Alt Legal CEO Publishes Article in World Trademark Review

World Trademark Review published a column by Alt Legal’s CEO and founder Nehal Madhani its August/September issue. In the piece, titled “Leveraging modern technology,” Madhani describes the necessity of modernization for national IP offices.

As a starting place, he advocates online filing systems and open data access for IP offices and highlights the impact of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) going paperless. Beyond mere convenience, applicants filing electronically experience more immediate success than those who file paper applications. The first action approval rate for paper applicants was 9.8 percent, while it was between 16.2 and 33.5 percent for those filing online, Madhani notes.

Although electronic filing procedures around the world denote progress in accessibility and efficiency, Madhani envisions national IP offices as “information-driven platforms which can readily receive and dispense information.” To this end, he advocates the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), which could allow IP attorneys and others to automate the data retrieval and modification process through computer programing channels. Establishing these avenues could ultimately eliminate many of the tedious aspects of IP filings, reduce cost, and in effect, democratize the process to increase access to people around the world, Madhani says.

Read “Leveraging modern technology” from World Trademark Review’s August/September issue here.

What’s Your Law Firm Technology Stack?

Whether you’re starting a new law firm or upgrading your current practice, you’re likely faced with more than a few choices when it comes to technology. Which practice management application should you choose? What email provider do you use? How do you set up a phone line? Both the big and small decisions might seem intimidating—or terrifying. Don’t let your worries paralyze you; get started with a few simple steps.

Creating your online presence  

Choose a domain name (or names)
Pick a clear, easy-to-remember URL: Your domain name is the first impression would-be clients will get of your business. If you market different kinds of services, consider using multiple domain names to tailor your message to each audience. Check the ethical regulations in your state to determine whether your firm name needs to be in the domain or if you can rely on a trade name.

Build the website
With your domain registered, it’s time to build your site. Instead of hiring an expensive and time- consuming web developer, get started quickly with website-building service like Squarespace or Strikingly. These services come with templates, but you can also hire a designer to enhance the templates if you really want to make it your own. Within minutes, you can have a modern website that looks great across all devices, including mobile. Indeed, more people now search on mobile and tablet devices than on computers, so search engines weigh your mobile website when calculating your firm’s search rankings.

Set up your email infrastructure
We recommend using Google Apps or Office 365. Both allow you to brand for your law firm while also offering ample account storage and access to collaborative tools. Google Apps is particularly powerful because you can add plugins such as Rapportive (which shows you all of a contact’s social media profiles based on his or her email address while you are sending an email).

Finding an office and setting up your phones

Find an office phone app
Communication is king. For phones, we recommend UberConference and Dialpad for relatively cost-effective systems that include features that keep your conferences and calls seamless. UberConference allows you to use screen-sharing and profile view so you’ll know exactly who’s talking during a conference. Dialpad provides a platform for making HD calls from any phone over Wi-Fi or any carrier and enables you to have your office phone accessible from anywhere.

Rent office space (or don’t)
Finding a space to work doesn’t necessarily mean renting an office. For example, if you’re a solo practitioner and want to work from home, that might be a great way to keep overhead low. You can even use services like Breather to rent conference space as needed.  Note that some states may require you to provide a physical address for your law firm. For those wanting an office, don’t forget about the new co-working companies like WeWork, which provide access to affordable and collaborative office space. There are also attorney-specific coworking spaces like Law Firm Suites and Venue


Finding the right software for your firm

Determine which practice-specific software you need
Your duty as an attorney is to provide competent representation to your clients. Depending on the area of your practice, you may also need to invest in practice-specific software. For example, at Alt Legal, we provide trademark and patent docketing software that automatically creates and dockets intellectual property filings so IP attorneys don’t miss key filing deadlines.

Set up billing software
To make billing painless, you’ll want to find a software that can intuitively track your work and charge clients accordingly. Either practice management software or independent tools like Harvest or Freshbooks provide efficient systems for this task.

Select legal research software
Beyond the traditional offerings from LexisNexis and Westlaw, some of our favorite research tools are newer solutions such as CaseText, Fastcase, and Ravel Law. They offer new ways to sort results and find valuable legal insights. For example, CaseText recently launched CARA, which automatically provides you a list of cases to review when you upload a pleading. Lastly, Fastcase offers free access to attorneys in many states if they are members of their state bar association. 

Choose practice management software
If you’re at a small law firm or a solo practice, chances are that in addition to running a law firm, you’re also responsible for the other aspects of a business like operations, accounting, and marketing. Practice management software can handle some of this for you. Clio, MyCase and Rocket Matter provide billing, task management, document assembly, and payment tools—all available on mobile devices too.

Find CRM tools
Last but certainly not least, look for the customer relationship management (CRM) tools that you’ll use to analyze your interactions with clients. One example is Streak, a cloud-based extension for Google Apps that allows you to keep your customer data organized and your correspondence targeted. Streak lets you use mail merge to send back personalized responses to common client requests. There is also Lexicata, which is a CRM and intake tool specifically developed for attorneys.

Take the time to explore the myriad of innovative tools and systems available to you as an attorney. You—and your clients—will be glad you did.

How to Start an Intellectual Property Practice- Webinar

Watch Alt Legal CEO and Founder Nehal Madhani discuss starting an intellectual property practice. Whether you are starting an entirely new practice or expanding your current firm's practice, we have several helpful tips for ensuring that your IP practice is successful. 

The webinar highlights tips for identifying the scope of your intellectual property practice, essential IP tools, and suggestions for finding clients in this space. 

Let us know in the comments if you have other tips and tricks that worked for your practice! 


Attorney Wins Free Year of Alt Legal Subscription

One lucky lawyer walked away from this year’s International Trademark Association’s Annual Meeting with a free, one-year subscription to Alt Legal’s cloud-based IP filing software. In a random drawing of business cards, we selected Paul D. Supnik, a copyright, trademark, and entertainment attorney in Beverly Hills.

Supnik, a solo practitioner, said he appreciates Alt Legal’s customizable formatting. “I like the way that a list can show you what’s coming up in the near future, and you’re able to adjust that timeframe,” he said. “You’re also able to select applicants and clients so you can quickly pull out a list of all matters you’re working for a particular client or company.”

Alt Legal takes the guesswork out of deadlines through automated software that ensures cases stay up-to-date. Its intuitive design and function allows attorneys from IP boutiques, Am Law 200 firms and corporations to increase productivity in managing intellectual property filings efficiently and confidently.

 

Alt Legal CEO Named in Fastcase 50

Alt Legal is thrilled and honored to announce that its founder and CEO, Nehal Madhani, has been listed in the 2016 Fastcase 50. The list boasts naming the 50 "smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders" in fields related to law.

Our CEO joins an impressive and diverse group of attorneys, legal technologists, policymakers, and others, all of which are helping drive change in the profession. The list features former attorney general Eric Holder and also includes other CodeX community members, including both directors Roland Vogl and Michael Genesereth.

Past years' honorees include American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard, Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan, Code for America Founder & Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka, Yale Law School Librarian for Emerging Tecnologies Jason Eiseman, Google Scholar Engineer Anurag Acharya, and hundreds of other notable figures in the legal community.

Madhani says that he is "humbled and flattered" by his inclusion on the list and looks forward to continuing to drive innovation in the legal space through Alt Legal.

Go here to learn more about the other innovators listed in the Fastcase 50.

Alt Legal Now Integrates with Microsoft Office 365

We're excited to announce our integration with Microsoft Office 365 to help our customers automatically see all of their docketing deadlines and reminders in their Outlook calendars. This integration will make it even easier for IP professionals to track and docket their portfolios and key filing deadlines. Our official announcement is below:

Alt Legal Cloud-based IP Management Software Now Integrates with Microsoft Office 365

New York, NY, June 22, 2016Alt Legal, a New York-based intellectual property (IP) management software company, is proud to announce its integration with Microsoft Office 365.

Using the Alt Legal and Office 365 integration, IP professionals will be able to automatically synchronize all of their docketing deadlines and reminders with their Microsoft Outlook calendars. This enables IP professionals to have all their key dates in a single calendar.

“Alt Legal’s mission is to simplify the preparation, docketing, and analysis of intellectual property filings for IP professionals,” said Nehal Madhani, the company’s founder and CEO. “Microsoft Office 365 is one of the leading document and collaboration platforms for legal professionals. We’re thrilled to integrate with Office 365 so that IP professionals can seamlessly manage their key deadlines and documents.  This is the first of many integrations that Alt Legal has planned for Office 365.”

Rob Howard, director, Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft remarked: “Alt Legal’s integration with Office 365 will help legal professionals focus their time on client’s needs instead of repetitive administrative tasks. The Alt Legal/Microsoft Office 365 integration will help our joint customers improve productivity and minimize risks.”

IP professionals can immediately take advantage of Alt Legal’s integration by accessing the Office 365 page from their Alt Legal account or signing up for a free trial.

About Alt Legal

Alt Legal, Inc. is a New York City-based legal software company started by Nehal Madhani, a lawyer who left a top-tier international law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, taught himself programming, and created Alt Legal. Alt Legal’s intuitive, easy-to-use cloud-based software provides IP docketing, document assembly, and analysis tools for IP professionals filing trademarks, patents, and copyrights.

Alt Legal’s software is trusted by large firms, IP boutiques, and public and private companies to handle thousands of filings every day. Alt Legal automatically updates case statuses and deadlines, seamlessly collects key client details, and instantly generates IP filings. For more information, visit www.altlegal.com or follow on Twitter @altlegalhq.

INTA 2016 is here!

INTA is going to be amazing this year! We're looking forward to another record 10,000 attendees, Orlando weather, and sharing lots of Alt Legal announcements! Our CEO and our head legal product developer will be at booth #923. Schedule your demo here.

Our past experiences have taught us that INTA is best when we take advantage of both the brilliant official content and the exciting unofficial networking events. To get us all off on the right foot, here are some of the events we've found happening around INTA this year. Let us know if we've missed any.

Hope to see you in Orlando!

Some of these events may be invite-only or require a purchased ticket.  See the event links for more information.

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Monday, May 23rd, 2016 

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

New Features and Integrations at INTA 2016

We're excited to unveil our new and improved TTAB and international docketing tools at INTA Orlando. See our official announcement is below!

We'll be demonstrating our latest features and integrations at INTA's 2016 Annual Meeting in Orlando. Schedule your demo here.

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May 20, 2016

Alt Legal will be demonstrating new products and integrations starting Sunday at the 2016 International Trademark Association Annual Meeting (INTA) in Orlando. Today, Alt Legal announced new tools that instantly docket Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) proceedings and the addition of pre-programmed international rules for managing global trademark registrations. This follows recent news about an expanded partnership with Clio to support European IP professionals.

“Our vision is to simplify and automate the riskier and tedious parts of IP work for legal professionals,” said Nehal Madhani, founder and CEO of Alt Legal. “With the launch of our new TTAB and improved global docketing tools, we’re continuing to enable legal professionals to focus on the most substantive aspects of their work.”

Alt Legal’s new features and improvements directly address IP professionals’ needs to effectively docket global filings and IP disputes. In 2016, Alt Legal has also released copyright management tools and a new version of its automated USPTO trademark docketing software, which provides the industry’s most specific and automated updates and deadlines without any user effort.

Alt Legal's commitment to steadily evolving its product and providing automated workflows led to rapid growth. In early 2016, the company recorded growth of nearly 400% in year-over-year revenue and saw a similar expansion in its customer base throughout the past year.

IP professionals can start incorporating these new features by visiting Alt Legal’s booth #923 at the 2016 INTA Annual Meeting or by signing up for a free trial at www.altlegal.com.

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About Alt Legal

Alt Legal, Inc. is a New York City based legal software company started by Nehal Madhani, a lawyer who left a top-tier international law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, taught himself programming, and created Alt Legal. Alt Legal’s intuitive, easy-to-use cloud-based software provides IP docketing, document assembly and analysis tools for IP professionals filing trademarks, patents and copyrights.

Alt Legal’s software is trusted by Am Law 200 firms, IP boutiques, and public and private companies to handle thousands of filings every day. Alt Legal automatically updates case statuses and deadlines, seamlessly collects key client details, and instantly generates IP filings. For more information, visit www.altlegal.com or follow us on Twitter @altlegalhq.


Alt Legal's Clio integration is now available for Clio's EU customers!

We're thrilled to announce the expansion of our partnership with Clio to support Clio's European customers. IP professionals in Europe can take advantage of our popular integration to quickly and efficiently prepare and manage IP filings.  Our official announcement is below!

We'll be demonstrating our latest integration at INTA's 2016 Annual Meeting in Orlando. Schedule your demo here.

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European IP Filings in a Flash with Clio and Alt Legal

May 17, 2016

Dublin 17 May 2016 – Clio, the world’s leading cloud-based legal practice management provider, and Alt Legal, the essential software supplier for intellectual property (IP) professionals, announced today the expansion of their partnership, now allowing European Clio users to process IP filings quickly and efficiently.

Alt Legal is the fastest and most convenient way to prepare, file, and manage intellectual property. Developed by lawyers and paralegals, the software is trusted by global law firms, boutique firms, and corporate legal departments to handle thousands of filings daily. Alt Legal automatically dockets IP filings, collects client details, and generates new filings.

“This expanded Alt Legal integration fits perfectly with our continued efforts to increase the amount of time our users have available to practice law,” said Derek Fitzpatrick, Clio’s General Manager for EMEA. “By automating some of the time-consuming core aspects of their practices, such as creating calendar entries, new matters, and billing entries, professionals can focus more time of the technical practice of IP law, and growing their firm.”

Nehal Madhani, CEO and Founder of Alt Legal, added “We’re thrilled to announce the expansion of our partnership and integration with Clio to support its customers in the UK and continental Europe. Clio customers in UK and Europe can now use Alt Legal to instantly collect client IP information, automatically docket IP filings and calendar key dates, and generate invoices for clients with just a few clicks. The Clio/Alt Legal integration is important to furthering our mission of simplifying the preparation, docketing, and analysis of intellectual property filings for IP professionals.”

To learn more about Clio’s integrated suite of solutions, visit www.clio.co.uk.

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About Clio
Clio is the most comprehensive cloud-based practice management software for the legal industry. With the help of the cloud, Clio eases the process of managing client relationships and documents, streamlines administration and collaboration, and optimizes marketing initiatives for law firms of all sizes. Based in Vancouver, and with a European office in Dublin, Clio is used by legal professionals in over 50 countries. Clio has raised $27 million from investors including Bessemer Venture Partners. Learn more at www.clio.co.uk.

About Alt Legal
Alt Legal, Inc. is a New York City based legal software company started by Nehal Madhani, a lawyer who left a top-tier international law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, taught himself programming, and created Alt Legal. Alt Legal’s intuitive, easy-to-use cloud-based software provides IP docketing, document assembly and analysis tools for IP professionals filing trademarks, patents and copyrights.

Alt Legal’s software is trusted by Am Law 200 firms, IP boutiques, and public and private companies to handle thousands of filings every day. Alt Legal automatically updates case statuses and deadlines, seamlessly collects key client details, and instantly generates IP filings. For more information, visit www.altlegal.com or follow us on Twitter @altlegalhq.

The 2016 Presidential Candidate Trademarks

The 2016 presidential election cycle is in full swing. In the crowded 2016 race, there are 3 Democrats and 15 Republicans vying for the presidency. At Alt Legal, we had a hunch some candidates would be running well before it was publicly announced.

We’re not clairvoyant, but as developers of software to manage intellectual property, we are constantly reviewing and analyzing IP filings. IP filings like trademarks contain valuable data, such as obscure information about the filer’s intention. By comparing filing dates, office actions, and publicly disseminated information, trademarks can provide valuable insight into a political candidate’s plans.

 

JEB BUSH:

See the marks here: Jeb!

While Jeb Bush formally announced his presidency on June 15, 2015, his company BHAG LLCactually filed his trademark application for “Jeb!” long before on January 16, 2015. Several months before he formally announced, his team was already laying the groundwork for his campaign. The USPTO issued a priority action requiring Jeb Bush’s written consent in order to use his name in a mark by October 13, 2015. As of today, November 9, the Jeb! mark is abandoned for failure to respond to that action.

 

HILLARY CLINTON:

See the marks here: Hillary for AmericaH (greyscale), H (blue), Hilliary

Hillary Clinton has already filed for three trademarks to use in her campaign. On April 16, 2015, just four days after announcing her candidacy, Clinton filed to trademark her campaign slogan, “Hillary for America.” While the USPTO usually takes three months to review a trademark (because of the backlog), this application was reviewed by an examiner just ten days after her application was filed!

Other individuals are also attempting to use Clinton’s name in trademarks of their own. A man in Illinois has filed for the mark "Hilliary", adding an additional “i” to her name to create a pun. The “Hilliary” mark has caused a delay for the “Hillary for America” application because it was filed on April 11, five days before Clinton’s mark. This has resulted in the mark “Hillary for America” being suspended pending further review of the “Hilliary” mark. The owner of the “Hilliary” mark has until December 7, 2015 to provide Hillary Clinton’s written consent for the use of her name in the mark. If he fails to obtain this consent, which he will, his application will be abandoned and there will no longer be a bar to registration for “Hillary for America.”

In addition to “Hillary for America,” Hillary has two trademark applications for her H symbol, one in grayscale and the other in blue. The trademarked H replaces the horizontal line of the letter with an arrow pointing right. Both of the H symbol marks have been published for opposition.

 

DONALD TRUMP:

See the marks here: Make America Great AgainMake America Great Again (2), Make America Great Again(3), Make America Great Again (4), TrumpTrump it!

Donald Trump trademarked his slogan “Make America Great Again.” This slogan was previously used by Ronald Reagan for the 1980 presidential election. Trump’s first application for this mark was filed in November 2012, assigned to the examiner in March 2013, and after several extensions requested by Trump, he filed a statement of use on May 27, 2015, which was approved on June 5. On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy, after perhaps hiding his intentions to run from as early as 2012. Finally on July 14, the mark was officially registered. The trademark is filed for use in connection with political action service committees and political fundraising. Trump has subsequently filed three more applications, on August 5 and 13, to expand use of the mark to a variety of merchandise. One has been assigned to an examiner, one was issued an office action on October 14, and the last was suspended due to the aforementioned pending applications.

Trump also filed for “Trump” to be used for campaign services and a variety of promotional goods such as T-shirts and bumper stickers on August 17, 2015. The USPTO issued a priority action on October 20, that Trump must reply to by April 2016. Trump must clarify the categories of goods and services that he will use with the mark. Also, someone filed for the mark “Trump it!” on August 15 and Trump’s mark is pending resolution of that application, which requires consent of Donald Trump.

 

BERNIE SANDERS:

See the marks here: Bernie 2016

Although Bernie Sanders has not yet filed for a trademark, he may be willing to let others use his name and likeness in their marks. A designer in Vermont filed for a mark on October 1, 2015 that has the words “Bernie 2016” below an outline of Sander’s hair and glasses. Although he has already sold the shirt in several states, his mark was only assigned to an examiner on October 13. While his site disclaims any affiliation with Sander’s campaign aside from donating a percentage of the profits, the designer recently told the Rutland Herald that he contacted the campaign and they “seemed OK with it.”

 

BEN CARSON:

See the marks here: Ben Carson for President 2016 (logo)Ben Carson for President 2016

Carson filed for “Ben Carson for President 2016” as a stylized mark for use on a political website on July 17, 2015, after announcing his candidacy on May 3. Just like the other candidates, Carson received a priority action requiring him to consent to the use of his name in a trademark. The USPTO received his consent on September 23 and his application remains pending. Carson also filed an application for an unstylized version of this mark for the same class of services on September 30, shortly after the second Republican debate on September 16. He included an affidavit of consent with his second application, which has been assigned to an examiner.

 

SCOTT WALKER:

See the marks here: Scott WalkerWalker 2016

Walker has applied for two marks, Scott Walker with a flag in the place of the E and Walker 16 with a flag in the place of the E. Both marks were filed on July 10, 2015 and Walker announced his candidacy on July 13. The marks are awaiting response to priority actions, however Walker dropped out of the presidential race on September 21 and will likely abandon the marks.

 

TO THE USPTO, WITH LOVE:

While the trademark application looks like a standard form with routine questions about the slogan or word mark’s usage, we find the application to be much more telling. In our case, it has given us insight into the political process, revealing trademarks as an early step in the campaigning process, and, in some cases,  the clandestine nature of pre-election preparations. With trademarks so enlightening, how can we help but love IP law here at Alt Legal!

We’ll keep you posted with the presidential trademark updates! Meanwhile, check out the trademark applications we’ve been talking about for yourselves.