The Information Age has brought many valuable intellectual property management resources into the public domain, but recent research suggests that there is still no substitute for qualified legal counsel when inventors look to mint their first registered trademark.
Following a thorough review of USPTO trademark statistics for the years 1985 and 2010, University of North Carolina professors Deborah Gerhardt and Jon McClanahan discovered a clear correlation between legal expertise and trademark approval rates. While 82 percent of applications submitted by attorneys garnered preliminary approval in that time, the figure dropped to 60 percent among inventors independently managing their affairs.
"[It] is an area where lawyers can make a dramatic difference, especially to those inexperienced with making trademark applications," Gerhardt told Reuters.
Broken down a bit further, the statistics suggested that filing experience was actually most predictive of trademark approval. Non-attorneys who had previously filed 30 or more applications enjoyed comparable approval rates to credentialed lawyers with a similar history. But according to Law360, it is important to remember that non-attorneys with such experience make up a very small proportion of the applicant population and are usually employed at large corporations where expert legal aid is readily available from colleagues.