Merchant & Gould P.C. In business, trademarks can be powerful competitive and economic assets. Helping clients protect those assets is the role of Merete Klausen, a trademark legal specialist at Merchant & Gould P.C., the Minneapolis-based intellectual property law firm.
After graduating with a paralegal associate degree from the Minnesota School of Business in 2005, Klausen worked for a couple of small law firms in the insurance defense field. Her entry into the intellectual property field was not part of a career plan, but could be considered a happy accident, considering her ability to excel in her current role.
Klausen joined Merchant & Gould in 2007 as a client records specialist and docketing specialist, running patent and trademark conflict checks and clearing trademark, patent, and foreign filing docket dates. She took on more responsibility at the firm when she was promoted to the position of trademark legal specialist in 2012.
As a paralegal and assistant for one of the busiest trademark groups in the country, Klausen files U.S. and foreign trademark applications, corresponds with clients and foreign associates in order to complete filings and meet due dates, and performs maintenance on registered trademarks in the U.S. and foreign countries.
One of her responsibilities is keeping tabs on trademarks filed for “new” products or services within the categories used by client firms. They cover the gamut from “automotive, to food processing … and a lot of retail.” In her current role she helps handle both domestic and international matters related to IP.
Possible trademark breaches are identified with the help of a service provider equipped with proprietary, global data bases to discover newly established trademarks, on an ongoing basis. “We also have foreign associates who let us know if a recently filed trademark is very close to one of our client’s marks.”
Coming up with solutions and seeing tangible results for the firm’s clients makes Klausen’s work rewarding. “I wasn’t naturally given a talent for being very organized, but the work requires it, and now that has become a way of life. Because it’s a constantly evolving area with a lot of moving parts and a lot of active files; [the work] never ends.”
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