Terms of Service
During the course of our representation, we may perform some tasks that are not within the scope of a flat fee agreement. In such cases, we will bill you on an hourly basis for ordinary and necessary services to advance your case(s), keep you informed, and answer any questions regarding your case(s). Other necessary expenses, if any, are billed at cost (no mark-up).
To fund these services and expenses, we require our clients to maintain a minimum retainer in their trust account. The minimum trust account retainer is based on the number of pending applications in your portfolio. This retainer shall be maintained at its minimum throughout the life of this representation. As we earn fees and/or incur expenses on your behalf, we will make withdrawals from the trust account and will bill you for any funds required to replenish the account.
If the minimum retainer is not timely maintained, our policy is to promptly discontinue services until the minimum retainer has been restored. In the event of delinquency in maintaining the minimum retainer, we reserve the right to withdraw from this representation.
The retainer funds in the trust account remain client property until earned. Any unearned funds will be promptly returned to you at your request, or at the end of the representation.
Non-Flat Fee Services
Although we prefer to use flat fees whenever possible, we typically perform some services, including post-filing services, on an hourly basis. Unless agreed otherwise, fees for professional services are based primarily on the actual time spent. Invoices for hourly work will contain detailed daily records of each task performed, who performed it, and how long it took. These records are reviewed before invoices are sent out, and sometimes adjustments may be made to avoid a disparity between the time charges and the services rendered or the results achieved.
I will have overall responsibility for the services to be provided by the firm. In some cases, other associates, law clerks, patent engineers, legal assistants, or paralegals may also provide assistance.
Out of pocket disbursements made by the firm on a client’s behalf will be billed at actual cost. Billing for some disbursements may be delayed in the event of delays in the firm’s receipt of invoices. Billing rates and direct-cost fees may be reviewed and adjusted annually in January.
Normally flat fee projects are billed when completed, otherwise bills are sent monthly if a balance is due. If there are any special circumstances that require a different arrangement, please let me know right away. If you receive a bill, please do not hesitate to call if there are any questions. The firm is eager not only to provide outstanding services but to be sure that the charges for those services are fair and appropriate. In the absence of a problem with a bill, or a special arrangement made in advance, payment is expected within fifteen (15) days. The firm reserves the right to charge interest (e.g., 1% per month) and/or withdraw in the event of delinquency.
General Note from Craige re Client Projects Scheduled for Filing After the TPL Recommended Timeline:
As part of accepting the responsibility for handling your patent needs, please allow me to share some important thoughts about the idea that some clients have to ask us to delay our services until “just before the deadline.” When a client requests that we delay complex filings until close to the deadline, there is correspondingly less margin for error (i.e., more risk) and almost always significantly higher costs when compared to our recommended timelines. Since “cutting it close” is not part of our recommended practice, we cannot accept financial responsibility for the extra risks and costs that may result from your request that we rush to fulfill last minute projects. Mistakes can happen, and resources and supervision may not always be available at the very “last minute.” These situations generally require significant extra attorney, paralegal, and clerical effort from our office, (because we care) and we will have to bill you for all services and hard costs that are out of scope and would be unnecessary under the recommended timelines. Any client who feels this is unfair is fundamentally not a good fit for our firm. Also, operating under time stress multiplies the opportunities for human error, which is why we strongly urge a more orderly, regular timeline so that we can offer a predictable and lower flat fee and operate without undue stress. We will, of course, always seek to avoid any additional expenses, and generally none are actually required, but running out of time always eliminates better, lower cost options that may or may not be needed in a pinch. In the event additional costs or services are required, we do not guarantee or offer that we will extend credit for any such expenses that result from rushing or expediting. It is the client’s responsibility to maintain sufficient access to credit cards or wire transfers in the event that retainer funds are needed to meet any deadlines. The client must allow sufficient time for funds to “clear” through the banking system before we can move forward and financially commit the firm’s valuable time and dollars to the project. I hope this explanation helps demystify the fog around law firm retainers, at least with this firm. I believe this approach calls for the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I hope this approach seems sensible to you. If so, then we will have a mutually rewarding relationship, and you are the type of client we love to serve for many years to come. Thank you very much for your business! Call anytime. 512-649-1046 Craige
Thompson Patent Law
1320 Arrow Point Dr
Suite 501 #142
Cedar Park, TX 78613