Friends, Romans and…erm….trademark attorneys, lend me your ears.
There are few things in life that interest me as much as observing the practice of law. I love the ‘certain uncertainty’ of it. The precise nature of enquiry combined with measured (or sometimes not so measured!) subjectivity. It is predictably unpredictable and expressed in stilted archaic language often sadly incomprehensible to those on the receiving end of its tender judgement.
The evolution of law
A few weeks ago, Richard Tromans of Artificial Lawyer fame wrote an excellent article seeking to clarify the parts of the lawyers role that stands to gain the most from the advent of legal technology. In terms of the evolution of the practice of law, he had this to say:
“And, in this state of nothing happening that is not done themselves is where lawyers have been since Roman times. Two thousand years or more, stuck in a world of manual labour. Yes, there is support these days with word processing and storage and communication systems, but still, most of the hard work is done ‘manually’. How many jobs have remained almost unchanged for 2,000 years? Not so many.”
He has a point. Even the archaic and now dead language of the Roman era remains in the practice of law (and it should be noted, other professions) to date.
Who really stands to gain from change?
There is a lot to be gained from legal technology for the lawyers themselves whether in house or in private practice. Much of the work at which AI, machine learning and technology in general excels are the repetitive, low-level (and often low earning) cognitive tasks with which trademark attorneys seem particularly plagued.
But it’s important to look at the wider view too. The companies and clients which those lawyers serve are the ultimate beneficiaries and while lawyers themselves are gaining back lost hours previously spent on often unbillable tasks, accessing key, relevant and timely information that helps them build elusive ‘business partner’ status, driving efficiencies that free up their energy for creativity and achieving a greater job satisfaction, that’s the beginning of the story, not the end.
What do advances, such as faster trademark clearance, offer your business?
There isn’t really a question as to whether businesses need information faster including whether they can proceed with a potential new brand. It’s pretty much a gimme. The world moves so fast and keeping up to speed is not an option, it’s a requirement.
Very often when people think about the ’speed’ of a clearance report, they think about how long before the report comes back and you can get your answer but again this is the start of the internal process, not the end.
These days, you can receive a comprehensive global trademark search report on your screen approximately 17 seconds after you have finished typing your enquiry. Its arrival heralds the moment that the real work begins - answering the question, “Will you be able to use this mark”?
Instant reports that are ranked and analysed in order of threat level allow you to identify key risks within moments. Whether those risks are worth taking for your company is an entirely different question. Who makes that decision? One person working alone? A team working collaboratively? Does that team include outside counsel? How does that work today? How long does it take?
Effective legal technology isn’t just underpinned by powerful AI, it is jam packed with tools and features that dynamically let you transform each stage of your process to get to the magic green light faster. You can provide your marketing department with simplified and understandable tools to eliminate descriptive and non-starter names instantly at the brainstorm stage whilst maintaining oversight of that clearance activity.
Once you receive the potential names, comprehensive clearance reports take seconds. You can work collaboratively on those reports in real time with relevant stakeholders (including outside counsel), share entire reports or individual concerns at the click of a button, deep dive into different aspects and view the landscape from every angle.
The development of legal technology is not simply ‘the next cool thing’. To be effective and efficient, it needs to understand and proactively address the real and frustrating roadblocks and pressures experienced daily by the intended users. From the outside, the creation of a new brand is a relatively straightforward and consistent process. When considered in the light of the harsher realities of the business world, internal processes and politics, budgets and interdepartmental friction, the true benefit of tools that provide a ‘faster trademark clearance’ will be the kind of collaborative communication and mutual understanding that moves you and your team forward rather than impeding your progress.
Moving forward is a single step away. Click here to see just some of the tools and features that are redefining ‘doing more with less’!