The future of trademark law is online, where trademark law firms will conduct most of their business rather than using old technology in overpriced downtown offices.
The creation and rise of the internet allows for people to communicate in revolutionary ways that were only imaginable in science fiction films as late as the 1990s. Most Americans have more computing power in their pockets than was used to send the Neil Armstrong to the moon. With technology and communication revolution brought by the internet, the way business is done has completely changed. But where is the change in the legal profession?
Out with the Old - 20th Century Trademark Law Firms
Unlike other industries such as retail, transportation, accommodations and more, the legal industry has been slow to adapt to the newest technology in ways that save clients time and money. Sure, law firms use email and file forms online, but they are using the internet as a tool to improve on the pre-existing law firm structure, rather than re-imagine the whole business model.
For example, why do so many law firms still pay tens of thousands of dollars for expensive office space in midtown Manhattan, downtown London, or in a Los Angeles skyscraper? Trademark owners with an internet connection can communicate just as easily with a trademark attorney in a the suburbs or a rural area as one sitting thirty floors up in an expensive Washington, D.C. office.
Why do trademark lawyers spend thousands of dollars a year to travel to trademark conventions when they can save tons of money on flights, accommodations and more by streaming the conference online? For example, the International Trademark Association (INTA) host an annual conference that every trademark attorney from large law firms and corporations attends. The meetings take place in cities such as Seattle, Barcelona, and Hong Kong. The parties are extravagant, and the costs for flights and hotels quickly add up. All these costs are then passed on to trademark clients.
The majority of trademark law firms still operate like it is the 1960s when trying to get new clients and keep old clients happy. Rather than seeking clients online for a low cost, and letting their work speak for itself, trademark firms schmooze clients with extravagant dinners, over the top Christmas presents, and catered parties with top shelf liquor all bought and paid for. It is obviously nice being wined and dined, but ultimately a law firm’s clients pay the bills for their extravagant dinners, parties, and downtown offices in the world’s most expensive cities.
If the legal profession wants to become more accessible to all trademark owners, ranging from the entrepreneur with a new idea for a product and brand, to the international corporations, it needs to rethink why legal fees cost so much. One of the reasons many people are still priced out of quality trademark attorneys is that the legal profession has not embraced the communication technologies and other innovations that created Amazon, Uber, HelloFresh and more!
In with the New - 21st Century Trademark Law Firms
Granite Trademark Services is part of the online trademark law firm revolution
Although the internet did not change the world on January 1, 2000, the revolution was well underway and by around 2015, the old way of trademark firms doing business should have been scrapped in favor of incorporating new technologies and innovations seen in other industries.
One way the internet and new communication technologies have change the way business is done is that companies, large and small, can decentralize their workforce and allow employees to work from home. For the most part, there is no need for employees to sit near each other to get work done and communicate.
Similarly, law firms can cut back on expensive downtown leases by decentralizing their workforce. Online trademark attorneys can work from smaller offices, a coffee shop, or even their home while wearing jeans and t-shirt and be just as effective as an overpriced big city attorney wearing a $3,000+ suit. So why do law firms still do business like it is 1988 rather than 2018?
Just like trademark attorneys do not need to sit in a centralized trademark office to be effective counsel, trademark clients do not need to sit across the table from a trademark attorney to receive competent legal advice and assistance. Several emails and a phone call or two (maybe a FaceTime session) can be just as effective as any face to face meeting and likely more efficient.
In addition, the benefit of online trademark law firms to trademark owners is potential trademark clients can shop around for a trademark lawyer and firm that provides the best value for their needs rather than being locked into what trademark firms exist in the nearest large city. In other words, access to the internet allows trademark clients to be more picky about what trademark law firm they hire to do their work. Geographic barriers are disappearing!
Another way online trademark law firms are more efficient and will ultimately force traditional law firms to innovate or die is that many younger attorneys are starting to realize the costs of large trademark conferences in exotic cities wastes tons of money. The reason why INTA conferences take place is to make sure trademark attorneys stay up to date with trends and any changes in the law.
However, a cheaper and more efficient way to do this would be to simply watch a stream of the conferences or changes to law. It is actually easier to follow a presentation on Youtube, which can be paused and rewinded, rather than sit in a room with hundreds of other people trying to focus on what is going on. Again, the legal industry is stuck in the past rather than looking forward to ways to help clients.
Lastly, online trademark law firms are more likely to have upfront, flat fee trademark pricing rather than bill clients by the hour. This allows their clients to know what their legal fees will cost before the process so they are not hit with expensive, surprise bills after the process is over.
Online trademark law firms are the way of the future because they are better for clients. Ultimately, consumers dictate the market and as more consumers leave the traditional law firms for online law firms because costs are lower, communication is more efficient, and traditional geographic barriers are removed. Once enough people make the switch, the traditional law firms will begin to disappear and be replaced by the firms who focus on their clients needs rather than attending the best parties, wearing the best suits or focusing on becoming a partner in the corner office.
Do you have any questions about online trademark firms or have any trademark questions in general? Contact us today for a free trademark consultation and one of our attorneys will contact you soon!