2015 Clocktower Law Group Fees

2015 Clocktower Law Group Fees.

Clocktower Law Group


Effective 2015-01-01, Clocktower’s billing rate is $425/hour, the same rate as in 2014. In the name of transparency, this info has been posted online (http://www.erikjheels.com/5013.html) and has been emailed to all clients of Clocktower Law Group.

Unlike most law firms, Clocktower posts its fees on its website (http://www.clocktowerlaw.com/Fees). And as it says on our website, Clocktower does a couple dozen things really well and charges flat-rate fees for most of those things. For the hourly stuff, we can tell you the average costs (based on 10+ years of data) so you can budget accordingly. Clocktower simplifies its fee structure at least annually and welcomes your feedback.

Additional changes include the following:

  • Added flat-rate items for filing foreign trademarks (Europe, Madrid Protocol countries, and non-Madrid countries).
  • Added flat-rate items for trademark renewals (US and foreign).
  • Eliminated flat-rate patent office action replies. We experimented with this in 2014, but there was simply too much variance in order to make this work well. We continue to offer flat-rate trademark office action replies.
  • Increased flat-rate fees for patent and trademark searches, as we continue to believe that searching is the foundation upon which your IP rights are built.
  • Increased flat-rate fees for PCT application and design patent applications.
  • Reduced flat-rate fees for miscellaneous patent and trademark filings (assignments, POAs, etc.).
  • Reduced hourly rates for foreign patents and trademarks and IP counseling. We experimented with this in 2014, but we feel that offering different hourly rates contradicts our “one blended rate” rule that we’ve been using for over a decade.
  • Replaced finance charges on overdue balances with flat-rate late fees.

Many startups ask when it makes sense to file foreign patents and trademarks. If you budget 1% of revenues for protecting IP, then it makes sense to file foreign patents when you have about $5.0M of revenue in a particular country, and it makes sense to file foreign trademarks when you have about $0.5M of revenue in a particular country.

We have also updated our proposal letter (http://www.clocktowerlaw.com/Clients/clocktowerlaw-proposal.pdf) to include communication, technology, document retention, and mistake policies, including the following:

  • Communication.
    • All of our key emails and letters include three sections: (1) what’s here, (2) requested action, and (3) next steps.
    • We use descriptive subjects (including our docket name and number, so that emails are easier to search/find).
    • We date documents in YYYY-MM-DD format (so sort-by-name equals sort-by-date).
    • We CC info@clocktowerlaw.com on key emails (and ask you to please CC info@clocktowerlaw.com in your replies) as email to that address goes to all of us in the firm.
  • Technology. We run the majority of the firm’s business off of the latest versions of Acrobat, FileMaker, and OpenOffice. For billing, we use QuickBooks Pro 2014, apologize in advance for its quirkiness, and are actively seeking its replacement. We replace computers every four years, phones every two.
  • Document Retention. We save key documents as PDFs in your file. We retain email metadata for one year, email messages for four years, and all other files for ten years, after which we delete them. We backup all documents on site and off (with multiple cloud backup providers). We don’t maintain paper files.
  • Mistakes. Clocktower is not perfect, no law firm is perfect. When we make a mistake, we will admit it, fix it as soon as possible, to the best of our ability, to the extent possible, and at no charge to our client.

Continuous improvement is our goal. That plus translating the legalese of patent and trademark law into plain English so that you can make the right business decisions at the right time.

In 2014, 12 of 18 services (67%) provided by Clocktower were flat rate.

In 2015, 15 of 21 services (71%) provided by Clocktower are flat rate.

So we believe we are moving in the right direction.

Thank you for your referrals and your business!

Erik J. Heels
Manager, Clock Tower Law Group LLC (DBA Clocktower Law Group, AKA Clocktower)

Erik J. Heels is a patent and trademark lawyer for Boston startups, Red Sox fan, MIT engineer, and musician. He blogs about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll at ErikJHeels.com.

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LawLawLaw 2014-12-31

A newsletter by Clocktower Law Group founder Erik J. Heels about trends in technology, intellectual property (IP) law (patent law, trademark law), baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll.

LawLawLaw Newsletter


My name is Erik Heels, and this is my LawLawLaw newsletter: subscribe at http://www.LawLawLaw.com. LawLawLaw is about technology, law (mostly patents and trademarks), baseball (mostly Red Sox), and music (mostly rock).

Today’s disclaimer du jour of the day: No lifeguard on duty.

Thanks for reading!


Patents, Trademarks, Boston



Technology, Law, Baseball, Rock ‘n’ Roll

Tech Stuff

I’m always amused by “year in review” articles that appear before December 31st. How do they know?

In the past year, social networks trended down. At least for me. All of the online empires have a beginning, middle, and end. As much as I like Google, it would be nice if they updated their UI on key products (cough, Gmail, cough) more than once per decade. So don’t be surprised when random Google products suddenly end.

* How To Delete Your Embarrassing Tweets Now That They Are Searchable (2014-12-25)
95% of Tweets are junk.

* What Happens to Your Social Accounts When You Die (2014-07-01)
Probably won’t happen to you.

* Apple Kills Aperture And iPhoto (2014-06-27)
Urg. What am I supposed to use now? Picasa?

* How To Regain Your Social Networking Virginity (2014-04-01)
Simplifying your life on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networks.

Patent Law Stuff

Patent law, much to my chagrin, has become polluted by politics. Not as polluted at copyright law, but give it time. The sooner we return to the rule of law – vs. the rule of man – the better, because man keeps changing her mind. Trust me, you don’t want courts and politicians dabbling in patent law.

* SCOTUS Publishes Alice Guidelines v2 (2014-12-15)
Yay, more guidelines! More dabbling!

* Former Exec. From [Anti-Patent] Google Named USPTO Director (2014-10-16)
Incumbents always want to protect their incumbency. How convenient for Google to now be anti-patent after it has established dominance in the marketplace. Will all former Googlers who are now swearing off patents also swear off all of the money they earned from Google?

* SCOTUS Publishes Alice Guidelines v1 (2014-06-25)
And continues to dabble in patent law.

* SCOTUS Decides ‘Alice v. CLS Bank’ Case (2014-06-19)
While dabbling in patent law.

* Why Startups Should Always Do Patent Searches (2014-05-23)
The USPTO will never require mandatory patent searching. But I can dream.

* The Who, What, Where, When, Why, And How Of Patents (2014-03-12)
Patent law in plain English. But not in that order.

Other Law Stuff

* Explore The World’s Biggest Data Breaches With This Interactive Chart (2014-12-27)
Better security, please!

* Twitter Bug Makes Tweet Archives Unreliable For eDiscovery (2014-11-17)
Tweets from 2010 and earlier suffer from URL redirection problem.

* Court Notice Scam (2014-10-16)
We are all victims.

Baseball Stuff

* Red Sox Remake Starting Rotation, Bet on their Infield Defense (2014-12-13)
I’m going to pretend that the 2014 season never happened.

* Top 10 Reasons Shane Victorino is Worth 22 Seconds of Music (2014-03-26)
Don’t worry, about a thing, ’cause every little thing, gonna be all right!

* One More Look Back: Top 5 Moments Of The 2013 Postseason (2013-11-12)
By Surviving Grady.

* Red Sox World Series Game 6: More Than A Game (2013-10-31)
A top 10 moment at Fenway with my best friend.

* Red Sox great Yastrzemski’s statue unveiled (2013-09-22)
Go Yaz!

Music Stuff

* Rocker Jack White Rescues Music Archives of Paramount Importance (2014-12-08)
It’s a clever title because “Paramount” has two meanings.

* Does Bitrate Really Make a Difference In My Music? (2014-10-31)
Yes, see below.

* MP3 vs. CD: The Beer Test (2008-12-07)
Unless you’re a dog, a whale, or a computer, you’re not going to be able to tell the difference between a good MP3 and CD audio.

In-Case-You-Missed-It Stuff: Clocktower And Its Clients

* The Long Tail Of Mobile Games (2014-12-20)
By Jon Radoff.

* AppNexus Completes Acquisition Of Open AdStream (2014-10-31)
By AppNexus.

* Finding A Great Lawyer For Your Start-Up (2013-12-01)
By Andy Palmer.

* Free Your Law Practice’s Computing Budget (2013-09-09)
Don’t let your software party like it’s 1999.

Random Stuff

* The Visual Trickery That Turns Hockey Rinks Into Lakes of Fire (2014-12-12)
Shouldn’t it melt?

* This Chart Shows Which ‘Superfoods’ Are Backed With Scientific Evidence (2014-11-25)
I’m glad coffee made the list.

* You Can Fit Every Planet In The Solar System Between Earth And The Moon (2014-10-26)
But please don’t.

* Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now (2014-10-08)
Slow down, people! Plus: what’s better, having 1000 SUVs drive to the dump, or one dump truck?

* 1984, Pop Culture’s Best Year Ever (2014-09-18)
Also not a bad year for turning 18.

* Learn The Basic Elements Of Good Design (2014-07-30)
In under a minute.

* All The Personal Finance Advice You’ll Ever Need (2013-09-19)
On a 4×6 index card.

* The Surprising Ages Of The Founding Fathers On July 4, 1776 (2013-08-13)
James Monroe was 18, Benjamin Franklin was 70. At least I wrote a newsletter today!


The LawLawLaw newsletter, available at http://www.LawLawLaw.com, is a publication written by Clocktower Law Group founder Erik J. Heels and published by GiantPeople LLC. The opinions in LawLawLaw do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Clocktower Law Group, GiantPeople, their employees, or the author. Feel free to forward this to anyone who might enjoy it. Send content/subscription questions to info@clocktowerlaw.com. Thanks!