Scott McKay: Mapping the evolution of trademark research

Meet the experts behind the data at Clarivate

The trademark research space has changed dramatically over the past three decades and our trademark team at Clarivate™ has been a trusted partner to IP professionals every step of the way, delivering meaningful insights to help them make the right decisions for their business. Throughout this transformation, there has been a notable constant within our research team: Scott McKay. As director of global trademark operations support, Scott ensures our customers receive the best quality trademark intelligence – a responsibility he’s taken on since the dawn of the internet era.

A fortunate decision

Fresh out of college with a degree in geography, Scott sought a job in urban planning. The map industry wasn’t hiring, however, and in 1994 he joined what was then Thomson and Thomson as a trademark research analyst. That proved beneficial for both Scott and for our customers.

Right from the start, Scott embraced the opportunity to expand his knowledge of the intricacies of intellectual property (IP) rights, earning the trust and loyalty of the IP professionals who came to rely on his research skills. This led to his appointment as lead research analyst, handling key customer accounts.

Ascending leadership path

Scott’s combination of trademark knowledge and proven leadership skills have propelled him through a series of increasing responsibilities, starting with his role as head of quality. In this position, he oversaw processes to ensure the accuracy of customer search reports.

“In addition to focusing on key customers’ reports, we instituted a process of random sampling to provide a statistic analysis to ensure we maintained consistent quality across the board,” Scott explains. “We also steadily expanded our checks of web common law, which became increasingly central to trademark search results.”

From quality, Scott progressed to roles as director of search operations, director of watch operations, and today as director of global trademark operations support.

“I’m now responsible for search and watch quality, so I’ve sort of come full circle,” Scott says, noting that his key areas of focus include addressing customer feedback and analyzing trends to target areas of potential improvement and continue to enhance the customer experience.

Innovation, led by customers

Scott also plays a leading role in guiding the development of next-generation trademark Search and Watch solutions.

“We’re using an approach called Design Thinking, gathering customer input and feedback to guide new initiatives, including regular check-ins to ensure our innovations meet our customers’ real-world needs,” he explains.

Another area of focus for Scott is a major global training initiative for Clarivate trademark search and watch analysts. “As we continue to expand our production capacity worldwide, we are making significant investments in training to ensure our teams have the best-in-class trademark knowledge that have always been a hallmark of our business,” he says, noting that maintaining that high level of expertise is crucially important, even as the role of technology in trademark research has expanded rapidly.

The value of human expertise

“Advanced technologies have opened the door to a range of exciting capabilities for our customers, from AI-based search and watch analytics to image recognition tools. But there will always be a need for human expertise in IP research,” Scott says.

“Trademark research is both an art and a science, with a lot of nuances that require a knowledgeable person. That combination of advanced technology and human expertise is what sets Clarivate apart.”

Reflecting on how far the IP research industry has come since he searched his first trademark, Scott says: “It’s interesting to think about the importance of what we do and the impact that IP has on the world. I think about trademarks I researched more than 20 years ago and seeing those products still in use today is very rewarding.”

As a former college geography major, cartography is still on the map for Scott. At Clarivate, he’s helping to chart a course for the future of IP research.

Learn how Clarivate experts operate to meet your trademark needs.