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What is the Role of Patent and Trademark Attorneys?

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Written By Emma Gill

When you have a new invention or a new design, you need to get the patent and trademark formalities done. It prevents others from misusing and misrepresenting your design to forge similar-looking logos, phrases, or symbols by competitors.

Patents and trademarks give the owners exclusive rights to use their product, logo, slogans, and images as per their choice. To do this, one requires professional and legal guidance from a patent and trademark attorney.

These trademark attorneys act as a central point of contact for the legal protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). They advise clients on design, trademark, and how to protect their intangible assets like software, and patents from being misused by other competitors.

If you have recently launched a startup and are wondering whether to hire a patent and trademark attorney. In that case, the following points about the role of a patent and trademark attorney will help make a decision.

Patent and Trademark Attorneys: 6 Powerful Roles Explained

1. Protect your knowledge and innovation

Protecting your unique business idea or product design is a multi-step process that involves registering your idea, designs, or slogan under the corresponding trademarks and patents. However, registering the idea once is not enough as there is a higher chance of product infringement once it is out in the market.

The battle between Samsung and Apple over smartphone design is a huge testimony to the fact that intellectual property (IP) rights and ownership issues can become nasty and expensive. That is why you should always contact an attorney for maintaining and renewing your IP rights.

The unlawful use and reproduction of your idea can immediately be taken legal action by consulting your attorney. Once the violator is declared liable, you might obtain compensation from the benefits that the violator made from using your protected intellectual property (IP).

And, still, if you are unable to make a decision, there is one thing that can help you make a decision. For instance, let’s say you are into a distracted driving accident in the Pendergrass (a city in Georgia), what will you do?

You can not easily prove that it wasn’t your fault, and here is where you need a car accident lawyer Pendergrass to help you gather the evidence. Proving it wasn’t your fault is a comprehensive job of such attorneys since they know what to do and what not to.

2. Patent auditing or intellectual property (IP) assessment

Intellectual property lawyers are reliable in conducting due diligence. They can take reasonable steps after evaluating the size and nature of the assets you own under your name.

Similar to finance auditors who assess a company’s tangible assets like balance sheets, revenues, capital, and operating costs, patent and trademark lawyers evaluate the value of the knowledge or the innovation assets, which are usually intangible.

By valuing the company’s intellectual property, the patent attorney can give you an idea about how much your business has a competitive advantage over your rivals in terms of innovation.

A patent attorney does a due diligence assessment to conclude whether your business’s IP is well-protected and represented adequately. A patent lawyer also helps to assess the risk that the startup’s IP has from rival competitors.

3. Specialize in the legal representation of inventors

Applying for a patent and trademark is a complicated procedure, and it requires expert lawyers to interpret the rules and regulations.

Hiring a patent attorney helps negotiate contracts, file documents, and present a legal description of inventors. Sometimes, filing a patent or registering a trademark comes with a few bumps, i.e., when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sends your application back for further actions or corrections.

These are often called trademark office actions. A good trademark attorney helps you navigate flawlessly through trademark office action and makes the patent filing faster.

Patent and Trademark Attorneys: 6 Powerful Roles Explained

4. Draft legal agreements to register and securely maintain IP

A patent and trademark attorney plays a vital role in drafting the essential legal documents for patenting.

Drafting a license agreement may seem an easy task. Still, in reality, it is by far the most difficult one as the attorney has to insert well researched precautionary clauses in the agreements that help transfer technology safely and rightfully.

Not just registering the patent contract, but the intellectual property (IP) lawyers can also help IP owners maintain their property.

5. Valuation of your intellectual property

Developing an innovative product is not enough. If you are to monetize it by either selling it or licensing it to a third party, you need to know the price tag of your intellectual property.

A patent and trademark lawyer can determine the value of your company’s logo, symbol, trademark, or product patents by assessing the cost, features, and industry requirements that your product or design caters to. These Intangible assets are the essential building blocks that add up to the brand value.

The trademark attorneys also take into account the geographic location and the nature of the intellectual property while doing the valuation to get a more regional or local assessment rather than just a generic value. Although a rough estimate, the IP valuation is still a beneficial move for you to pitch for funding, expand your markets, or simply as a competitive strategy.

The valuation of patents and trademarks includes checking whether the patent is novel enough, new development, or to determine the nature of inventions and patent specifications. Besides, there are various factors that influence Intellectual property valuation. These are: 

i). Standard of value

The most commonly used standards by attorneys are fair price value and fair market value. A fair market value standard is defined as the price at which a service or asset transfers from a seller to the buyer.

In this, we assume that buyers and sellers have a fair knowledge of facts and assets, and hence transactions take smoothly. Whereas in fair market value, the price is based on the value in use.

ii). Purpose of valuation

The purpose of evaluation holds vital significance. For instance, valuation for investment or commercial usage would be different.

Here, international value standards define the rate at which a willing buyer and willing seller complete the transaction, and both agree upon the facts, prudently without any compulsion.

iii). Valuation methods

There are two types of valuation methods viz market method and cost method. The method applied affects the value of an intellectual property asset.

The cost method is only used to find out the research and development (R&D) cost only and is not commonly used for major valuation as it ignores several facets of IP.

iv). Nature and strength of intellectual property asset

The strength of an asset determines its valuation in the market among competitors. Factors like customer responsiveness, market distribution, etc. determine its value at the best.

Besides that, the business should not ignore the threat of substitutes and new entries, as they affect the value of IP assets drastically.

Counsel on intellectual property laws

6. Counsel on intellectual property laws

When it comes to intellectual property law violation, ignorance, or a layman’s knowledge of the laws cannot be an excuse.

Patent and trademark attorneys are masters with every IP law and keep you warned about the ramifications in case you knowingly or unknowingly violate the law. Throughout your business journey, they help you keep your intangible assets safe.

And by choosing an IP lawyer possessing expert experience on intellectual property licenses, you will be lawfully equipped to protect your IP rights if someone charges you for IP infringement. 

Conclusion: Patent and trademark attorneys’ roles today

Lastly, you need patent attorneys not just to secure a patent or renew it but also to defend against any legal mistakes. If you are a startup, your primary focus is mostly on the creative side of the business, and generally, the legal aspects lose their importance.

Having a good lawyer by your side will also ensure your data stays protected, and you don’t have to bear substantial financial consequences due to compliance issues.

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