In this third installment of my series on Trademarkia, I will take a look at Trademarkia’s trademark application filing service. If you haven’t read my first two articles about Trademarkia, you may find it beneficial to do so before continuing. You can read my earlier articles by clicking below:
More Disturbing Truths about Trademarkia (a/k/a LegalForce)
Now that you know a little more about Trademarkia’s business practices and its trademark search service, we’re ready to delve into the trademark application service offered by Trademarkia and the law firm of Raj Abhyanker.
As background, a trademark application is a legal document filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the purpose of seeking federal registration of a trademark. It is recommended that the application be prepared and submitted after a comprehensive trademark search has indicated that the desired mark is available for use and registration in connection with specific products or services.
If you are at all familiar with Trademarkia, you already know that its website is dedicated to upselling visitors. So, it should be no surprise that Trademarkia actually offers three different options for people wanting to federally register a trademark:
1) Trademarkia’s “Standard Package”
The Standard Package entails the user completing an online form provided by Trademarkia. This form essentially mimics the official trademark application form provided by the USPTO and is a typical fill-in-the-blank workflow.
Like most of Trademarkia’s offerings, the Standard Package is pretty much do-it-yourself. It does not appear that the application is prepared by a trademark attorney. However, Trademarkia does state that the application is “paralegal reviewed” and “attorney managed” (whatever that means).
But here’s the sad truth: if you type incorrect or incomplete information into the form, the application will be submitted with incorrect and incomplete information. There will be NO inquiry, consultation, recommendations, or guidance provided by Trademarkia to help ensure that your application only contains accurate and complete information. It’s a classic case of “garbage in, garbage out.”
As you can see, when you purchase Trademarkia’s Standard Package, you are basically flying solo. If you want to fly solo, I recommend that you simply cut out the middleman (Trademarkia) and go straight to the Trademark Office’s website where you can fill out the official application form and file it online. You’ll save some money and you’ll very likely be in no worse position than if you had lined Trademarkia’s pockets.
2) Trademarkia’s “Plus Package”
The Plus Package is nothing more than the Standard Package, plus one year of trademark monitoring, a cease and desist letter forms package, and a trademark assignment form template.
Is the Plus Package worth the upcharge? Absolutely not. It turns out all these extra “benefits” are not really benefits at all. For example, trademark monitoring is worthless for most small and start-up businesses because they generally do not have the resources to pursue potential infringements even if they came across them. Furthermore, if the trademark application does not mature into a registration, then the need for trademark monitoring is greatly diminished or even completely eliminated.
Next, we have the cease and desist letter forms package. This is also a waste of money. Why? Because there is no such thing as a “standard” cease and desist notice. Every situation is different and thus requires an individualized approach. More importantly, how will a trademark owner even know whether sending a cease and desist notice is really in their best interest? The decision to send a cease and desist letter requires research and careful consideration of the risks associated with taking such action. Last time I looked, a form cannot provide such an important assessment.
Finally, the trademark assignment template fails for the same reason as the cease and desist letter forms – everyone’s circumstances are different. It is depressing to say, but Trademarkia’s one-size-fits-all approach regarding these forms and templates will quite likely do you more harm than good.
3) Trademarkia’s “Gold Package”
The Gold Package provides everything in the Plus Package, along with an attorney consultation, a “knock-out” trademark search, priority processing of the trademark application, and a PDF copy of the application materials.
Except for the attorney consultation, the other benefits are essentially useless…despite this being the highest-priced package offered by Trademarkia. First, a basic “knock-out” search can be performed for free on the Trademark Office’s website. Second, priority processing isn’t as exclusive as it sounds because most law firms will process a trademark application within a few days. And third, the application materials in PDF format will be freely available for download from the Trademark Office’s website within a few days of the application being filed.
Without question, most of the “benefits” of the Gold Package aren’t really true benefits at all. You’ll be paying over three times the cost of the Standard Package, but receiving very little additional value. Unfortunately, most people have no clue that they’re being duped by Trademarkia because the Gold Package “sounds” so comprehensive and complete. The truth is that it’s filled with gimmicks and throwaways.
The Real Kicker: You Must Consent to Use the Law Firm of Raj Abhyanker
There is one more thing you should know about Trademarkia’s trademark application process. Regardless of which of the three trademark application packages you choose, you must agree to use Raj Abhyanker’s law firm for the preparation and filing of your trademark application. So, unless you decide to change law firms during the course of the trademark application process, you will be locked into paying Raj Abhyanker additional fees that arise after the application is submitted.
And make no mistake about it, there will likely be additional fees and costs. But, not surprisingly, Trademarkia’s website fails to mention what happens if your trademark application is rejected by the Trademark Office or challenged by a third-party during the opposition period. There is almost nothing on the Trademarkia website that even hints at these potential expenditures. And yet, these costs are a very real possibility…especially considering Trademarkia’s one-size-fits-all approach to trademark registration encompasses little, if any, advice and guidance.
Moreover, when a trademark application is filed on an “intent-to-use” basis (meaning the trademark is not yet in commercial use), a document called the Statement of Use will have to be submitted to the USPTO at some point down the road. There will be additional government and legal fees to prepare and file the Statement of Use. Do you see anything on Trademarkia.com (or Legalforce.com) that explains this step and its associated costs? Do you see anything that outlines other steps that may need to be taken after the application is filed? If there is any such information, it certainly is not prominently or conspicuously displayed.
Now, I’ll let you decide whether you are being intentionally or unintentionally misled…but either way, you are being misled.
One last point – Trademarkia also talks about automated reminders and notices regarding the status of your trademark application. Just so you know, this benefit is neither exclusive nor extraordinary. I don’t think there are many trademark attorneys out there who wouldn’t keep their clients up-to-date on the status of their applications and notify them of any impending deadlines.
How to Streamline your Trademark Application and Registration…
It almost sounds too simple, but the way to streamline the trademark registration process is to avoid uncertainty, delays, and setbacks. You can do this by hiring a licensed and experienced trademark attorney from the very beginning rather than using a do-it-yourself website like Trademarkia.
Let’s face it, everyone’s needs are different. What is right for others will rarely be right for you. So how can Trademarkia’s one-size-fits-all approach possibly meet your unique trademark application and registration needs? Only by working with a dedicated and skilled trademark attorney will you be provided what you need most – individualized advice and assistance.
As a US trademark attorney, I will provide you with all of the legal advice and information you need to make informed decisions. You will receive personalized service from the moment you contact me, whether it be for conducting a trademark search, preparing your trademark application, resolving a trademark dispute, or any other trademark need you may have.
Furthermore, I know you’re concerned about cost. That’s why I tell you my fees upfront (click here for my flat-fee schedule). Remember, these fees are for REAL trademark assistance, tailored for you and performed correctly and promptly from the start. There will be no games, surprises, tricks, or misleading “trademark packages.”
If you have any questions about searching, registering, or defending your trademark(s), please give me a call at (314) 749-4059. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.