You have undoubtedly heard of LegalZoom if you watch television or listen to the radio. LegalZoom is an online document preparation service that cannot provide you with any legal advice or guidance because it is not a law firm. All communications you have with LegalZoom are not covered by the attorney-client privilege and will not be treated as confidential by the Trademark Office or any court in the U.S.
Because LegalZoom offers to prepare and file your trademark application for a fee that is substantially less than what most trademark attorneys would charge, it is no wonder that prospective clients will sometimes ask me why they shouldn’t just use LegalZoom and save a few hundred dollars. For a small business on a tight budget, this is a reasonable question to ask.
Let me explain how LegalZoom’s trademark application service works. LegalZoom provides you with an online questionnaire that mimics the official trademark application form that is freely available on the Trademark Office’s website. You complete the questionnaire and then submit your answers to LegalZoom along with your credit card payment. A non-attorney at LegalZoom then logs onto the Trademark Office’s website, retypes your answers into the trademark application form, and submits the application to the Trademark Office. Sounds pretty great, right?
Not exactly. I’m sure you have heard of the saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” Well, that is exactly what you get with LegalZoom. Nobody at LegalZoom is checking your answers for accuracy. Nobody is asking you the kinds of questions that will ensure that only correct and complete information gets entered onto the trademark application form. If you make a mistake filling out LegalZoom’s questionnaire, that mistake is going to end up in your trademark application. If your application matures into a trademark registration, it could be subject to a trademark cancellation on the basis that it contains materially false information. This can lead to very dire consequences.
In addition, because LegalZoom is not a law firm, it cannot represent you should your trademark application be rejected by the Trademark Office or challenged by someone during the 30 day trademark opposition period. LegalZoom also cannot provide legal representation in the event you are sued for trademark infringement or need to pursue a lawsuit against someone who is infringing your trademark.
Now, I know you’re probably thinking that I just want to scare you away from using LegalZoom so that you will hire me to prepare and file your trademark application instead. YES, I am absolutely trying to dissuade people like you from using LegalZoom because of the poor value of its service and the unacceptable risk it poses to the successful registration of your trademark. I also fully admit that you will spend more working with an experienced and knowledgeable trademark attorney than you will with LegalZoom. But, this is because I offer you valuable advice, guidance, and consultation. I will spend time speaking with you and asking you questions that are not on the trademark application form to ensure that I understand your business and have all the information I need to correctly and promptly prepare your trademark application. I want to build a long-term relationship with you and be on your team as your business grows. You can be sure that not a single LegalZoom employee cares about any of that.
If you have any questions about why using LegalZoom is very often not a wise choice, please feel free to give me a call. I look forward to hearing from you soon.