Many of you know about the difficult Trademark battle I experienced this year. I’ve had a couple people email me to ask how to go about the process, so thought I’d put together another “How To” – and this one is VERY important. If you are using a name that does not include your NAME in it (IE: Emily Ley Paper), you must MUST file a trademark application. If you do not, you are basically telling any one who’d like to use your business name – they can have it. Trademarking protects you and your business from copy-cats.
First, let’s take a look at the different type of intellectual property protections :: a Copyright, Trademark and Patent. Read this article written by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
This protects music, literature, articles, etc from being re-used without permission from the creator. (IE: The Beatles songs are all copyrighted).
This protects your business name, tag-line, product name, etc from being used by another company (and thereby causing marketplace confusion with the names). Note: It isn’t necessary to Trademark your OWN name (IE: Emily Ley Paper) – you innately own the rights to that name because it includes your own personal name.
Patent ($500 – $1,500, sometimes more)
This protects items and products themselves. For instance, you might patent a fancy toothbrush, so no one else can create that toothbrush.
Now, for most of you reading this, you’re going to be most concerned with the Trademark process. I cant tell you how important it is to spend that $275. I also recommend working with an attorney who specializes in these types of things because they make the process MUCH easier.
- Research your name.
- Search the TESS System for similar marks.
- Hire a Trademark Manager (optional) and file your Trademark Application.
- Use the TM symbol.
- Wait . . .
- Publication for contesting in the Official Trademark Gazette.
- Conquer any roadblocks.