You know what they say about assumptions, right? Too often, people make assumptions about patents, trademarks, copyright.
Intellectual property (IP) is divided into three types, patents, trademarks and copyrights. First, patents protect inventions. Trademarks protect the names of those inventions. Copyrights protect written materials. Be certain that when you are consulting with an attorney or investor about your intellectual property, you are able to speak intelligently. Expressions such as, “Oh, I want to patent my brand” or “I want to trademark my invention” sound like fingernails going across a chalkboard to an IP attorney.
Avoid making assumptions to ensure:
- You don’t waste your time consulting an attorney on something that you don’t own the rights to.
- You don’t spend unnecessary funds and invest them in your IP wisely.
Patents are a type of intellectual property that protect inventions. If you want to find out more about patents, you can visit to www.uspto.gov (United States Patent & Trademark Office). They do a great job of providing generic and free information. Don’t forget to consult with a qualified IP attorney to discuss your specific issue. Remember, Google is not your lawyer! LOL!
THERE IS NO PERCENT RULE
Inventors often ask, “What percent do I need to change the invention so that I can get a patent?” Often, inventors assume that they can invent something or that they can patent something by changing a percent of something that already exists. That is one of the biggest assumptions that people make and it’s very wrong.
Here’s the truth about patentable inventions:
- When you invent something, the invention is required to be useful and solves a problem.
- The invention is required to be novel or new. If you notice that something already exists that’s identical to what you’re doing, even if that person has not filed a patent application on that invention, you can’t file it because your invention is not patentable.
- The invention must be non-obvious. That is, would it be obvious to one of the ordinary skilled within the art, to take what’s out there and combine it to make the invention.
For example, changing the size, shape, color, material or attaching a button instead of a zipper on something are typically obvious changes such that an invention would not be patentable.
What is another patent assumption you’ve heard?
HELLO 2020! Happy New Year! Have you set your intellectual property resolutions? That’s right! Add intellectual property to your 2020 goals…Protection? Enforcement? Policing? What will you accomplish this year?
Are you prioritizing the wrong things in your business? We are all given 24 hours in a day. People often ask entrepreneurs how they accomplish so much in one day. It sounds cliche but it’s simple. Successful entrepreneurs prioritize their time. If you are not setting daily realistic goals during the day, you could be wasting valuable time. Of course, time is money. If you’re an entrepreneur and you aren’t making money, then you’re not making sense and cents!
You actually may be setting goals but you may be aiming for the wrong goals or even unrealistic goals. It’s critical to look at your goals and identify what steps need to be taken to accomplish your goals. After you set a goal, identify the tasks required to complete reach that goal. Then, identify how much time it will take to complete that tasks and actually subtract that from your 8-10 hour work day. It is so rewarding to actually remove an item from your to-do list. It’s better to end a work day on a high note than to start your day working on an unfinished task.
What’s your secret to maximizing your day?
Having a trademark attorney by your side can prevent you from getting into a legal conflict with other trademark owners. Your attorney can research for you and ensure your trademark doesn’t infringe on other trademark rights BEFORE you invest money in a brand that will have issues.
If you are accused of trademark infringement, it is critical to have a trademark attorney that is skilled and experienced in trademark law to help you to navigate the trademark process.
Researching your trademark is critical!
Congratulations! You provide a service or have a product and now you’re ready to protect your brand. You’ve heard people mention to you that you should trademark your brand but you’re not exactly sure what protection the trademark will give you and what even qualifies as a trademark. That uncertainty is a critical reason why you should hire a trademark attorney.
Although a trademark attorney is not required, the USPTO recommends you hire a trademark attorney. The USPTO Trademark Examining Attorneys are helpful. I should know because I worked at the USPTO as a Trademark Examining Attorney. However, the Trademark Examining Attorneys work for the USPTO and not you!
A trademark attorney provides legal advice regarding use of the trademark, filing an application, and the likelihood of success in the registration process. A trademark attorney can help you to fully understand your options. All applications don’t proceed to registration! This means there is a chance that you could file an application and run into problems that could have been avoided had a qualified attorney worked with you. Some issues require you re-file your entire application.
I often speak to entrepreneurs who proudly profess that they have registered their trademark on their own. That’s great! Many people sell their own homes, bandage their own wounds and file their own divorces. Working pro se (without an attorney) can save you money but mistakes you make may cost your more money than you would have paid had you hired a qualified trademark attorney in the first place. Keep in mind that your registration although registered, may not necessarily be valid.
What’s your hesitation in hiring a trademark attorney?
Congratulations on taking the next steps to secure federal trademark registration on your trademark! Now, you’re at a crossroad! Should you really hire a trademark attorney to prosecute your trademark application? You have the right to prosecute trademark applications pro-se (without an attorney) or represented by counsel. It’s your choice. However, choose wisely!
If you file a trademark represented by competent trademark council, here are the benefits:
1. The prosecution of your trademark application may be shortened because you avoid the unnecessary back and forth with the USPTO when you make mistakes.
2. Your trademark attorney can help you to police and enforce your trademark.
3. Your trademark attorney can respond to an office action on your behalf.
4. Your trademark attorney can defend your mark in a proceeding.
5. Your trademark attorney can ensure you know the scope of your trademark rights…
6. YOUR TRADEMARK ATTORNEY CAN SAVE YOUR MONEY!!
Remember, when you file a trademark application, the process is a legal process. It will likely cost you more money to pay a trademark attorney to fix your mistakes and some mistakes may even require you to refile your entire application! You may want to consider hiring a trademark attorney to use your time to do what you do best…grow your brand and actually sell your products and services!So, are you going to hire a trademark attorney to prosecute your trademark application?
Save You Money
Trademarking a brand can take up lots of time, resources, and money. A trademark attorney can help you save money in the long run by ensuring your application is correctly filed the first time and that it’s achievable. Imagine working diligently and investing your savings for nothing to work out because of a simple error. A “simple error” can sometimes jeopardize an entire trademark application.
If you hire a trademark attorney, you forfeit most of the complicated legal stuff unto someone you can trust, while you put your energy into your business. The sooner you trademark your brand, the better.
WHAT CAN EVANSIPLAW DO TO HELP YOU?
Hopefully, many of you are taking advantage of continuing to grow your skills and expertise by attending conferences. For example, lawyers in most states are required to attend (Continuing Legal Education) CLE conferences to keep their bar licenses active. Attending conferences is also a great way to expand and grow your brand in other industries. I love it when a prospective client calls my Firm because a “friend of a friend” referred them to my Firm. Those types of calls confirm that I am networking effectively.
I love conferences and I especially believe that I can always learn something new. I know I’m a patent attorney but I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. If you’ve already achieved success and you’re willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn! Often, so many people have a narrow focus when they start their businesses. Think GLOBAL and think of all of the possibilities.
How many of you take advantage of attending conferences that are not tailored towards your specific industry? I hope I’m not the only one in the room raising my hand!