Trademarks are super important to a startup. They allow you to protect your company’s name, and to specify which types (classes) of goods and services your company’s trademark should be applied to. For example, coffee mugs vs. outdoor apparel. Trademarks are intangible assets, and can be bought, sold or licensed.
With that said, it's certainly possible to apply for a trademark on your own. But if you have high hopes for your business and your intellectual property, trying to get through the process without an attorney probably isn’t worth the short-term savings. Hire a competent IP lawyer who will make sure everything is protected from the get-go. You'll thank yourself down the road.
These are the advantages of registering a trademark:
- it grants the right to use the registered trademark symbol: ®,
- it grants the right to file a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court and to obtain monetary damages,
- it acts as a bar to the registration of another confusingly similar mark,
- ability to have the customs service block the importation of goods bearing an infringing mark, and
- it may serve as the basis for an international trademark application.