KAREN WINTON / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
In the multifaceted trademark world, you may think your trademark renewal vendor meets your needs and has a robust plan, but is this true? What are the (unidentified) weak links in your trademark vendor’s service? IP service provider Dennemeyer reports.
Imagine your renewal service as a blank page in your intellectual property colouring book. How you examine it will fill in the colours and build a vibrant trademark operation.
Here are four of the most common weak links in renewal services—and how to fix them.
Weak link 1: You are contracting for too many services
Each company and trademark team has different needs, but renewal services are one-size-fits-all. The typical service is a single model that bases the price on the number of trademark records. If you need fewer services than offered, the price usually stays the same.
The result is that you leave money on the table by purchasing services not needed.
Fix: Ask your vendor what options it has to reduce the number of services it offers (if any) and understand the impact on price. Then, create a list of your internal processes and map this to the (reduced) services offered.
This one-to-one process map help to clearly identify required areas of support and a better understanding of what you may not need. Then, you may have an opportunity to drop service options you don’t need.
This is a basic, yet essential, step to start colouring in your trademark renewal page.
By way of example, Dennemeyer’s standard renewal plan is very cost-efficient. It comes with a standard set of processes and procedures. There is flexibility, but with the flexibility comes additional cost. The mapping process helps determine what additional functions are needed, if any.
Many find that they can adjust their internal processes to make the standard offering work and deliver significant cost savings in the process.
Weak link 2: ‘Low-cost’ but obscure services
You are ecstatic to sign on for an incredibly low renewal rate and expect significant savings. Somehow, however, the savings never seem to materialise. Sounds familiar? The renewal vendor may offer a fantastic per record rate and obscure other charges.
This causes frustration and anxiety as you fail to deliver the cost savings expected.
"Direct filing is always the best as it eliminates the agent fee, and for the rest, a reliable agent network is vital."
Fix: Look beyond the ‘per record’ fee. Request and examine a full list of potential ‘other fees’ and carefully compare this to your list of exceptions and common situations.
For example, do you often require an assignment change at the time of renewal? Does the renewal vendor do this and, if so, is there a cost? What does it charge you to notarise a document? What do they charge for a courier?
When you couple this examination with weak link 1, and the service itself, your colouring page is over half-full of brilliant details.
Weak link 3: Feeble agent network and limited direct filings
Each vendor, firm and company will have its own agent network, but what are its strengths? How do you know an agent in country X provides the best rate? Direct filing is always the best as it eliminates the agent fee, and for the rest, a reliable agent network is vital.
Building and then sustaining such a reliable network can be time-consuming and uncertain.
Fix: Examine the vendor’s agent network. What are its agent requirements? How does it hold it accountable and to what standards? Dennemeyer will allow you to continue to use your existing foreign agent network, but doing so is often more expensive than renewing through its network.
Think of it as colouring in the critical pieces of your page for a cohesive image.
By example, one recent customer reduced its agent fees by almost 30% by going to the Dennemeyer network; it also reduced its ‘per record’ fees by 56%. If it had shifted to the Dennemeyer standard offering it could have reduced its service fees by 81%.
Weak link 4: Lag in legal updates
It takes fortitude and time to track each country’s renewal requirements. Are you being proactive? Consistently? For example, what changes go into effect in the British Virgin Islands September 2015? (Hint: it is no longer possible to extend UK-based registrations.) Did you know that in May 2015 the official trademark renewal fees in Venezuela increased by about 1,300%?
It is more time-effective to relieve your internal group and outsource this activity to your vendor. However, your vendor must not lag in tracking or communicating jurisdiction changes and requirements.
Fix: Inspect your vendor’s procedures on communicating and tracking jurisdiction changes. How often does it provide an update? How or when will it communicate?
Although this last link is the most fluid, by giving consideration to an often overlooked area, your trademark renewal colouring page is now complete.
A brilliant colouring page is hard to fill in. But, when you scrutinise vendors against these four weak links, you will be armed with the intelligence needed to make the right choice.
This article was written by Dennemeyer, the customers of which can choose between scaled service plans that fit each organisation’s particular needs. Interested in comparing services to see how much money you are leaving on the table? Contact a Dennemeyer representative today at: www.dennemeyer.com
Dennemeyer, Intellectual property law, IP, trademark,