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How do I Become a Trademark Attorney?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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To become a trademark attorney you must obtain a law degree and relevant practical experience within the field of trademark law. Trademark attorneys work in the federal court system within the United States, so you also must be licensed to represent clients and file trademark applications within the federal legal system. Trademark attorneys serve an important role in helping protect intellectual property, so there is a great deal of education and training involved if you wish to become a trademark attorney.

The first step to become a trademark attorney is to get the appropriate preliminary education. In the United States, this means obtaining a bachelor's degree. In other countries, it means earning the equivalent, such as a university diploma in England.

Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, the next step is to obtain a legal education as required by the laws of the country in which you live. In the United States, this means attending a law school approved by the American Bar Association. Some law schools offer specializations in trademark and patent law; attending one of these schools can be a wise idea of you wish to become a trademark attorney, but doing so is not required. Attending any ABA approved law school will be sufficient, provided you take courses in copyrights, patent and trademarks. Because trademark law is governed on a federal level, you should also take courses in federal civil procedure.

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After graduating from law school, you must then fulfill other requirements as set by the country in which you live. In the United States, this means taking the bar examination and then being recommended to practice at the federal level by an attorney in good standing. In Australia, to become a trademark attorney, you must register with the Professional Standards Board. Because the laws differ from country to country, it is best to speak with the local patents and trademarks office or department in your relevant jurisdiction to find out the specific requirements in your area.

Gaining relevant experience is the next step. This is normally done in the confines of a law firm, since it is rare to be able to find private clients immediately. During this time, you will gain experience in filing trademark applications with the governing body. In the United States, this is the United States Patent and Trademark office.

Trademarks are identifying marks that delineate a brand, so acting as a trademark attorney involves knowing the rules for how to follow such an application and understanding what can be trademarked. A celebrity's image, for example, can be trademarked by that celebrity so no one may use his likeness without his permission; a brand identifying mark such as the Nike swoosh or Coach purses interlocking C's can also be trademarked. This body of law is distinct from copyright law, which protects original works of authorship that serve only an artistic purpose, and patent law, which protects inventions that serve or perform a tangible function, such as patents for machines and formulas for drug therapy.

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