This is not an existential question, but the title of a new research study by Deborah Gerhardt and Jon McClanahan, soon to be published in the Stanford Technology Law Review, 2013.
It is no secret that non-lawyers can file federal trademark applications, just as individuals can incorporate companies and perform any number of legal tasks for themselves. The question is, is it really smart for them to do so? Lawyers are often asked, if the online, self-help sites file all the documents you need for a whole range of legal services, all at what seem like reasonable prices, what do you gain by hiring a lawyer to do these things for you?
Gerhardt and McClanahan provide empirical evidence that may help to make the decision simpler. On average, they discovered, only 42% of trademark applications filed by pro se (i.e., “do-it-yourself”) applicants were ultimately successful in registering. When they…
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