole inventors could also be restricting their strategic capabilities.
According to Winthrop & Weinstine attorney Stephen Baird, extending the strength and scope of a trademark is often one of the best ways for a company to diversify its offerings and develop competitive advantage. Citing recent research from marketing industry experts, the perceived quality of a brand is now more important than the link between a company's original product and the brand extension.
His hypothetical example suggested that Nike's high brand quality could allow it to market and sell its own line of deodorant better than a generic pharmaceutical or cosmetics company. Essentially, strong trademark management from day one can help a company leverage the strength of its brand for unexpected business possibilities in the future.