Fee Information

Our fees are annually adjusted to be in line with the AIPLA economic survey.  This assures our clients they are receiving the highest value of legal services for their money.   

Initial Consultation Fee

Although we charge a fee for the initial consultation that fee is deducted from any work we initiate within two weeks thereof.

Services we Perform

Our firm specializes exclusively in intellectual property law.  This includes patent, trademark, copyright and related licensing and litigation.  Our attorneys are registered* to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  Less than one (1%) percent of all attorneys in the United States have this designation. 

Flat Fees

Our firm and its long-standing clients have a strong preference to utilize flat-fee billing whenever possible.  Flat fees give clients security in knowing the anticipated costs for matters and encourage efficiency in the legal process.  For example, a typical patent application workflow is shown below:

 

Patent Preparation Process - A Workflow showing patent estimates, costs and filing.

Time Billing Policies

The minimum billable increment is six (6) minutes.  A detailed time billing report is provided at the end of each month or at the completion of a project.  Our firm strives to delegate work to the qualified employee with the lowest billing rate.  This provides our clients with the most efficient and cost-effective legal representation.  Our time billing reports detail the hourly rate, time expended and detailed description of the work done by each employee.  In addition, our reports calculate the mean hourly rate charged by our firm.  This gives our clients a quantified view of the actual costs incurred for their matters.

Advance of Fees

Patent, trademark and copyright applications all require payment of a government fee.  Advancing such fees without a retainer in trust is considered "co-mingling of funds" and constitutes a violation of the law and legal ethics.  Prior to any patent, trademark or copyright filing, all fees must be deposited in the firm's trust account.  This money remains property of the client until the actual filing is complete.  Then (and only then) does the firm move the funds to its own account.

We accept credit cards for payment as a convenience.  VISA, Mastercard and American Express are far better equipped to manage credit.  Our focus in providing the best legal services.

For hourly work, the firm generally requires an advance of the estimated monthly fees that will be incurred on the project.  These funds are deposited in a trust account.  At the end of the month or upon completion of the project, funds in trust are applied against the hourly charges incurred by the attorneys and staff.  Excess trust funds may be refunded or kept in the trust fund for future work at the election of the client.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT RETAINERS:  Retainers are not funds against which future services are billed. Retainers are funds paid to guarantee the future availability of the lawyer’s legal services and are earned by the lawyer upon receipt. Retainers, being funds of the lawyer, may not be placed in the client’s trust account.

Conflicts of Interest

Occasionally we may decline to accept matters which would be a conflict of interest with another existing or past client.   This should never be construed as an opinion on the merits of the subject matter or desirability of the client.  Regulations on the practice of law and ethics require "conflict checks" to confirm our potential representation of your matters is not comprised by the competing interests of another client.

SUBJECT MATTER CONFLICTS:  Due to our representation of government agencies, universities, publicly traded companies and research centers we generally decline representation for matters involving the adult entertainment industry, tobacco products or any other industry adverse to the mission or objectives of our current clients.


© 1999- 2017 Smith and Hopen, P.A.  SMITH & HOPEN® and logo are federally registered trademarks.  Legal