IT consultants have career issues that are different from
those of the corporate IT pro. In this regular column, we will address those
issues that are specific to the consultant. This week, we discuss how to deal
with contractor trademarks.

This is the e-mail I received from an IT consultant seeking
some answer to questions: “In recent months, I have taken steps to
safe-guard my processes, methodologies and tools I use in the form of a
Trademark. But, the real world isn’t Trademark friendly, and I need additional
information on how to practically and effectively move from here. As most
consultants know, many large projects start with an initial assessment process.
It is during this assessment period that the benefits of a full-scale
deployment of a process are identified. A common issue I have encountered is
that after the assessment, the customer may choose to do the project themselves
using the approach I have provided. My position on this is if a client moves
forward with a process or approach they have learned from me, I feel I’m
entitled to some remuneration — especially if there are serious cost savings as
a direct result of my contribution.”


Q1. How should my work contracts change as a result of a
trademark. For example should I clearly state that my Trademark processes cannot
be used without my permission?

Q2. When dealing with agencies, I typically sign their work
contract, they don’t sign mine. How do I include the safeguarding of my
Trademark when their generic contract does not provide a location for the
inclusion for the reference of my Trademark?

Q3. I have concerns about over complicating the hiring
process. I’m worried that if I start trying to force Agencies and end customers
to sign non-disclosure and non-unauthorized Trademark use agreements that they
will find another consultant that is less difficult to deal with.

Q4. In an Agency situation, my contract is normally only
with the Agency not with the end customer. How would I be safeguarded against
the end customer using my Trademark when I do not have a contract with the end

If you have some feedback on these questions, please post it
in the discussion area following this article. If you are a consultant with some questions of your own that you would like to ask, send them to