6 Apr
2020

How trademark service providers are helping customers through the coronavirus pandemic

  • Sortify.tm offers free access to Attorney Productivity Suite for three months
  • Other service providers have also offered assistance to trademark community
  • Messaging all-important as industry embraces new ways of working

Legal service provider Sortify.tm has offered free access to its Attorney Productivity Suite for the next three months in order to minimise the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on customers. WTR spoke to the company about this offer and reached out to other service providers, finding that Sortify.tm is not alone in circumstantial offerings.

Sortify.tm is a legal tech start-up that offers an AI and natural language processing (NLP) software for trademark professionals. The Attorney Productivity Suite platform uses the AI and NLP functionality for many steps of the trademark process, including pre-filing, filing, examination and registration. It recently announced that corporate and private practice trademark professionals (including existing customers) could access the tools, for free, until 30 June 2020.

This was an ad hoc decision on the part of the executive team, led by CEO Claire Foggo. “This wasn’t our plan two weeks ago, but like many others we found ourselves having to adapt quickly to the challenges of working remotely due to lockdown,” she notes, adding: “We wanted to do something tangible to support the trademark community.”

The decision effectively makes the service free for new and existing users across Q2 2020. As to how the company is able to afford such a move, Sortify.tm is effectively re-routing funds, explains Foggo: “Because we had to postpone travel and conference attendances, we’ve been able to reallocate some of those projected expenses to other areas of the business.”

Drawing on support from its board and investors, the company feels that it is important to be seen to act in the right way: “If you have the ability to do something for others at a time like this, it would be wrong not to. In the short term, doing the right thing may hurt us a bit financially, but we’re confident that it will help us to build our community and be a positive thing for our brand in the long term.”

Sortify.tm is not the only trademark service provider taking steps to aid an industry that is rapidly adapting work habits in a bid to function as normal. Trademark management suite TrademarkNow has lowered the price of its brand protection packages by 20% “to make it easier for companies to protect their valuable trademarks”, says marketing manager Olli Juuso. The company has also organised multiple educational tools and webinars for the trademark community to use, and will be launching a podcast with the goal of “supporting the wellbeing of trademark professionals by helping them stay connected with the community”.

At trademark docketing software provider AltLegal, customers going through difficult times have been considered with a similar approach to Sortify.tm. CEO Nehal Madhani explains: “This is a challenging time for everyone, so above all we’re trying to be supportive and understanding. We’ve identified a couple of small ways to help the trademark community.” The first is an offer to help financially, “by providing free or discounted access to our software so that [trademark professionals] can focus on their lives, their health, and their businesses, not their deadlines”. AltLegal also plans to host weekly social hours for its community, as well as a bimonthly webinar series on trademark practice and business.

Elsewhere, companies have focused on how to maintain existing services. Clarivate’s president of intellectual property, Jeff Roy, tells WTR that “since the initial impact of covid-19 several months ago, our goal at CompuMark has been to provide our customers with uninterrupted service, so they can continue to support their own businesses during this difficult time”. For instance, he assures that Clarivate’s offices have been adapted to remain fully operational with all colleagues working from home. Meanwhile, Corsearch has stated that its platforms were adapted to the needs of any professional working from home, with all employees also able to continue their roles remotely.

The covid-19 global crisis is ushering in a phase of economic turmoil that will last at least as long as the pandemic endures. During this time, companies and law firms will naturally be looking to make efficiencies where they can. Thus, budget-saving offers will be welcomed by practitioners. Such offers also give service providers an opportunity to increase awareness of their platforms among new potential customers, while deepening goodwill with existing ones. What is key is that any reactionary campaign is substantial enough to be considered helpful, and not seen only as an attempt to bring more customers into the fold.

Hopefully, despite the uncertain environment, business and legal operations – assisted by service providers – will continue as normal, or at least, until the old normal returns. On that, Roy concludes positively: “We remain confident that the overall industry is fundamentally strong. And we very much look forward to gathering together as a community at INTA this November.”

Jonathan Walfisz

Author | Reporter

[email protected]

Jonathan Walfisz