2015 Clocktower Law Group Fees.
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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org on key emails (and ask you to please CC email@example.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.