The Future of the Trademark Business Model
The Trademark Industry Is a Racket
Sometimes people ask me how my business model is profitable, or what my edge is. I find it hard to answer them without making it sound like I’m cutting corners, but the truth is that JPG Legal’s edge is simply that we’re cheaper than all of the good services and better than all of the cheap services. We’re an actual law firm that performs actual legal work while still charging as little as or less than the online “legal services” factories like LegalZoom.
The two primary trademarking models — both the traditional law firm model and the online “legal services provider” model — are rackets.
Conventional lawyers are bad at client acquisition, so they tend to exploit the clients they do manage to get, billing as many hours to their clients as they can. In reality, it simply doesn’t take much time to perform due diligence on trademarks, or to file trademark applications.
However, on the other end, there are also all of these cheap, no-frills online service providers who don’t seem to be bound by any ethical obligations and who mislead people about their likelihood of success or the hidden back-end costs of their trademark applications. I’m trying to bridge that gap with my firm.
JPG Legal’s Growth, Margins, and Profitability
(Note: This post is from mid-2017. See our mid-2018 growth update here.)
My growth in the past few months has been phenomenal, and I’m going to need to start hiring help soon. However, it’s very important to me that JPG Legal stay an actual law firm and not become a corporate middleperson like LegalZoom. I believe that the margins are high enough at my price point to keep giving professional-level service to clients and avoid selling out; I’m going to make sure that my clients’ cases are handled by actual, knowledgeable attorneys who are employees of JPG Legal (as opposed to independent contractors).
profits earnings before taxes in U.S. dollars since launching Google ads in April 2017.
The screenshot of my accounting spreadsheet above shows my recent monthly profits (correction: earnings before taxes (EBT)) in U.S. dollars since I first finished building out my website and launched Google ads in April. This is after accounting for advertising costs ($10,000 in May, $4,500 in June, and $3,500 in July), office expenses ($1,123 in July, the month I moved into my current office), and filing fees ($5,500 in May, $7,250 in June, and $18,000 in July).
Last month, I filed about 70 trademark applications, and I’m at maybe 30% capacity. Once I reach 70% or 80% capacity, I’ll hire an associate attorney for my firm. My model is very scalable; it’s profitable enough that I could keep hiring attorneys and give them good salaries and benefits ad infinitum.
Most of my income now comes from repeat clients and referrals, so the growth is going to keep compounding. The jump from $4,500 in June to $12,000 in July, in particular, was stunning. I now find myself in the enviable position of figuring out how to scale my firm sooner than I had expected.
Click Here to Learn More About Our
Trademark Registration Packages.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter.