Many of us learn best through the use of memory devices known as mnemonics. So in honor of all you Scrabble ® fans out there, here is a “G-R-E-A-T” way to interview and select a trademark lawyer to represent your legal interests before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board:
“G” is for Geography. Since trademark law if federal in nature, is really does not matter if your lawyer’s office is in suburban Des Moines even though your company is located in New Jersey. This is especially true since the overwhelming majority of cases before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board are submitted on the papers – meaning that your attorney’s physical presence in the Trademark Office is never required.
“”R” is for Rent. If your lawyer is a partner in a large firm with offices located in the top floor of an impressive building in a wonderful city, chances are you will help to pay for the luxury of remaining in that location in the form of higher hourly rates. In fact, a recent survey by Incisive Legal Intelligence on national average hourly billing rates supports this point.
“E” is for Experience. When we think of experience, the best lawyers are the ones not only with subject matter knowledge, or even a history of handling the same types of cases. In fact, these are the minimum requirements of any “good” lawyer. What makes a great lawyer is one who is able to achieve your desired results in the least amount of time for the least amount of money while exposing you to the least amount of risk. Sounds simple? It isn’t.
“A” is for Aptitude. The Trademark Board Manual of Procedure is like a big instruction booklet that comes with your child’s toy car – with the big difference being that if your trademark lawyer doesn’t know how to successfully put together a trademark opposition or cancellation, you may find yourself losing more than just a toy.
“T” is for Timing. To many lawyers, it’s “time” that is everything – as in billable hours. That is why hourly fee arrangements continue to remain so popular among law firms. In today’s business environment, what matters are results. Therefore, always insist that your attorneys agree to a flat-fee arrangement when representing you and your company in a United States Patent and Trademark Office case. Successful results are often the product of preparation and timing – not the number of hours expended.