Ten Tips and Tricks of the Trade for Trade Mark Paralegals and Administrators
A career as a trademark paralegal or administrator is varied, fast-paced, and interesting. It plays an essential role in the IP ecosystem. In fact, an attorney once told our own Samantha Crellin that “an IP practice lives and dies by its formalities team”. From providing advice on the strength of the portfolio and ensuring renewals deadlines are always met, to navigating variations in country law and IP office processes, there’s a huge amount to manage.
The industry is busier than ever, too. The UK has seen a doubling of trade mark disputes since Brexit, and applications for new UK TMs have jumped by more than 50%. In the US and Europe, a similar leap in applications has led to delays in processing. All this adds to the dynamic nature of the industry in which TMAs and paralegals play such an important part.
With a busy role in a busy sector, it isn’t surprising that you sometimes need a bit of support and some ideas for how to make work life easier.
Recently we spoke to seven experienced trade mark paralegals and asked them for their top tips for productivity, managing workload, finding support and achieving work-life balance. Here are some of the ideas they shared.
Professional workplace tips – four things to keep in mind:
- Work on conscious communication: try to understand the communication preferences of your manager and colleagues. Everyone has their preference for the style and frequency of communications and updates they like to receive. Some managers want short frequent updates on tasks in progress, while others prefer fewer, more detailed updates – it really depends on their preferred work style. Identifying others’ preferences early on can help you provide a better service and reduce the risk of miscommunication.
- Think about your own career path: take time regularly to think about what you want out of your role, what are the parts that you enjoy and want to learn more about? Decide on your ambitions and where you’d like to see your career progressing. What will you need to do to get to the next stage? Find a mentor who can advise you and help you grow in the direction that interests you. For more tips on owning your career development, check out this useful article from CITMA.
- Make the most of training opportunities: whether you are offered sessions on workplace skills, career development, or technical training on software tools that can make life easier and work more productive, it is well worth seizing every opportunity to grow your skills.
- It’s OK to say “no” when you are genuinely running at maximum capacity. This tip comes from Kane Ridley, of Keltie LLP, who wisely says: “Sometimes it is more efficient to explain why you might not be able to meet a deadline than take on the task and let the team down.” If you’re wondering how to go about saying “no”, CITMA produced this excellent article with advice on how to do just that – and why it’s important that you do.
Networking and support – sharing experiences and advice:
- Join relevant professional and social communities: from official organisations like CITMA and INTA to Facebook and LinkedIn community groups. They can be goldmines of information and alert you to emerging issues that mean you can inform your organisation and add value. Twitter is also a useful resource for news and developments in the industry. Check out www.twitter.com/webtms where we share news and commentary from some of the brightest minds in the business.
- Make the most of support networks: there are a wealth of different networks in the IP sector. Whether for training and career development, LGBTQ+, non-traditional families, diversity, disability, mental health support and advice, there is someone out there who can give you advice and share their experience.
Practical tips – for getting the job done!:
- Invest in multiple screens (or ask your employer to do so on your behalf): you are often comparing multiple documents as well as your emails, consulting the records database and you might need a Teams chat open if you are working remotely. Having multiple screens makes this far easier.
- Build your Excel knowledge. Samantha Crellin says: “you can cut hours off repeated tasks – such as application fee calculations – with the right formulae, and pivot tables make analysing data more efficient.”
- Invest in a smart speaker: whether you are asking for real-time currency conversions, or asking it to play the Hamilton soundtrack to get you through a particularly challenging task, it can be a real bonus when you’ve got six balls in the air at once.
- Make good use of Google Translate: this tip from our colleague Viviene Daepp is great when working across multiple countries. She says: “Google Translate is great for translating official documents in foreign languages so you understand what the document is and if there are any important deadlines you need to docket.”
Naturally, at WebTMS we believe the trade mark portfolio management tool you use makes a crucial contribution to your quality of life as a trade mark paralegal or administrator. We do our best to make sure our software is intuitive, reliable, and saves you time, which you can then devote to what is important to you, whether that’s building your career, networking with colleagues or taking a well-earned break!
We offer free monthly webinar training sessions so you can learn new ways to get the most out of WebTMS, and our support team is always on hand to answer any query, however small or left-field! Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you’re just starting out, or a seasoned pro, we hope that you’ll find a useful tip or two here. We’d love it if you’d share some of your own genius productivity hacks and advice, too!
Thank you once again to Kane Ridley of Keltie LLP, Mónica Mula, Michaela Diezel, Laura Devesa of BomhardIP, Franziska Kulke of Bauer Media, and Samantha and Viviene from the WebTMS team for all their great advice and insights!