Southeast Missouri State University alumna Annette Heller of Chesterfield, Missouri, recently was honored with the Women’s Justice Award in the Business Practitioner category at the 17th annual award dinner of the Missouri Lawyers Weekly.
“I was very honored after I learned about the award and that this was the 17th year it was done,” Annette says. “It was wonderful being with so many accomplished women who also received the award that night and part of a group of very accomplished women who have received the award for the past 17 years in the state of Missouri.”
Annette was nominated by a colleague and selected by a committee that chose honorees in various categories. The dinner also served as a fund raiser to support the American Cancer Society.
Annette has carved a niche for herself, establishing her own successful law practice as an experienced and established trademark attorney, serving clients in the St. Louis area and across the United States. She has been practicing law since 1976 when she began her career as an in-house trademark and copyright counsel for Ralston Purina. In 1983, she started the Law Offices of Annette P. Heller, primarily representing individuals, smaller companies and law firms that do not have trademark or copyright expertise within their firm. Her practice is limited to trademark, copyright and unfair competition law.
Annette is among the top trademark attorneys in the United States in the number of applications filed with the United States Trademark Office. She has been the recipient of the Trademark Insider Award for top ranking in the nation for the number of new trademark applications received at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. She has filed more than 3,300 trademark applications and successfully registered more than 2,200. In addition, she has handled more than 225 oppositions and cancellations in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Annette is a member of both the Missouri Bar and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. She is past vice president of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and was a member of the Leadership St. Louis Class of 1986-1987. She is on the Board of Governors for the Bar Association of St. Louis and active in other bar associations. She also serves on the St. Louis Alumni Chapter Executive Committee.
She graduated from Southeast in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in theatre and speech.
Annette says Southeast provided her with a tremendous educational foundation that has served her well throughout her career. She said she chose Southeast after receiving a scholarship, and that her years spent here helped her to enhance her people and multitasking skills. While a student at Southeast, she was president of the Student Activities Council and Black Mask.
“It gave me a great education and the opportunity to participate in many extracurricular activities. I learned to balance school work with the leadership roles that I took on,” she says.
After earning her undergraduate degree at Southeast, she went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law and eventually established her own successful law practice. She said she pursued a career in law after being encouraged by many others, including a Southeast business law professor, a co-worker who was an attorney and her husband.
Annette has been honored with many awards, including the 2014 Streetscape Magazine “Beyond the Best” award and the Trademark Insider Award for Top 25. The Solo and Small Firm Section of the Bar Association of St Louis recognized her for her service to the organization, and in 2011, she was the recipient of the Super Lawyer award in Intellectual Property. In 2006, Annette was honored with the St. Louis Chapter of the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association’s Southeast Salutes award, which recognizes outstanding alumni from the St. Louis area who have brought distinction to themselves and to the University through career and community achievements. Annette also has served as a member of the Southeast Missouri State University National Alumni Council and the St. Louis Executive Committee. She also made a gift to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation to establish the Annette P. Seigel Heller Endowed Scholarship for students with financial need.
Annette and her husband, Jack, have been married for 43 years and are the parents of Becki Heller, director of Digital and Social Media Marketing for Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising Agency, and Dr. Mark Heller, an emergency room physician and entrepreneur. They also have twin grandsons.
“I plan to continue to represent individuals and small and medium size businesses to protect their trademark, which is a very valuable asset of a business, since there are only two attorneys in the St. Louis area that practice exclusively in the trademark and copyright area of law,” Annette says.
To Southeast students, Annette offers some advice.
“Find some extracurricular school activity you enjoy doing since that shows that you can handle multiple activities and do well,” she says.