##Is it necessary to hire an attorney to submit a TM registration application or is it something a lay person could do?
We're a startup and just released our first product. We want to protect our logo (both design and words) but our budget is very small. I've done some research and taken a look at the application form. There are some areas that will require some heavy thought...but it doesn't seem too difficult. Am I correct in assuming that I can take this on myself?
No. You are not required to hire an attorney. Here is a quote from the US Trademark Office website:
Although not required, most applicants use private trademark attorneys for legal advice regarding use of their trademark, filing an application, and the likelihood of success in the registration process, since not all applications proceed to registration. A private trademark attorney (not associated with the USPTO) may help you avoid many potential pitfalls.
There is also the Trademark Assistance Center at the US Trademark Office. This is a phone number and email address that you can use to talk to customer service representatives at the US Trademark Office. They provide (technical) information about the Trademark Registration Process. They can be reached at please e-mail TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov, or telephone 1-800-786-9199.
Finally, a trademark attorney will help you with your trademark beyond the US Registration. For example, if a client has retained me to register the mark, then, the first step of enforcement of the trademark rights is simpler, because I already have the required documentation. For example, some states have additional beneficial trademark laws. Arizona allows for statutory damages in trademark disputes. A trademark attorney would be aware of these other rights and responsibilities.
Good luck with your trademark registration.