National rankings only part of the story; Venable manages portfolio of nearly 12,000 active trademarks around the globe; filed 1,550 marks in 2009 for 200-plus clients
WASHINGTON, DC (May 18, 2010) – Reflecting its longtime stature as a go-to firm for domestic and international trademark work, Venable LLP has taken top-tier rankings in two closely-watched annual surveys of leading trademark counsel.
Venable ranks in the top 10 nationally among law firms with trademark practices as tracked by Trademark Insider, which monitors filings with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. In 2009, Venable filed 600 trademark applications in the U.S. and nearly 1,550 worldwide on behalf of some 200 clients.
Trademark Insider also ranked Venable the #1 trademark filer among Washington, DC law firms, at the same time placing practice leader Mark Harrison among the Top 20 trademark attorneys in the U.S. Washington, DC is the third-busiest trademark market in the country.
Meanwhile, Intellectual Property Today, which keeps tabs on law firms with trademark practices based on number of registrations issued, ranked Venable Number 12 in its own annual list of most active law firms.
How busy was the past year? Mr. Harrison notes that for one client alone, Venable searched more than 500 trademarks in 2009 as the client rolled out a host of new branded products globally. “We knew how engaged our practice has been, but it’s satisfying to see that both Trademark Insider and IP Today have recognized how robust our practice has become through their respective rankings,” he said.
The double rankings come just ahead of the annual meeting of the International Trademark Association, taking place this year in Boston from May 22-26. The largest gathering of the world’s trademark community, the 2010 INTA conference is expected to draw more than 7,000 professionals and academics from over 130 countries.
“Trademark work is booming, something that a lot of law firms were slow to recognize in recent years,” Mr. Harrison said. “In fact, for many companies, trademarks have become their most valuable piece of intellectual property, given the importance of a strong mark in sustaining brand recognition in a crowded and competitive marketplace.”
The firm’s longevity and breadth of trademark work is easily quantified. Venable currently manages a portfolio of some 11,750 trademarks, handling filings in jurisdictions on six continents. Mr. Harrison noted that U.S. filings represent only one-third of the firm’s 2009 filings worldwide. Among the firm’s most active trademark clients are leading mobile device maker Sony Ericsson and poultry producer Perdue Inc., along with leading financial institutions and academic institutions, including an Ivy League university.
Mr. Harrison noted that good trademark work, far from being a commoditized practice, requires “substantial creativity, analysis, as well as speed and efficiency to keep pace with filings, especially on a worldwide scale.” He explained further that rather than coming in waves or cycles, trademark work “keeps coming at you at a steady pace. It truly is a practice for all seasons, and I like to think that we’ve established ourselves as the trademark firm for all clients.”
Another important contributor to the success of the trademark group is Venable’s large contingent of association and nonprofit clients. Trademark partner Andrew Price noted that associations and nonprofits have become keenly aware in recent years of the importance of both asserting and protecting their branded identities.
“From an organization’s name to its logo, its tagline and even its acronym – associations are actively marketing themselves to members and to the public and this requires vigilant trademark protection,” Mr. Price explained. “Nonprofits have become as active in their trademark work as any commercial enterprise.”
Mr. Price continued: “Trademarks provide a competitive advantage for businesses and institutions alike, and registration leads to a presumption of rights and is thus the springboard to developing a new brand. The value of trademarks has especially accelerated in the digital age – trademarks, even more than patents, are the mode of intellectual property that has risen most on the tide of the Internet, whether through e-commerce or sheer brand recognition.”
Among the trademarks that Venable registered this past year was a comparatively rare sound mark, in this case a ring tone. Only a small fraction of trademarks are sound marks, Mr. Price noted.
“It says a lot that a large, general practice firm like Venable is committed to maintaining a full trademark practice,” Mr. Harrison said. “But we believe our trademark clients get considerable added value from Venable’s range of practices, including litigation, regulatory and government affairs, and also the firm’s strong advertising, marketing and FTC work.”
“Our core group has been together for more than 10 years, encompassing the period during which trademarks have come to be appreciated as critical IP assets,” Mr. Price added. “Our clients certainly recognize that the trademark registry is king.”
In addition to Mr. Harrison and Mr. Price, Venable's Trademarks, Copyrights and Domain Names Practice Group is comprised of attorneys Joshua Kaufman, Janet Satterthwaite, Marcia Auberger, Jacqueline Patt, Rebecca Liebowitz, Ellen Woodward and Michael Hall.
Note: An American Lawyer top 100 law firm, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, DC and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia.