As a trademark lawyer that handles trademark opposition and trademark cancellation cases, I have a simple philosophy in dealing with the business and legal challenges that my clients face as a result of being involved in litigation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
1. Listen to the Client
It is often difficult for people to truly listen to the other person while having a conversation. This is doubly true when it comes to a trademark attorney listening to his or her client. What are the client’s needs? What is their preferred outcome? What are their cost constraints? These and many other questions need to be answered prior to engaging in the attorney/client relationship.
2. Be Respectful of Your Client’s Money
Many trademark attorneys operate under a scorched-earth policy, where they believe that the best way to service their client’s needs is to be highly aggressive, both in dealing with opposing counsel and the amount of paper that they generate as part of the case. It it my experience that part of this aggression is economic in nature: if a trademark attorney is charging hourly for his services, then it is in his or her interest to generate as many billable hours as possible as part of the trademark opposition case. Yes, you heard me right! Is this the rule? Certalnly not. But you should be mindful of hiring attorneys who will not discuss with you a flat-fee option or at the very least, a cap on their fees for the case.
3. Be Respectful of Opposing Counsel
Having a pleasant and respectul working relationship with the attorney for the other side is essential to best serving the needs of your client. Why? Because by doing so, this often saves the client money in attorney’s fees. If I am able to cooperate with opposing counsel during the case, many potential disputes regarding the discovery process can be avoided, leading to less time (and billable hours) spent on fighting and more time on seeking an amicable resolution that is in the best interests of my client.
There are many fine trademark attorneys who adhere to the above tenets of professional collegiality. They are the ones who are a pleasure to deal with and who quite often best serve the interests of their clients.