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Trademark Paralegals at OWE:  At the Heart of the Practice

Owen Wickersham & Erickson’s attorneys represent clients around the world and depend every day on the firm’s four paralegals – Dolores Dwyer, Sandra “Sam” Owen, Debbie Reed, and the firm’s newest addition, Karla Sagastume.

Debbie, Sam, and Dolores each have over 25 years of legal experience.   As a close-knit team of veteran trademark professionals, they provide comprehensive support to the firm’s attorneys and clients, including conducting pre-screening trademark searches and helping prepare, file, and prosecute federal and state trademark applications, statements of use, extensions, use declarations, and renewal applications.  “As paralegals, we are involved in every step of the trademark application and renewal process, as well as recording changes in ownership of the marks,” said Dolores.  “We answer a lot of client questions directly, but we don’t give legal advice and have developed a clear sense over time of when to pass a question to the responsible attorney.”

The paralegal team assists OWE attorneys with the management of global trademark portfolios for clients, including facilitating international trademark application filings, prosecution, and maintenance, and corresponding with OWE’s global network of local associates.  “We work closely with local associates in countries all over the world,” said Debbie.  “The procedures and steps involved can be complicated at times, but we have a great network and work hard to make both U.S. and international filings as seamless as possible for our clients.” 

 “Our paralegals are an invaluable part of what we do and how we do it,” said Greg Owen, OWE’s principal.  “The trademark docket, with thousands of records and dates, is at the heart of our practice and we rely on our paralegals to keep both OWE attorneys and clients apprised of what is happening and when.”  Greg notes there are dozens of tasks and communications with clients and others associated with registering and maintaining trademarks; the experience and expertise of OWE’s paralegal team enables them to manage and guide often complex processes, to the great benefit of OWE’s attorneys and clients.

“It’s been a great experience to learn from such strong professionals,” said Karla.  “I’ve learned and developed vital skills from each team member. They have gently guided me into becoming my own force and an important member of the team.”   Sam recently returned to OWE after a long tenure as a trademark paralegal at a large international law firm.  She’s been happy to return to a boutique firm environment but said there was one aspect of her return for which she was not fully prepared.  “I had somehow lulled myself into thinking that smaller firm meant slower pace,” said Sam.  “Was I ever wrong about that. It’s been like stepping into a fast-flowing river – I appreciate being back in such a warm, friendly environment with colleagues that I’ve known for years, but slower-paced it is not.”

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