“I love the work that I do…I like that I am able to practice trademark law while also serving the public. I take a lot of pride in that.”
Have you ever wondered how Coke®, Apple®, and Google® became household names? From the dawn of commerce, merchants needed to put their “mark” on the goods and services that they bartered to distinguish their products from competitors and guarantee quality.
Consumer recognition and the power of perceived value are the hallmarks of brand affinity and repeat trade: I know it. I like it. I’m buying it again.
Trademark examining attorneys play a role in this custom. They analyze trademark applications, evaluate facts, and then determine questions of law that ultimately can lead to federal trademark registration.
Simply put, trademark examining attorneys help to ensure that business owners can protect their brands so that consumers recognize them as a source of quality goods and services, and so that owners are the sole benefactors of any commercial gains once their brand enters the global retail market.
Enter Obieze, a trademark examining attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Los Angeles native joined the agency just over two years ago and loves the work that he does. But why?
“I like that I am able to practice trademark law while also serving the public. I take a lot of pride in that,” says Obieze.
His interest in trademark law was piqued in law school after taking an intellectual property (IP) course in his second year. The following semester, Obieze participated in the USPTO Law School Trademark Clinic Program, which allows students from participating law schools to practice IP law and gain real-world experience drafting and filing trademark applications for clients of the clinic.
His favorite part of the job is interacting directly with applicants to resolve trademark application issues. When working with examining attorneys like Obieze, applicants can often save time, money and, on occasion, worry. Not knowing how to navigate application issues can be daunting for under-resourced applicants.
So when issues are resolved, applicants can breathe a sigh of relief and can more clearly see a pathway to getting a registered trademark. A flood of “Thank you’s” from applicants and their counsel often follow.
“I happen to find those moments to be very humbling and gratifying, as quality customer service is a core objective at the USPTO,” says Obieze. “Such complimentary feedback from our customers is a reminder that a great customer experience goes a long way in positively influencing the public’s perception of federal employees,” he adds.
There’s no question that Obieze takes customer care seriously, as evidenced by his “outstanding” performance rating and a Comprehensive Excellence Award (ACE).
As the Trademarks organization continues to excel in its service to the public and fulfilling the USPTO’s mission, we are looking for motivated attorneys like Obieze to join us.
So what are some of the key traits that trademark examining attorneys need?
“Attention to detail, strong written and oral communication skills, and good time management,” says Obieze, noting how competitive the field of trademark law can be. “Obtain as much experience in practicing trademark law as possible to set yourself apart from other applicants,”—great guidance from a rising star.
Obieze’s love of what he does traverses his day-to-day activities. He’s a huge fan of the USPTO as an agency that cares about its employees and provides a variety of programs and career paths for professional growth and success.
Obieze says that the USPTO’s greatest attributes are its commitment to individual employees through comprehensive training and mentoring opportunities, fostering a rich culture of diversity in hiring at all levels, unparalleled work-life balance, and providing stimulating work.
Could it be that the agency’s brand as a top employer of choice and a “great place to work” makes the USPTO a household name? Absolutely.