In an unusual move, US-based legal tech company, Alt Legal, a leading provider of automated trademark docketing software, has bought Towergate Informatics’s 2(d) Citation Watch business – while Towergate will continue to operate despite the sale.
Is this a big deal? Well, as Alt Legal’s founder, Nehal Madhani, explained to Artificial Lawyer, it’s quite a big step and this is why. When a company tries to file a trademark in America, the USPTO will tell them if their proposed trademark is ‘confusingly similar’ to one that someone already has, this is called a 2(d) action. However, the company whose trademark was threatened is NOT informed by the USPTO.
Now, here is where the tech begins. The USPTO does release its files publicly, but 2(d) actions are usually hidden in a mass of other information. Using automation and a range of non-NLP search capabilities, the Citation Watch software can zap through the unstructured data and pull out what’s needed.
The law firm – and it is often a law firm managing this work – can then inform the client that something is up.
Madhani (pictured) noted that some very large corporations (and the law firms that are managing this area for them) could have 1,000s of trademarks to handle, and it can be very hard for them to stay on top of what is happening.
Now, Alt Legal already had a capability similar to this, and serves 700 clients with it, however with Towergate’s software they also bring with them dozens of new clients.
He added that his company had been operating since 2014 and aside from some angel investors they have been funded primarily by their own revenue, and they have not taken VC cash.
‘This is a big market, there are over 50 million trademark filings every year, and trademarks are evergreen, they could be 200 years old,’ he added. ‘And it’s global. We really are helping to solve a global problem.’
Tev Kofsky, Towergate’s President, concluded: ‘We’re excited to transition our 2(d) Citation Watch law firm customers to Alt Legal’s 2(d) Trademark Watch service. With this seamless transition, our customers will benefit from additional functionality provided by Alt Legal, whom we are well aligned with as a customer-centric and innovation-focused company.’