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What are the best sources for patent and trademark articles and how-tos?

I admire your fearfulness to complete these complicated applications on your own! I think most of the articles and sites you come across will recommend consulting with an attorney. It may seem like an unattractive option for a bootstrapped startup, but the ability to fully protect your valuable intellectual property (IP) is priceless. And I know what you’re thinking – if I’m bright enough to create a product or company then I can surely figure out how to apply for a patent/trademark. Well, I have heard too many horror stories from entrepreneurs on their failures of trying to complete legal work on their own. What initially appears as a financially savvy decision to complete the applications on your own ends up being a super expensive endeavor in the long run when you need an attorney to clean up your mess.

I also caution you about “DIY” sites like LegalZoom. Although it may seem like these sites are equivalent to hiring an attorney, don’t be fooled. The guides that you can purchase often fall short of covering every nuance that occurs in the IP world. Also, a guide will be unable to catch and advise you on any areas of concern (aka red flags) that an attorney would notice.

I invite you to check out LawTrades for flat-fee IP packages. Our network of talented IP and patent attorneys have guided countless entrepreneurs through the complicated United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) procedures.

For all those overly ambitious entrepreneurs out there, here are some helpful links:

  • Answers by LawTrades (this covers a broad range of helpful legal topics)
  • Obtaining some basic understanding of patents and intellectual property in general is a good idea prior to starting your application. Princeton offers a very good primer on patents and IP that could help you expand you knowledge of what’s involved in protecting your ideas. The USPTO offers a “General FAQs” page that combines Q&As for the various forms of IP that the office handles.
  • For patents, the USPTO offers a bunch of great info on what is required, how it should be presented, what the specification and drawings should look like, and a host of other important information. You can find more information about getting started from the USPTO here.
  • Take a look at my past post titled “how do I write a good provisional patent application,” which discusses what’s required for a sufficient description and drawing, as well as links to helpful patent search engines.
  • MIT has a website containing useful links for entrepreneurs like you attempting to file on their own.
  • For trademarks, the USPTO offers a subsection on “Trademark Basics,” which includes a helpful 42-minute video on the process of completing a trademark application as well as other more specific videos.
  • The Wall Street Journal has a helpful article titled “How to Register a Trademark for a Company Name.”

Hope this helped! Feel free to message me with any other questions you have. Best of luck!

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