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.
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
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- 2019 Smith and Hopen, P.A.
SMITH & HOPEN® and logo are federally registered trademarks.