Smith Hopen agrees to representation subject to any conflicts of interest with past, present or future clients wherein the matter handled by our firm is substantially related. Smith Hopen reserves the right to withdraw from representation provided such withdraw does not prejudice our client’s rights and adequate time is provided to secure alternate representation.
Fees: Except when a flat fee is established, our fees are generally determined by the time devoted by each lawyer or other service provider in the engagement and the hourly billing rates assigned to each such person. Our hourly rates are available upon request to any member of our staff. We submit monthly invoices and statements for billable time.
Confidentiality: All matters are held in confidence by Smith Hopen under attorney-client privilege that extends to our staff members as well. In order to maintain confidentiality, Smith Hopen does not accept third-party payment for services. Third parties that pay on behalf of a client frequently (and erroneously) believe they have formed an attorney-client relationship and may demand confidential billing records that could compromise the attorney-client privilege. Clients must designate a single point of contact for billing and confidential matters. Absent written instructions to the contrary by an officer of the client company Smith Hopen will not release client-documentation to any non-approved party even if the party is an employee of the client company.
Filings: Virtually all federal intellectual property filings are subject to approval by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office. Smith Hopen cannot ethically guarantee the grant of any patent, trademark or copyright filing. No patent or trademark search can completely exhaust all the possible sources of prior art or preexisting users of a trademark. Thus, our fees are not contingent on whether the patent, trademark or copyright will issue or register.