The following terms are agreed to between you (the “client”) and Lehner Law LLC (the “law firm”). Please print this page and/or download it for your records.
1. All advance fees and reimbursements are fully refundable until services are rendered. The client is entitled to a refund of money for services not yet rendered, at any time during the process. If services have only partially been rendered, the client is entitled to a reasonable partial refund. Fees will be treated as the law firm’s own until the client requests a refund or services are rendered. Any other money that would normally be held in escrow such as court awards and out-of-court settlements will be treated as the law firm’s own until disbursed to the client.
2. The client acknowledges that the law firm may currently represent, may have represented in the past, or may represent in the future, a competitor of the client or even a party legally adverse to the client. The client consents to representation in the aforementioned situations. Possible situations may include, but not be limited to, helping a competitor’s trademark application succeed even if that application’s success may weaken or dilute the client’s trademark, or strengthen a competitor’s legal case against the client. However, the law firm will not represent one client in a way that violates the law firm’s duties to any other current client, and will withdraw from representation in a matter where it believes it cannot in good conscience fully represent both clients.
3. The law firm and the client both reserve the right to terminate the attorney-client relationship at any time. In such a case, the client is will receive a refund for any services not yet rendered.
4. The client is only retaining the law firm to represent it on the matter detailed in the form or otherwise agreed to between the law firm and the client. Further, the law firm is not obligated to perform any additional services relating to this matter that it has not agreed to (e.g. substantive office action responses, licensing agreements, litigation) until those services are agreed to by both the law firm and the client. The law firm will not charge an unreasonable amount for any further services, and will base all fees, whether billed hourly or on a flat fee basis, on the law firm’s hourly rate of $200. Additional tasks that are billed hourly can take anywhere from one half-hour to five or six hours in extreme cases. The law firm will give estimates of how long such tasks will take before client agrees to them and these estimates will generally be accurate to within one half-hour. Services are billed on an hourly basis, with time being charged in tenths of an hour, i.e. in six minute blocks. The law firm’s hourly rate is subject to increase as the firm’s demand, experience, and client base grow. However, the law firm will not increase its hourly rate to an unreasonable extent.
5. The client agrees that funds paid to Lehner Law LLC in advance will be deposited to the law firm’s operating account and treated as the law firm’s own funds, as allowed under Ohio Bar ethics rules. Regardless, the client is still entitled to a refund at any time before services are rendered.
6. The client gives the law firm permission to publicly acknowledge the client’s status as a client and to use the client’s name and branding on the law firm’s website and in promotional materials, as a way of showing examples of “success stories.” The client gives the law firm permission to write about details of the client’s case or the client’s business on the law firm’s website, legal blog, and social media, and to quote emails from the client for testimonial purposes. The client may revoke either of these privileges at any time. Regardless, the law firm will not reveal any information of the client’s that it deems to be sensitive. Note that many of the details provided by the client to the law firm, including name and mailing address of the individual or business entity that owns the trademark, will become part of the public record once a trademark application is filed, and these details will be available, permanently, on the USPTO trademark database. Note that any data you enter into the law firm’s forms or that you otherwise reveal to the law firm might be used for the law firm’s own internal analytics, or might be compiled anonymously into data reports. The law firm also makes use of Google Analytics to track various data about visitors to its website.
7. The client is paying not only for the specific trademark action requested, but also for the availability of an attorney, as well as communication with the attorney. Any fees or reimbursements still held by the law firm after two years from the date of payment will be considered to have been earned as an “availability fee” and will no longer be refundable after that amount of time has passed, unless long-term holding has specifically been arranged between the law firm and the client.
8. The client understands that these engagement terms are subject to change from time to time and the client is responsible for checking these terms periodically. Regardless, the law firm will not mislead the client by promising or advertising one included service and then materially altering the terms to remove its obligation to perform that service.
9. The client is either at least 18 years old or has express permission and guidance from a parent or guardian throughout this process.
10. Fees identified by the law firm as “filing fees” are not direct government fee reimbursements. They are intended to cover payment processing fees and the law firm’s labor as well as government fees so the law firm will not lose money if the client requests additional classes for a filing. Because of this, fees identified as “filing fees” are generally about $25 to $75 higher than the actual government fee required for that filing. Filings for which this policy applies include but are not limited to new applications, renewals, maintenance filings, statements of use, petitions to revive, petitions to the director, Madrid Protocol filings, notices of opposition, and petitions for cancellation.
11. The client will reimburse Lehner Law LLC for expenses such as filing fees, postage, courier, process server, private judge, mediation, court reporter, and arbitration charges.
Additional Engagement Terms for Trademark Opinions and Applications
1. For search + application combination packages: If the client decides not to move forward with the original proposed trademark, the client may request one additional free clearance search for a new proposed trademark.
2. The $275 filing fee is meant to cover a range of possible fees that the law firm may have to spend to file a federal trademark application, as well as payment processing fees and the law firm’s time spent filing the application. The law firm will keep or pay for, respectively, any surplus or deficit remaining after paying the actual cost of filing the application. The filing fee is not a direct reimbursement; it is an advance legal/service fee paid to the law firm in addition to the client’s trademark package fee.
3. For clients who retain the firm for a comprehensive search: Though the law firm will make a reasonable effort to find any potential trademark conflicts, this does not guarantee that a trademark conflict does not exist. The law firm does not use any specialized search engines or databases to perform its conflict searches.
4. If the client does not provide a first use date to the question on the law firm’s submission firm regarding current commercial use of the trademark, the law firm has permission from the client to file the application on an “intent to use” basis, which will require the filing of proof-of-use later in the process, if the application is otherwise successful. Filing proof-of-use after the original application requires reimbursement for a $100 government filing fee per class. Reimbursements for $125-per-class six-month extensions may also be required by the firm if the client cannot supply proof-of-use in commerce to the law firm within six months of the Notice of Allowance (i.e. notice of success for the application in almost every way except for proof-of-use in commerce). The law firm does not charge a substantial professional fee on top of these reimbursements, but it may charge up to $75 per class on top of these reimbursements to cover credit card fees and time spent filing.
5. The law firm may have to switch status from “Use In Commerce” to “Intent to Use” for procedural reasons, such as an inadequate specimen. If this is the case, the law firm will charge the client for intent-to-use–related fees as described in the previous paragraph.
6. Representation ends either when the trademark application reaches registration or is permanently abandoned. Client is no longer a client of the law firm after one of these two milestones is reached.
7. The law firm reserves the right to use its professional discretion to determine which words to disclaim on a trademark application because of non-registrability, unless client specifically requests that certain words are disclaimed or not disclaimed. Occasionally the USPTO will determine that the wording of a mark is wholly descriptive and either recommend that the mark be amended to the Supplemental Register in the case of a word mark, or that all of the wording in a mark be disclaimed in the case of a mark with design elements. The law firm reserves the right to accept the USPTO’s recommendation if the law firm agrees with the USPTO’s analysis, unless the client specifically indicates that the Supplemental Register or disclaimer of all wording is not acceptable.
8. The law firm sends the client a PDF version of the registration certificate when the client’s mark reaches registration. Because of the considerable time and effort involved, if the client wants the law firm to mail the certificate to the client or have a certified copy of the certificate mailed to the client, the law firm will charge $50 including mailing fees per certificate.
Additional Engagement Terms for Watch Services
1. A Watch subscription comprises approximately one check a month for new applications that are similar to the client’s chosen mark, and an email sent to the client whenever the law firm deems a result to be of significant interest to the client. Watch searches are performed only for words; if the chosen mark is a design/logo mark, the law firm will only search for the words and variations of the words in the design, not the design itself. Watch searches are primarily based on software that regularly scans the USPTO database for exact words chosen by the law firm. The law firm is not responsible for missing a new application of interest because of a limitation of either the software or the attorney performing the search.
Additional Engagement Terms for Expedited Trademark Packages
1. If the client pays the additional fee to expedite a package, the law firm will endeavor to perform each stage of the process as quickly as possible, not exceeding a two-business-day wait. This means that if the law firm has additional questions for the client, the law firm will ask them within two business days of the client hiring the law firm or upgrading to an expedited package. If the client asks the law firm a question, the law firm will answer within two business days. If the law firm has no questions about the application, the law firm will file it or give the client’s legal opinion within two business days of the client hiring the law firm. The “two business days” do not include the day the client hired the law firm. For example, if the client hires the law firm at 8AM on Monday morning, Tuesday is the first business day following it, and Wednesday is the second business day following it. Thus, the law firm’s expedited deadline is Wednesday night.
2. The expedition fee covers all steps of the trademark process from hiring to filing of the application. After the application is filed, the expedited service ends and the law firm’s response times return to normal. For the Comprehensive Search-Only package, the expedited service lasts until the delivery of a legal opinion.
3. “Business days” means Monday through Friday, except for holidays. Any form submission made on or after 5:00PM, Eastern time, is considered to have been made on the next business day. If the law firm sends an update after 5:00 PM, it is still considered to have been sent on that business day. As an example, if the client hires Lehner Law LLC for an expedited package on Monday at 10:30PM, the client is considered to have hired the law firm on Tuesday. The law firm owes the client an update by Thursday at 11:59PM, though the law firm will try to get the update to the client much sooner than that. If the law firm sends an update to the client on Thursday at 6:00PM, and the client sends a response at 8:00PM, then the law firm owes the client an update by two business days after Friday, meaning the law firm owes an update by Tuesday. This cycle will continue until the end of the expedited portion of the package as described above. The law firm has a grace period of one extra business day to respond to client to account for medical issues, emergencies, or pressing deadlines, but the law firm must do its best to avoid making use of this grace period. If the law firm takes more than three business days to deliver an update, the client is owed a refund for the expedited portion of the package, and may get a refund for the filing portion of the package or the entire package depending on what services have been rendered.
Additional Engagement Terms for Cease & Desist Letters, TTAB, Litigation, and Agreement Drafting Services
1. The law firm will only send letters that have at least some legal merit. The law firm will not send letters that it deems to be frivolous, gratuitous, or in bad taste. Unless the client specifically requests a physical mailing and reimburses the law firm for that mailing, including time spent on the mailing, the law firm will send all letters by email. The law firm’s packages include some free negotiation, but any communication beyond a few emails or phone calls will be billed at the law firm’s hourly rate of $200. The law firm will inform the client before the limit of the client’s package is reached. The law firm will not charge the client any additional fees without warning the client first and getting the client’s consent. Mailing fees are not included in the law firm’s price. By default, letters are sent in PDF form by email. Client may elect to pay $5 for standard USPS mail delivery within the contiguous United States or $50 for UPS or FedEx within the contiguous United States.
2. TTAB Services. The law firm’s fees do not cover the $450 government filing fee reimbursement per opposition or cancellation ($400 for the USPTO fee and $50 to cover payment processing fees and time spent). The law firm will not file oppositions or cancellations that it deems to be frivolous, gratuitous, or in bad taste. The law firm’s packages include some free negotiation, but any communication or litigation beyond the original opposition/cancellation and a handful emails or phone calls will be billed at the law firm’s hourly rate of $200. The law firm will inform the client before the limit of the client’s package is reached. The law firm will not charge the client any additional fees without warning the client first and getting the client’s consent.