Category Archives for Trademark

When MUST you register a trademark (S3E75)


When should you run (not walk) to submit your trademark registration application?  There are definitely times when waiting to register a trademark is a huge mistake.

In this week’s episode you’ll learn:

  • How the level of investment behind your business or product can determine whether a registered trademark is a necessity
  • How long it takes to receive a trademark registration certificate from the USPTO
  • The advantages of “intent to use” applications in US trademark law
  • When you can use the ® and TM symbols
  • How a registered trademark can make your licensing or certification program more valuable to your licensees
  • Why a registered trademark can make your business more attractive to potential buyers
  • When a registered trademark in the US can help you obtain a foreign trademark if you plan to sell products or services internationally

Key takeaway: If your business is up-leveling in a major way, a trademark registration becomes a necessity, not a nice-to-have. Since the registration process is not quick, working with a trusted legal advisor who specializes in trademark law can help you plan ahead.

Visit https://awbfirm.com/vimeo-video/podcast75/ for part one of the video version of this podcast episode (and a link to part two).

While you’re here, sign up below for a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet. You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

This is the final episode of Season 3. Don’t worry, Season 4 will launch on April 1, 2019 with loads of valuable information for online course creators and new interviews with top online course business owners. In the meantime, we’ll be releasing  interviews from the archives you may have missed the first time around. Stay tuned!

Resources

Legal Road Map® episode 68: www.awbfirm.com/podcast68

Legal Road Map ® episode 71: www.awbfirm.com/podcast71

Legal Road Map ® episode 31: www.awbfirm.com/podcast31

Legal Road Map ® episode 32: www.awbfirm.com/podcast32

Legal Road Map ® episode 33: www.awbfirm.com/podcast33

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Someone registered my TM – what can I do (S3E74)


Finding out someone else has registered a trademark you’re using in your business can really sting. But so long as you started using it first, not all is lost.

In this week’s episode you’ll learn:

  • What winning the race means when it comes to trademarks and defending your rights
  • What the “opposition period” is and why it is crucial to monitor the USPTO Gazette if you’re relying on common law trademark rights
  • How a cease and desist letter may stop a similar trademark application in its tracks
  • When the USPTO will actually deny a trademark application for a similar trademark without you lifting a finger
  • How challenging a trademark that’s the same as or similar to yours after a certificate has been granted can be more difficult, but not impossible
  • Why, in order to defend your trademark rights, you have to actually be using your trademark

Key takeaway: Challenging an application for a trademark that’s the same or similar as yours is not an area of legal you want to DIY. Consulting with a trusted legal advisor who specializes in trademark law is the best way to defend your trademark rights and prevent brand or product confusion.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet.  You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

Next week is the final episode of Season 3 of the Legal Road Map®  podcast, all about when you must  register a trademark.

I’m so excited to bring Season 4 to you – it’s all about legal for course creators – so be sure to stay tuned!

Additional Resources:

Get your ALL ACCESS PASS for the Online Course Success Summit, classes will be live Feb. 11-22: http://awbfirm.com/ocss/

USPTO Official Gazette, published weekly: https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/official-gazette/trademark-official-gazette-tmog

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

#trademarks – Can you own a hashtag TM? (S3E73)


Hashtags are everywhere these days. It may seem appealing to register one that you use in your business as a trademark, but is it even possible?

In this week’s episode you’ll learn:

  1. How to figure out if you’re really using a hashtag as a trademark
  2. Why using your hashtag outside of social media may help you protect it as a trademark
  3. The downsides to registering your trademark with a hashtag instead of just the words
  4. Why a registered trademark hashtag is really difficult to enforce

Key takeaway: It takes some special circumstances to make the time and effort needed to register a hashtag as a trademark worth it. Consulting with a trusted legal advisor ahead of time can help you determine if you’re ready to take on the task or not.

Visit www.awbfirm.com/podcast73 for a transcript and show notes, and sign up to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet.  You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

Resources:

Get your free ticket NOW for the Online Course Success Summit, classes will be live Feb. 11-22: http://awbfirm.com/ocss/

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Common law + state trademarks (S3E72)


Did you know that a federally registered trademark isn’t the only form of trademark protection available?  There are actually three levels of protection in the U.S. trademark system — common law, state law registration, and federal (USPTO) registration.

While common law or state trademarks may work for some businesses, there are some significant downsides to each.

In this week’s episode you’ll learn:

  1. What a common law trademark is, and the limited rights this type of trademark provides
  2. The drawbacks to relying solely on a common law trademark
  3. Which types of trademark you can use the ® and ™symbols
  4. The benefits to filing a federal trademark registration
  5. The protections provided by a state trademark registration
  6. The downsides of relying solely on a state trademark registration

Key takeaway:  There are a few different levels of trademark protection offered on the state and federal level, as well on a common law basis. Which one is best for your business depends on multiple factors. It’s a good idea to consult with a trusted legal advisor to make sure you’re protected in the right ways and places for your business.

Visit www.awbfirm.com/podcast for a transcript and show notes, and sign up to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet.  You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

Resources

Get your free ticket NOW for the Online Course Success Summit: http://awbfirm.com/ocss/

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

What is a trademark search and do I need one (S3E71)


Registering a trademark is a lengthy, multi-step process, and it can be tempting to skip the first step of running a trademark search before filing that registration application. But I’m sharing all the reasons why skipping the search is a bad idea.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What a trademark clearance search is and why you should do one every time you choose a name for a new business, product, or service
  • How you may be able to DIY your clearance search
  • When you still may be able to use a business or product name even if it’s already being used by someone else
  • How a knockout search helps determine what (if any) risks you may face if you apply to register your trademark with the USPTO
  • Why it’s so important to look at trademarks used for products and services that you don’t sell, but are related to what you sell, in a knockout search
  • What a search will tell you about how strong your trademark is, and how hard it will be to defend it if you do receive a trademark registration certificate

Key takeaway: Whether you start the trademark search process on your own, or work with a lawyer from the very beginning, one thing is for sure: failing to spend a little time and/or money on a trademark search early can be costly down the road.

Visit www.awbfirm.com/podcast for a transcript and show notes, and sign up to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet.  You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

HOW to choose a good trademark (S3E70)


Some trademarks are stronger than others. But unfortunately, for a lot of business owners, they only find out their trademark isn’t strong when they’re denied when they try to register it with the USPTO.

So, what makes a good trademark?

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Who trademark law is really protecting
  • The four different types of word trademarks, and the pros and cons of each
  • Why sometimes you can use your last name as a trademark, and sometimes you can’t
  • The litmus test for understanding what in your business is or isn’t actually a trademark

Key takeaway: Choosing a strong trademark doesn’t have to be difficult. But to avoid heartache down the road, choosing the right name for your business and products early on is always best practice.

Visit www.awbfirm.com/podcast for a transcript and show notes, and sign up to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet.  You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

WHEN should I register my trademark (S3E69)


Your business is established and thriving. Or maybe you haven’t even earned your first dollar yet. So, WHEN is the right time to register your trademark?

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The downsides to waiting to register a trademark
  • Why you may want to register a trademark for your product before you start selling
  • The ONE question to ask yourself to determine if you’re ready to register your trademark
  • How often you should take inventory of your business’s IP to evaluate what trademarks you have, and whether it’s time to register
  • Why failing to defend your trademark rights could result in your losing them

Key takeaway: Deciding on the right time to register your trademark depends on a lot of different factors in your business. But asking yourself the right questions will help you determine when you should register.

Visit www.awbfirm.com/podcast for a transcript and show notes, and sign up to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet.  You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Why should I register a trademark anyway (S3E68)


We talk a lot about trademarks on the podcast, but you may still be wondering why you would ever need to register a trademark in your business.

While it may seem like a hassle, registering a trademark is one of the most valuable protections you can put in place in your business.

In this episode I cover:

  • The types of things that can be protected by a trademark
  • How a trademark can set you up for success if you ever decide to expand into other states
  • How a registered trademark can save you time and hassle if you ever have to file a lawsuit around your trademark
  • The advantage to registering your trademark if you do business abroad
  • How a trademark can help prevent counterfeiting
  • The value a registered trademark can add to your business if you ever look to sell or take on investment
  • How registering your trademark shows competitors you mean business

Key takeaway: If you’re committed to protecting your business for the long haul, a trademark registration should be on your list for 2019.

Additional resources:

Legal Road Map® episode 5: www.awbfirm.com/podcast5

Legal Road Map® episode 6: www.awbfirm.com/podcast6

5-minute IP audit: www.awbfirm.com/podcast

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit worksheet.  You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

Legal planning for 2019 – Copyrights (S3E67)


You’ve probably heard you automatically have copyright protection under US law.  But did you know you must register early in order to be able to fully enforce those protections?

Sounds tricky, right?  It doesn’t have to be!

Listen to this week’s episode where I walk you through a copyright audit for your business:

In this week’s episode I walk you through planning for 2019 with a copyright audit for your business:

  • The main difference between copyrights and trademarks and where they may overlap
  • What can (and can’t) be protected by copyright in your business
  • Who owns the copyrights if an employee or contractor creates photos, graphics, videos, copy, or other content for you
  • How your contracts can protect your copyrights when you’re working with independent contractors
  • The one thing you MUST do in order to take advantage of the rights afforded under copyright law
  • The huge financial benefits to registering your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office early, before your work is copied

Key takeaway: The key with copyrights is to start thinking about them early on. The sooner you begin locking down your copyrights by registering them, the more your business will be able to shut down copycats.

Additional resources:

5-Minute IP Audit worksheet: www.awbfirm.com/podcast

Contract template store: www.awbfirm.com/contract-templates

Legal planning for 2019 – Trademarks (S3E66)


The AWB Firm gets more questions on trademarks than anything else. Trademarks are not only a smart investment to make sure everything you’ve worked so hard to create (your brand) is protected, but they can also be used as a tool to create additional revenue streams. Learn what you should trademark and how to plan for it in 2019.

In this week’s episode I cover:

  • The types of things in your business that can be protected by trademark (and those that can’t)
  • Reasons you should consider trademarks for your business
  • Great resources + tips for preliminary, DIY trademark searches
  • An advanced strategy to broaden your reach in 2019

Key takeaway: Even if you’re not ready just yet, taking a few simple steps now can help you prepare to take advantage of trademark protections in your business in 2019.

Additional resources:

5-Minute IP Audit worksheet: www.awbfirm.com/podcast

USPTO Trademark Search: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database

Alternate trademark checker: www.namechekr.com

Legal Road Map® Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/legalroadmap/

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit. You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Trademark infringement – How close is too close (S3E45)


When are you violating someone else’s trademark rights?  OR, flip-side, when should you get in touch with someone you think might be infringing your trademark and ask them to change it?  

How can you interpret your search results when you type your trademark into the USPTO website?

I received this great question in an online business community, CoCommercial, and realized I’ve never dug into how lawyers, courts, and the USPTO evaluate when trademarks are too close.

This is a meaty episode on a complex topic, where I covered:

  • Consumer confusion – what trademark law is intended to prevent, and why this matters
  • Who has “priority rights” over a trademark in the US
  • When might you need to evaluate whether one trademark is too similar to another?
  • How to figure out if trademarks are too close
  • Does it matter if one trademark has a few extra words?
  • What about different spelling?
  • When are two logos too similar?
  • Does it matter if someone copied a trademark intentionally, or by accident?
  • Examples of trademarks that are and are not too similar
  • When you need to bring in an experienced IP attorney to help you evaluate a potential trademark infringement

Key takeaway: trademarks do not have to be identical to potentially be infringing!  

If you have questions about whether one trademark is too close to another, post them in our Legal Road Map® Facebook group!  Just request access and we’ll let you right in.

Next month we’re diving into the legal issues that come up with running a location-independent business.  You will definitely want to tune in if you’ve ever thought about living that laptop life and traveling the world while running your business!  Tune in next week for the first episode in this series.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit. You’ll learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (you can also sign up there to be the first to know when new episodes are live and receive other legal updates and special offers from the AWB Firm).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

What happens after the trademark registration (S2E25)


Filing a trademark registration application is no easy task. In this week’s episode, I’ll talk about what happens after you get your trademark registration, and how taking your trademark seriously can make others take you and your business more seriously.

Listen and learn:

  • Why it’s a good idea to use the ™ and ® symbols
  • Why you should monitor the USPTO for similar filings
  • How a simple Google Alert can save you a lot of trademark headache
  • Why you need to consult with a trusted attorney if you’re going to send a cease and desist letter

KEY TAKEAWAY: Getting your trademark registration signals a huge leveling-up in your business. Having a trusted attorney on your team who already knows your business can help you feel prepared to defend your trademark.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit to learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Boss Mom Dana Malstaff on brand protection as business strategy (S2E24)


Original Boss Mom®, Dana Malstaff, shares how protecting her brand was not only an early, key business strategy but also now provides her with peace of mind to reach her big goals.

Listen and learn:

  • How a registered trademark protects the meaning behind your business, not just its name
  • How DIY’ing legal isn’t always a good idea
  • The pros and cons of DIY’ing legal for your business, and when it’s time to level up and hire a lawyer
  • Why having the right professionals on your team can make all the difference

KEY TAKEAWAY: Working with a lawyer doesn’t have to be an intimidating one-way street. Having the right legal support on your team can keep you from needlessly spending on non-strategized legal work.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit to learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

The downsides to registering a TM (and why I think you should do it anyway) LRM (S2E23)


Registering a trademark seems like a business no-brainer, but there are some potentially negative consequences that are important to consider before you take the plunge. Join me in this week’s episode where I discuss the downsides to registering a trademark, and why I think you should do it anyway.

Listen and learn:

  • Why raising your business’s profile through trademark registration isn’t always a good thing
  • How a registered trademark helps prevent consumer confusion
  • Why some trademarks can never be registered
  • Why time really is of the essence in our U.S. trademark registration process
  • How important it really is to work with a trusted legal advisor when registering your business’s trademark

KEY TAKEAWAY: Trademark registration is a complicated process that’s not for the faint of heart. But if it’s a brand that’s important to your business, it’s worth registering your trademark.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit to learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

The pitfalls of filing a trademark yourself and how a lawyer can help (LRM S2E21)


You can file a trademark yourself, but should you? Online platforms like LegalZoom may lead you to believe filing a trademark application is as easy as filling out a form, but in reality it’s a complicated process can require a lot of guidance.

Listen and learn:

  • The important first step you can take to prevent having your application denied
  • Why working with a trusted lawyer can help you avoid finding out the hard way that your business name is not registerable
  • How a lawyer can help you strategize your trademark application to save money long term
  • Why a USPTO Office Action isn’t always a bad thing

KEY TAKEAWAY: Trademark applications are tricky a process to navigate. In some cases, if your application isn’t done right the first time you might not get another chance to refile it. Working with a lawyer to file your trademark application not only ensures that your brand is fully protected, but it can also save you time and money in the long run.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit to learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Stacy Tuschl on building empires with legal help (LRM S2E20)


Stacy Tuschl of She’s Building Her Empire talks about the benefits of working with a lawyer vs. an online platform when it comes to copyrights and trademarks.

Listen and learn:

  • Why putting things out there before they’re (or you’re) ready can be the best way to go
  • Why not working with a lawyer on your trademark can leave your brand open to copycats
  • The importance of knowing the difference between an independent contractor and an employee, as they relate to your business
  • How the right pricing attracts the kind of clients you want to work with
  • How valuable it is to have a lawyer on your team who knows your business

KEY TAKEAWAY: If you’re ready to reach your big goals or build your empire, the best place to start is on a firm legal foundation.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit to learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Does your business need to protect its intellectual property? (LRM S2E19)


Is your business the type that needs to worry about intellectual property rights?  This week I talk about why your business may or may not need to protect its copyrights and trademarks.

Listen and learn:

  • Which types of business are more likely to need intellectual property protection
  • The difference between copyrights and trademarks
  • Who needs to register a trademark or copyright
  • The issues your business may face if your brand is built on your own name
  • The benefits of registering with the U.S. Copyright Office or U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

KEY TAKEAWAY: Not every business needs to invest in intellectual property protections. For businesses that make their money from their brand, their creativity, or their content, you must make smart decisions early in your business to have strong intellectual property rights that are properly protected for the long haul.

Sign up below to get a free 5 Minute Intellectual Property Audit to learn how you can make more money from the copyrights and trademarks in your business (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information, not legal advice specific to your situation.

Dealing with copycats who rip off your content or brand name (LRM S1E11)


As a creative business owner, at some point, you will probably find someone has copied your best stuff or started a business or product with a very similar name as yours. Learn how to respond when this happens to protect your business and brand.

(Be sure to listen to Episode 5 first for an overview of the different kinds of IP; Episode 11 builds on Episode 5).

Episode highlights:

  • What steps can you take to avoid someone copying you?
  • What evidence should you keep in your files if you find you’ve been copied?
  • How can you get someone to stop copying you without a lawyer?
  • What is a DMCA takedown notice and how can this help you stop copycats?
  • When should you consider hiring a lawyer?
  • What is the process for filing an infringement lawsuit and what does it cost?

KEY TAKEAWAY: Protecting your rights from copycats may be easier than you think, many people don’t know how the laws work and often a gentle heads up and request that they stop will work wonders.

Sign up below for swipe copy you can use to write your own cease and desist letter to send to a copycat (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information not legal advice specific to your situation.

Copyright and Trademark 201, using other people’s photos, videos, music, and more legally (LRM S1E8)


How can you use content created by other people like photos, videos, music, or text (third-party content) the right way in your business? Learn all about fair use and how to stay out of legal hot water with copyrights and trademarks.

(Be sure to listen to Episodes 5, 6 and 7 first for an overview of the different kinds of IP; Episode 8 builds on those episodes).

Episode highlights:

  • What’s in the public domain?
  • Ask permission – the safest bet
  • Using other people’s content on social media (re-pinning, re-posting, re-gramming)
  • Copyright fair use – there is no magic % you can change and be safe
  • Trademarks – rules for selling things made with licensed fabric, plus can you use college sports and NFL logos, movie and book titles and characters, quotes and song lyrics?

KEY TAKEAWAY: If you don’t have permission, you’re probably infringing. Create your own stuff or get permission (in writing!) or risk getting a nasty letter or being sued.

Sign up below for a cheat sheet to help you use other people’s stuff the right way (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information not legal advice specific to your situation.

Trademark 101, choose a good business or product name and registration explained (LRM S1E6)


How can you create the most value in your brand? Start by choosing a great company or product name, then check to make sure no one else is already using it. Plus learn why a federal trademark registration could help your business.

(Be sure to listen to Episode 5 first for an overview of the different kinds of IP; Episode 6 builds on Episode 5).

Episode highlights:

  • What kinds of brand and company names make the best trademarks? Fanciful, arbitrary, suggestive, descriptive and generic marks explained.
  • How can you search to see if a trademark is already being used?
  • Is checking for domain name availability good enough as a trademark search?
  • When does it make sense to register a trademark?
  • How does the federal trademark registration process work? Do you need to hire an attorney?
  • How long does a trademark registration last?
  • Should you use the ™ and ® symbols?

KEY TAKEAWAY: One of the easiest legal protections you can DIY is a thorough trademark search to be sure you’re not infringing anyone else’s rights, and are building value in a brand you can actually protect.

Sign up below for a Trademark 101 guide and cheat sheet to help you choose a great business or product name (plus be the first to know when new episodes are live).

This podcast is information not legal advice specific to your situation.