“A trademark examining attorney can take his or her career anywhere.”
Before she joined the agency five years ago, Trademark Examining Attorney Kamal knew that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had a good reputation for training attorneys to be trademark experts.
That’s what piqued her interest while at University of New Hampshire’s Law School, focusing on intellectual property (IP) law and exploring career options outside of a typical law firm environment. This interest eventually led her to the agency.
“I interned at the USPTO after my second year of law school and began chasing my dream job as an examining attorney. After working for a few years in private practice and corporate law, I jumped at the chance to become a trademark examining attorney,” Kamal says. “This job allows me to be continually challenged, to grow as an attorney, and to maintain the life outside of work that I’ve always wanted,” she adds.
Kamal loves having a flexible schedule and the ability to work at home to get the work-life balance she craves, but she also understands that there is a corresponding discipline that comes with the job. “With freedom comes responsibility, and this job is no exception. While it is great to be independent and responsible for making decisions on your cases, it is important to constantly be proactive about managing your case files,” she says.
Kamal uses her previous experience as a private sector attorney to successfully manage work in a numerically goal-driven environment. As she explains, “My past experiences prepared me to understand the challenges faced by the repetitive nature of examining applications efficiently with high-quality results.” These thoughts also match her insights on the three key skills that trademark examining attorneys should possess: “The first is discipline to maintain a steady flow of work to meet your goals. The next is confidence to quickly and efficiently make decisions on the legal and procedural issues in each application. And the third is the ability to work independently to manage application deadlines.”
She continues to broaden her knowledge of trademark law as a result of career development opportunities at the USPTO. Kamal was fortunate enough to have two short-term work assignments, or details, as a senior attorney for a trademark law office and as an attorney in the IP Attaché Program. In these roles, she learned about supervising other examining attorneys and gained a big-picture perspective of the importance of promoting and protecting IP rights abroad. She also shared her expertise in trademark law with fellow IP lawyers in the industry. “One of my favorite professional experiences was speaking at the American Intellectual Property Law Association boot camp to share trademark prosecution tips and strategies,” she says.
The career development that Kamal has received makes her ready for the next stage in her trademark employment journey. “This job prepares and equips you with the skill sets necessary to pave a path for any legal career you want,” she says. “Whether it is moving up to management within the agency, laterally into other USPTO offices such as the Office of Policy and International Affairs or the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or moving externally into private practice or into corporate in-house counsel positions, a trademark examining attorney can take her career anywhere.”
With Kamal, it sounds like the USPTO has indeed lived up to its good reputation.