“I find fun in every application and explore my passion for trademark law and public service.”
All the way from Florida, he could hear it. It drew him to the edge of the nation’s capital, to live in the middle of it. What attracted trademark examining attorney Cameron M. to the USPTO? To work, as he says, “in the beating heart of trademark law.”
Cameron’s interest in intellectual property (IP) was sparked after completing a basic trademark course during law school at the University of Miami. His fascination grew into taking every intellectual property course available. As his interest in all things IP blossomed, so did his extracurricular activity. He joined the university’s Intellectual Property Law Society to learn more about the field and to explore career possibilities and issues facing IP lawyers. He rose through the society’s ranks to vice president during his last year of law school. And during this time, “fantastic mentors helped grow my passion for trademarks.” With that, his career choice in trademark protection was cemented.
As Cameron describes it, “A trademark examining attorney reviews applications for conflicting marks, ensures they are procedurally ready for publication, and helps businesses protect their brands.” Examining attorneys may also prepare appeals and argue in front of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in certain cases.
After he made the move from Florida to join the USPTO at its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, what he learned about his new employer was a bit unexpected: “The way the USPTO takes care of its employees and offers different opportunities has been a very pleasant surprise!” He continues, “Everyone is warm, enthusiastic, and always ready to help. They’ve become a second family, especially to those of us who move from far away.”
Cameron’s favorite part of the job is working on a wide variety of topics in trademark law. He shares how “one morning you might be researching industrial oil-drilling machines, take a phone call in the afternoon regarding financial services, and finish your day by drafting a response to an applicant outlining the similarities between watches, perfumes, and clothing items.”
In the midst of the variety, Cameron also finds that there are times when cases become more personal. A recent application for virtual reality software resonated with him since his father works in a similar field.
“I was able to speak with the applicant on a level that showed that his case was not just another number lost in bureaucratic red tape,” Cameron says.
Cameron also enjoyed completing a work detail with the Post Registration Audit Program. "It’s a new program designed to help combat fraud, ensure accuracy, and to help preserve the trademark register as a reliable reflection of trademarks in use in commerce," he describes.
"It was interesting to see the life of a trademark after the normal registration process, and to see how trademarks evolve over time by seeing new specimens and proof of use in recent times compared to when a trademark first registered. Work details like this are just one of the many ways that the USPTO helps me evolve as an attorney and present new and better ways to service our customers."
While his passion for trademark law is what drew him here, what keeps Cameron at the USPTO is the flexibility and benefits that the agency offers. He says the ability to have a flexible work schedule and earn a competitive salary are great attributes, and he appreciates the USPTO’s beautiful campus, on-site gym, and financial help with commuting costs.
On top of all of this, he gets to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program. This matters a lot to Cameron because, while trademark law is what he loves, “law school doesn’t come cheap.”
Cameron stays sharp by being an active member of local and regional bar associations and conferring with colleagues on the intricacies of particularly challenging cases.
To be a great trademark examining attorney, he says one has to possess “attention to detail, the ability to find fun in every application, and a passion for intellectual property law and public service.”
That’s pretty good advice that Cameron uses every day as a way to keep his finger on the pulse of trademark law.