The following is an edited video transcript. For the full video, see below.
The world of trademarks, trademark law, trademark registration, and brand building is complex and ever-changing. I know — I’ve been in the world of trademarks for more than 20 years now and yet, I am still learning things that are new to me all the time.
As you can see from the image below, I’ve been to many, many conferences over the last few years, sometimes just attending and listening, sometimes speaking, sometimes helping to organize the conferences, sometimes leading around table, sometimes moderating a panel. I enjoy learning and I think it’s really important to never stop learning.
Here are five ways that I focus on making sure that I keep learning, not only for my benefit, but for the benefit of my trademark clients.
- History. The first way is that every trademark registration I obtain for a client helps inform the future registration. So I’ve now got a large body of work, over 3,000 registrations obtained, with many thousands of responses to the USPTO written. That body of work is like my own research file, basically, that I use as a resource. I’ve stored the best writing, best arguments, and best evidence from these past experiences so that I have easy access to them.
- Going to conferences. I go to conferences in the field of trademarks, I go to conferences in the field of practicing law in general, I go to conferences for consultants and conferences where some of my clients are very active in a particular industry. Conferences are a great way to keep learning.
- Participating in organizations. The third way that I make sure I’m always learning is that I’m very active in multiple organizations and serving on committees. These organizations are generally in the field of IP law and trademark law, and they’re a great way to stay in touch with the latest developments and to work with colleagues from whom I learned so much.
- Staying close to the USPTO. The fourth way I always keep learning is by going to meetings with the US Patent & Trademark Office. I’m fortunate that my office in Northern Virginia is just a few miles down the road, it’s literally a straight shot down Route 7 to get to the US Patent & Trademark Office campus headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Whenever they hold in-person public meetings, which is at least quarterly, I try to attend with my team. And there, we get to not only hear from the USPTO about the latest developments, but we get to chat with them and talk to them on the side and make sure that we’re staying up to date.
- Mentoring others. The fifth way that I’m always learning is by working with law students and mentees. By mentoring, I find that I learn as much as I give. They keep me on my game and ask me great questions. It’s a tremendous joy to work with law students and interns and mentees, and I find that I get at least as much out of the relationship as I hope they do.
How do you stay on top of your business and industry? And when you hire an expert in any field, do you ask them how they stay learning?