5 Things You Need to Know About Non-Disclosure Agreements

5 Things You Need to Know about Non-Disclosure Agreements

Our lawyer-prepared Non-Disclosure Agreements are drafted by our intellectual property attorneys are a non-refundable flat fee of only $299.

If you’re ready to order yours, call 407-674-2657 to get started

  1. You need one.

    If your business or idea is unique, valuable or is something that you don’t want anyone else stealing – you need to make sure that you get one and have it signed by anyone that you’re planning on sharing your ideas with.

  2. Don’t Draft it Yourself.

    In the age of YouTube and Google this is very tempting – but you need to have an actual intellectual property attorney (not even a general lawyer) draft this for you. Why? Because it needs to be custom to what you are protecting so that it covers everything that relates to what you are doing.

    At my firm, we draft these for our clients all the time. The Non-disclosure agreement I draft for one of my clients that is inventing a new mobile app – is completely different from the one I draft for my real estate investor client that is pitching an opportunity to investors.

  3. Don’t use a free template.

    As tempting as it is – this can be dangerous for a number of reasons. I once had a client come to me with their signed Agreement. I asked where he got it from but I didn’t even have to ask because it was clear that it was an online template. He thought he was just saving money by using it – but didn’t realize that I couldn’t even enforce his rights because the agreement wasn’t drafted to fit his unique situation. The legal remedies clause did not include the remedy that would’ve been best for him. Nor did it provide nearly enough coverage or legal protection for his idea. As sad as it was, I had to share the bad news that he would need to file an expensive lawsuit to try and get what he deserved. If his agreement had been drafted the right way, I could’ve based a demand off of the contract itself and saved him thousands of dollars in legal fees. In other words, free online templates just serve to make lawyers rich because they would rather get paid thousands to file a lawsuit than a few hundred to draft a preventative agreement that actually saves you money.

  4. Make sure it includes the protection you need.

    There are mutual non-disclosure agreements and non-mutual non-disclosure agreements – but it is really important that you get the right one! Which one is right for you depends on what you’re doing and what you’re looking to protect. If you’re the only one sharing trade secrets and proprietary information, we’ll draft a non-mutual non-disclosure agreement with language that protects you if the other party divulges your info. On the other hand, if both of you will be sharing info. we’ll need to use the mutual non-disclosure clauses since we’ll need remedies if either party breaks the terms. Keep in mind that we’ll still need to make sure the NDA doesn’t limit you to the point where if you decide not to do business with this party – that you can’t work with anyone else. This happens all too often! That’s why it’s really helpful for us to speak with you about what you need – then we can draft language that is strong enough to protect you but gives you freedom to still do business with other people if that is what you need.

  5. Don’t Wait.

    I know you may have a million other things to address – but when it comes to protecting your ideas – you can lose legal rights if you don’t protect them.

    So, pick up the phone and give us a call for a free consultation so that we can hear what you’re trying to do and help you protect yourself. 407-674-2657.

Our 5-Step Non-Disclosure Agreement Process:

  1. Call our office at 407-674-2657 for a free consultation. Let our receptionist know you want a Non-Disclosure Agreement and they’ll schedule a free consultation. Our phones are answered 24/7.
  2. During the free consultation, you’ll speak to a member of my team that will learn about your particular situation and let you know if we can help you. If we can, you can process payment during that call (all major credit or debit cards accepted) and we’ll open up a file for you.
  3. Your case will immediately be assigned to an intellectual property attorney at my office that will have a detailed legal consultation with you (over the phone or in-person) to learn more about what you’re trying to protect.
  4. Based on the information you shared, your intellectual property attorney will draft a non-disclosure agreement that is customized to protect you and your business.
  5. We’ll draft it and give you an opportunity to revise it. Then, we’ll give it to you as an editable Microsoft Word file so that you can use it and modify it as you need to.

Don’t wait. Give us a call today at 407-674-2657 to get started

What you need to know about the trademark process

Before you invest your precious time and money in applying for a federal trademark, there are some very important things that you need to know. Here are three things you need to know about the trademark process.

#1 You need to know what you are doing.

The federal trademark process is one of the few processes that the government hires actual lawyers to handle. That’s right. When you apply for a federal trademark, your application will be scrutinized by a licensed practicing attorney. They are actually called examining attorneys. This is important because this means that they are well versed in trademark law and will require that your application meet very specific requirements according to federal law in order to be approved.

This is one of the reasons it is often beneficial to hire a law firm to file your application. Many online companies will simply allow you to input your own responses and they will file whatever you submit. The problem with this is that you may not be a lawyer – and may not know the legally correct response to give in order for your application to be approved.

At our firm, all of our trademark applications are filed by a licensed practicing attorney that is well-versed in trademark law. We have handled so many applications with the trademark office that we know many of the examining attorneys and understand their expectations.

#2 Filing the application is just the beginning.

Many online companies sell people on cheap packages promising to file their trademark application. The only problem is that filing the application is just the beginning. Remember the examining attorney we discussed in item #1 above? Well, that attorney is going to spend the next 6-12 months reviewing your application and potentially providing you with Office Actions that you need to respond to. An office action is a formal request from the trademark office that must be responded to within a very specific deadline or your application can be abandoned. You want to make sure that the company you hire includes legal representation after they file the application up until you receive a final ruling from the government. Our firm includes this additional 6-12 months of legal representation in all of our trademark filing packages.

#3 There are generally no refunds in the trademark process

Generally, the filing fees that you pay to the trademark office to register your federal trademark are non-refundable. This means that you need to make sure that you have 100% confidence in your understanding of the process (or the attorney or company you hired) so that you do not have to refile the application multiple times and keep having to repay the filing fee.

At our firm, we are proud of our 100% success rate with our federal trademarks. (Disclaimer: Past results do not determine future outcomes). We are proud to say that we have successfully registered trademarks for clients all over the world and stand behind our experience and reputation.

Get in touch!

If you would like to speak to a trademark attorney about registering your federal trademark, please contact us. Our consultations are always free. We would love to help you legally protect your brand!

How to Apply for a trademark (part two)

Welcome to our seventh blog in the How to Make Money with Trademarks series. In our last blog, How to Apply for a Trademark, we talked about the actual questions that you will need to be prepared to answer when completing your federal trademark application. In this blog, we will continue our discussion on How to Apply for a Trademark by sharing more questions that you will see within your federal trademark application.

How to Apply for a Trademark

In our last post, we discussed the following elements to the federal trademark application:

  • Ownership of the mark
  • Contact Information
  • Information regarding the Mark

In this post, we will talk about three more questions you will need to be prepared to answer in your trademark application.

What is the Filing Basis? 

Your federal trademark application will require that you specify your “filing basis.” The filing basis let’s you tell the government if you are filing to register a mark that you are currently using in commerce or for a mark that you plan to use in the future. For example, if you already have a website and are actively promoting your goods and services, you would likely want to list your filing basis as “in use” since you are already using the mark. On the other hand, if you are registering a mark that you haven’t started using yet, you would want to use an “intent to use” filing basis.

Keep in mind that it is not enough to say that you are currently using the mark. You will have to provide the government with actual dates as well as an example, or specimen, of your actual use of the mark in the application. We will discuss the requirements for a specimen further in this article.

How are you using the Mark? 

Filing to register your trademark with the federal government does not give you unfettered rights to use your mark (name, logo or slogan) in any way that you want. Instead, you have to file for ownership of the mark within different “categories” which the government refers to as international classes. In your federal trademark application, you will need to list specifically which goods and services you are using (or plan to use if it is an intent to use application) with your brand.

This step is very important because you will not be able to go back and add additional goods and services unless you pay an additional fee. Whenever we are meeting with clients, our firm undergoes a detailed legal analysis to determine exactly which international classes would provide our clients with maximum legal protection based on their current and anticipated use of their mark.

What is your Specimen?

One of the last components to your federal trademark application will be submitting a specimen for the government to review with your application. A specimen is an actual showcase of the mark being used “in commerce.” A specimen cannot simply be a digital rendering or mock-up. For example, a t-shirt company would need to submit an image of an actual shirt featuring the logo of the brand that they are trying to register. A 3D image or rendering of the photo in Adobe Photoshop likely would not be sufficient. In the event that you are filing an “in use” application, the government wants to see an example of how you are actually using your mark in commerce as proof in support of your claim for ownership.

Now that we understand what applying for a federal trademark entails, we will continue our series by discussing how to license your trademark in our next blog.

Applying for a Trademark

There are several things you should know before applying for a trademark. We’re in the fifth installation of our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. Our first article was How to Make Money with Trademarks.  The second article in our series was What is a Trademark & How to Make Money with Them. In the third article we discussed How to Create a Trademark that Makes Money. In the fourth article, we learned How to Own a Trademark. Now, we’re going to talk about things you should know when applying for a trademark in order to protect your legal rights in the name, logo or slogan you created.

The 3 Types of Federal Trademark Applications

What is the TEAS Plus application?

Generally speaking, you will have the option of using one of three different types of applications when you apply for a federal trademark. The first type of application we will discuss is the TEAS Plus Application. This application is the least expensive application. In fact, the filing fee was recently reduced to $225 (it used to be $275). The reason this application is less expensive is because you have less options when it comes to describing how you will use your mark. For example,  both applications require that you describe the goods and services that you are currently using in association with your mark. However, the TEAS Plus Application only lets you choose from the goods and services that are predefined in the government’s Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual (ID Manual) instead of being able to create your own descriptions as with the TEAS Regular application.

There are also a few other requirements in order to get the discounted rate due to the TEAS Plus application which are:

  1. Your application must be complete when you file it since most of the fields in the TEAS Plus application are considered mandatory.
  2. You have to identify the goods and services associated with your mark using the USPTO’s Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual (ID Manual).
  3. You have to pay for all of the international classes associated with your mark when you file the application.
  4. You must file the application as well as any future responses electronically using TEAS.
  5. You must consent to e-mail communication and submit a working e-mail address.

What is the TEAS Reduced Fee (RF) Application?

The second type of federal trademark application is the TEAS Reduced Fee (RF Application). The TEAS RF is similar to the TEAS PLUS application but has less requirements:

  1. You must file the application as well as any future responses electronically using TEAS.
  2. You must consent to e-mail communication and submit a working e-mail address.

In exchange for meeting these two requirements, the filing fee for the TEAS RF application is only $275. It is a little more than the TEAS PLUS application but not as much as the TEAS Regular.

What is the TEAS Regular application?

The third and final type of federal trademark application is the TEAS Regular application. The TEAS Regular application is the most expensive federal trademark application of the three applications. The filing fee for the TEAS Regular application is $325. The reason this federal trademark application is the most expensive application is because it gives the applicant the most flexibility as it relates to their filing. The TEAS Regular is the most flexible because it allows the applicant to get a filing date and submit an application while meeting the following minimal requirements under 37 C.F.R. §2.21(a):

  • The applicant must include their name and address
  • The applicant must submit a clear drawing of the mark
  • The applicant must list the goods and services associated with the mark
  • The applicant must submit a filing fee for at least one class of goods or services.

Although we always recommend that our clients submit as much information as possible in order to avoid any delays in the processing of their application, the TEAS Regular application is a good option for individuals that want to at least get an early filing date even though they may not have everything else together.

Now that we understand the three different types of federal trademark applications, we will continue by discussing the components of the Federal Trademark Application and how to successfully apply for a trademark in our new article How to Apply for a Trademark.

 

How to Apply for a Trademark (part one)

Welcome to the sixth blog in our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. In our last blog, Applying for a Trademark, we talked about the three different types of federal trademark applications and the requirements of each. Now that you understand the different types of applications you can use to apply for a trademark, we’re going to dive into how to apply for a trademark.

The government has the tough job of reviewing trademark applications and deciding if they should approve the registrations. The way that they decide if they will approve the application is by asking questions in the trademark application. They assign an examining attorney to your file and they review the responses to see if your application meets the criteria that the law requires for trademark registration.

Trademark Application Questions

Let’s talk about some of the questions that you will have to answer within your trademark application:

Who Owns the Trademark?

One of the first things the government will want to know is who is the owner of the mark. The mark can be an individual, several individuals or even a business. Whenever we are filing a federal trademark application for a client, one of the first things that we do when discussing the application is to conduct a legal analysis to let our clients know if it is in their best interests to own the mark (e.g., the name, logo or phrase they want to register) as an individual or for their business itself to own the mark. In some cases, listing yourself as the owner may expose you to more liability. In other cases, there may be tax benefits for letting your business own the name or it may increase the value of the company when you sell. Either way, we recommend having an attorney conduct a thorough analysis of your individual situation before you make this decision.

How Can They Contact You?

The government needs to know the best way to reach you if and when they have questions. An important part of the review process is that the government will assign an examining attorney to your file that will oftentimes have additional questions which need a response by a specific deadline or you risk losing your application altogether. Some of the applications will offer you a discounted rate if you agree to receive and submit all of your communications via e-mail. You can learn more about the 3 types of trademark applications by reading our blog Applying for a Trademark. Either way, you will need to provide contact information that you check regularly so that the government can communicate with you. Another benefit that our clients get when hiring us to do their trademarks is that all of the communications from the government come directly to our office. We always forward them to our clients so that they have a copy. However, this makes us responsible for receiving and responding to them by the deadlines and keeps our clients from having to worry about missing an important e-mail from the government and having their trademark application terminated.

What is the Mark?

You get to chose between registering your mark as a “word or phrase” or by registering an actual illustration (logo, etc.) representing the mark. Most people immediately want to register the logo of their brand. However, there may be drawbacks to doing this because sometimes protecting the words will allow you to have greater and broader legal rights in association with the mark

These are just a few of the questions you will need to answer in your federal trademark application. Check out our next blog to learn about the remaining items you will need to be prepared to address within your application.

Contact Us

If you have additional questions or concerns about the federal trademark application process, or if you would like to schedule a free consultation to learn more about owning your name, logo or slogan, please feel free to contact us.

How to Own A Trademark

Have you ever wondered how to own a trademark? This is the fourth blog within our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. In the first article, we talked about  What is a Trademark & How to Make Money with Them. In the second article we discussed How to Create a Trademark that Makes Money. Now, we’re going to talk about how to legally own the rights to the money-making trademark that you’ve created.

What are Common Law Trademark Rights?

Let’s clear one thing up. Technically, you don’t have to file with the government in order to own the legal rights to a mark (e.g., name, slogan or logo) that you created. You simply need to have been the first person to begin using the mark “in commerce” to acquire ownership of the mark.  These rights are called “common law” trademark rights.

Why Should I Apply for a Trademark?

You’re probably wondering why you should even bother investing your resources hiring a trademark attorney to apply for a federal trademark if the law will automatically protect your ownership in the name. Well, the answer to this question is simple – registering your federal trademark gives you certain legal benefits that you won’t have otherwise.

One of the main reasons you may want to strongly consider registering your name as a federal trademark is that relying on common law rights may not be sufficient to prove your ownership. For example, someone else can hear the name and claim that they created it and started using it before you did. At this point, you may have to sue them in court in order to enforce your “common law” ownership rights. However, without having a properly registered trademark, it may be time consuming and expensive to hire an attorney and provide enough evidence to prove that you were in fact the actual owner.

Instead, you may be able to save yourself money and time by investing in a federal trademark up front. Here are some of the benefits.

What are the Benefits to Registering a Trademark?

  1. Ownership. One of the benefits of having a federal trademark is that if someone wants to use your trademark, they will need to ask for your permission (unless they want to use it for a reason covered by the “Fair Use Doctrine” which is a different topic). This means that you can feel confident investing in building a brand around your name (website, social media accounts, business cards, merchandise, etc.) knowing that the law presumes that you are the legal owner of the name.
  2. Make Money Licensing the Name. Owning a federal trademark also means that you can charge people for the right to use the name (license). This means that if an apparel company wants to use a slogan that you own the federal trademark for, you can charge them a percentage of their gross annual revenue each year for a license to use your slogan on their t-shirts, hoodies, and other merchandise. Not only does licensing build awareness for your brand, it also generates income for you!
  3. Make Money from Lawsuits. When you are the legal owner of a federal trademark, you also have the right to legally sue individuals that use your trademark without your permission (trademark infringement) for money damages.
  4. Make Money Selling Your Trademark.  If you have ever considered selling your business or company, one of the first things business brokers will advise you is that you need to make sure that you own all of the intellectual property (trademarks, logos, slogans, trade secrets, etc.) associated with your business. Otherwise, investors may not want to by something that they feel they may be sued later for since your trademark was never registered.
  5. Make Money Internationally. Another benefit to owning a federal trademark in the U.S. is that it gives you a legal basis (in some instances) to apply to own the trademark in other territories and countries. This allows you to also own the name abroad and make money licensing the name in other countries.
  6. The Right to Use the “®”. When you legally register your federal trademark, you can announce to the world that you are the registered owner, and further protect your legal interest in the mark, by using the the “Circle-R” or “®” registered trademark symbol.  This symbol offers legitimacy to your brand and puts others on notice that you are the registered owner of the mark. The federal government also has penalties for individuals that use the symbol when they are not a registered trademark owner.

These are just a few of the reasons why it may be beneficial for you to register your federal trademark. Check out the next blog on Applying for a Trademark within our How to Make Money with Trademarks Series to learn the steps you need to take in order to legally register your trademark.

How to Create a Trademark that Makes Money

This is the third blog in our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. In our previous blog, What is a Trademark & How to Make Money with Them, we talked about the definition of trademarks, how they are different from patents and copyrights, as well as the four-step process to making money with trademarks. In this post, we will dive into the details of the first step to making money with trademarks which is Creating a Money-Making Trademark.

How to Create a Money Making Trademark

If you visit the United States Patent and Trademark office website, you will see thousands of listings for trademarks. Some of these trademarks represent logos, slogans, phrases or company names for all types of products and services. All of them may be trademarks – but not all of them are money making trademark. If you want to create a money-making trademark, you will need to make sure it has two things:

    1. It must be distinctive
    2. It must be marketable

Let’s talk about the first component of a money making trademark which is distinctiveness. A distinct trademark is one that is different. A trademark that stands out. The best and most distinctive trademarks are words or phrases that you create yourself. Distinctiveness is important because other companies and individuals may not be willing to pay money to license or purchase your trademark if it is not distinctive – or does not stand out – from other trademarks in the marketplace. Distinctiveness is important because the more distinctive your trademark is, the more likely it is that you will be able to legally own your trademark. This is important because if you pick a phrase, word or logo that is very common, the government may not be willing to let you register and own the mark. If you are unable to prove that you are the legal owner of the mark and that you have a registered federal trademark, it may be very challenging to sell or license the trademark to someone else. They will want to know that you actually own the mark and have the right to do business regarding the mark before they invest money in the mark.

How to Create a Distinctive Trademark

So, how can you make sure that your mark is distinctive? You can do the following things:

  • Try to think of a name or phrase that is catchy.
  • Try using an alternative spelling
  • Try to invent a word altogether (e.g., Twitter, Pinterist)
  • Try thinking of a name that describes the goods or services in an unconventional way (e.g., Paperless Post)

How to Know if Your Trademark is Distinctive Enough

Not sure if your mark is distinctive enough? Create your own focus group. A focus group is simply a group of people that represent your target market that can give you their feedback and insight before you spend a lot of money on a particular mark or brand. You can accomplish this by simply asking a few close friends for their opinion as it relates to your mark. Another way to know if your mark is distinctive enough is to see if anyone else is using your mark or something similar. You want to know if anyone else has ever used it or is currently using it because this will let you know if it is really as unique as you think it is. We will get into details about having a Comprehensive Name Search done by a trademark attorney before you begin spending heavily to register and own a trademark. However, a very simple way to at least start seeing if anyone else is using the name is by doing a Google Search for the phrase or names using quotations. Take a look at the results of your search to see if the mark is being used in a similar way with similar products and services as the ones you envisioned using it. If there are already a lot of results for the name or phrase, it may be best to try something else. The less search results relating to your name or slogan – the more distinctive your mark!

How to Know if Your Trademark is Marketable

The last aspect to creating a money making trademark is to come up with a trademark that is marketable. You can invent the most iconic word or phrase, but if there is not a market that would be interested in licensing or buying your trademark – it may not be a “money maker.” The way to create a marketable trademark is to think of your intended buyer or audience when creating it. Instead of just creating random words or phrases and hoping someone is willing to license them, try to focus on one specific market or industry that you would want to potentially pitch your trademark to. It helps if it is an industry that traditionally spends a lot on branding, marketing and advertising. An easy way to identify these types of industries as well as specific companies is to make a list of the current companies that are advertising heavily via social media, television commercials, etc.

Now that we understand how to create a marketable trademark, check out our next post on How to Own A Trademark.

 

What is a Trademark & How to Make Money with Them

Thanks for checking out the second blog in our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. In this blog, we will learn exactly what is a trademark and discuss the steps to making money with them.

What is a Trademark?

A common question that we hear asked is what is a trademark? It’s hard to learn how to make money from trademarks if you don’t fully understand what they are. To put it simply, a trademark is a mark that is used to represent a brand. A trademark lets the public know that one brand is different from other brands in the market. A trademark is sometimes called a “service mark” when it is used to identify a service instead of a product. A trademark can be a word, a name, symbol, logo, phrase or several of these things all combined. The most important thing to know is that a trademark differentiates a brand from other providers of similar offerings in the marketplace.

What is the difference between Trademarks and Copyrights?

How do I know if I have created a trademark or a copyright? Generally speaking, copyrights are used to protect literary and artistic works such as songs (music, lyrics, studio recordings, live performances), artwork, poems, books and manuscripts, etc. while trademarks are used to own a company name, logo for your business, or slogan or phrase that you use in the marketplace to identify your business.

What is the difference between Trademarks and Patents?

A patent is used to legally protect an invention. There are three different types of patents: design patents, utility patents and plant patents. An example of something you would need a patent application for would be if you invented a new pharmaceutical drug or a mechanical device. Patents are beyond the scope of this blog but are helpful ways to legally protect your inventions.

How to make money from Trademarks

Now that we understand what a trademark is and how it is different from copyrights and patents, let’s talk about what we need to do in order to make money from them. Many of the largest brands and companies have trademarks that are worth millions. How do they do it? Here is our proprietary three-step process that we help our clients with in order to position them to make money from their trademarks:

  1. Create a Money-Making Trademark
  2. Legally Own the Trademark
  3. Market Your Trademark
  4. License Your Trademark & Make Money

Step One: Create a Money-Making Trademark

The first topic that we will cover will be how to create a money-making trademark. There is a difference between trademarks that do not have value in the marketplace versus trademarks that are able to command substantial royalty income when licensed. In the future posts in this series, we will discuss exactly how you can create a money making trademark.

Step Two: Legally Own the Trademark

This is an important step that unfortunately many people skip. In order to command top dollar for your trademark, you need to legally own it. Companies will not want to license something that may be subject to a trademark infringement lawsuit. The future posts in this series will go into detail regarding the steps you need to take to legally own your trademark in order to increase its value.

Step Three: Market Your Trademark

Once you own the trademark, it is time to get the word out that it is available to be licensed. I will discuss various strategies you can use that are low-cost and will not take much time, but that could provide your trademark with the attention it needs to attract companies and individuals that may want to license your trademark.

Step Four: License Your Trademark & Make Money

In this section of the blog series, I will go into detail as to how to structure licensing deals to make money from your trademarks. We will first discuss what licensing means and how it works. We will also talk about the common terms you will need to negotiate and how to negotiate them. We will address how much you should charge, how often you should get paid as well as other clauses and details that need to be included in order to legally protect you and your brand when you’re making money licensing your trademarks. The goal is to show you how to create a passive stream of income entirely generated by the creative trademarks you create!

Now that we understand the definition of a trademark and the blueprint for making money with trademarks, check out our next blog post on How to Create a Trademark that Makes Money!

 

How to Make Money with Trademarks (Series)

Welcome to our new legal series on how to make money using trademarks. That’s right. Trademarks can be used to make you more money with minimal effort. Why? Because they don’t cost you anything to create and can be turned into a money-making machine with very little investment. Most of us have thought of a catchy name, slogan or phrase but did not know how to monetize it and use it to make money. I’m sure you’ve thought of the “KEEP CALM AND…” brand before and thought to yourself that you could have thought of that.

Is it really possible to make real money with trademarks?

Of course it is! You can ask the owner of the phrase “Let’s get Ready to Rumble” who has made well over $400 million in licensing revenue according to ABC. And there are countless other companies, brands, and entrepreneurs that profit from trademarks. In fact, the internet has made it easier than ever to market your trademarks in order to make money from them. Now, I’m not promising your name will earn you millions. What I am saying is that with the proper information and effort, you too can legally protect and market your trademarks in order to make money.

So, why don’t more people make money from their trademarks?

Well, if they’re so easy to do, why aren’t we all millionaires from our trademarks? The answer to that question is really quite simple. For a very long time, trademark attorneys have been the keepers or guardians of information regarding trademarks. In order to register trademarks and legally protect them, you would have to pay thousands of dollars at a high-rise law firm. For those that could afford to register and legally protect their trademark, they were still missing the critical information regarding how to make money from their trademarks once they owned them.

Our Trademark Series

Our firm has decided to do something different. We are going to share practical steps to build a business around your trademarks free of charge. We are going to give you steps that are easy to understand in order to help you turn your creative words and phrases into profitable businesses.

In this series, we’re going to discuss several things:

  1. What is a trademark and how to make money with trademarks?
  2. How to create a trademark that makes money
  3. How to own a trademark
  4. Applying for a trademark
  5. How to apply for a trademark (part one)
  6. How to apply for a trademark (part two)
  7. How to market your trademark for big bucks
  8. How to license a trademark

This legal series is completely free. All I ask is that if you enjoy it, please share it on social media so that it can help someone else.

So, let’s get started!

Check out our second blog post in the series What is a Trademark and How to Make Money with Them.

How to Choose A Trademark Attorney

As a small business owner, you’ve probably heard that you need a trademark attorney on your team, but you may not have been told how exactly to choose a trademark attorney.

Aren’t all lawyers created the same? The truth is – they are not. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you choose an attorney:

  1. Problem Solver – You should look for a lawyer that is a deal-maker…not a deal breaker. This means they work to solve problems instead of simply identifying problems. Anyone can point out an issue. Not anyone can find a viable way to solve a problem.
  2. Speaks Plain English – Some lawyers hide behind “legalese” to impress their clients. The only problem with this is that you may not get the full benefit of their advice because you didn’t really understand what they were telling you. Make sure your attorney speaks to you in plain english and doesn’t get frustrated when you ask them questions. This will ensure that you get maximum value out of their legal counsel and guidance.
  3. Flat Fee Billing – Which would you prefer. Infinite bills based on mathematical increments that you can’t predict? Or a flat fee that includes the entire legal service that you can pay and know that you’ll never have to pay for the same work again. Your lawyer should have enough experience in their practice areas to be able to accurately know how long it will take them to handle something and give you a flat rate to do it. Otherwise, you may be paying for their inefficiency.
  4. No Hidden Fees – All of the fees should be disclosed up front. This allows you to budget and know exactly what you are paying for.
  5. Availability for Questions – Ever met with someone and thought you had all of your questions answered but then you thought of a new one once you were in the car? You should hire a lawyer that doesn’t start a timer every time you call with a simple question. Instead, choose a firm that doesn’t bill you simply for answering your phone call. Preferably, choose a lawyer that has a client management system like ours that allows our clients to message their attorney 24/7 or have the option to schedule a phone conference to discuss their question – all included within their flat fee.
  6. Affordable – Make sure the legal services are affordable.  You shouldn’t feel like you have to have an entire year’s worth of clients just to be able to pay your lawyer’s fees. Find a firm that uses technology as a means of saving you money so that you can keep more of your money in your own pocket.
  7. Free consultations – Some lawyers charge just to hear your legal situation and give you a quote. Find a law firm that offers free initial consultations. This means the lawyer will listen to your problem and explain how they would solve it and exactly how much it will cost you – up front before you are ever charged.
  8. Relationship – You want a lawyer that is willing to put their relationship with their clients first. This means that if something isn’t in your best interests, the attorney shouldn’t just string you along for the sake of making a quick dollar. Instead, they should care about the long-term relationships to the point where they’re willing to advise you against hiring them for services that wouldn’t be in your best interests.
  9. Industry Experience – Your lawyer should have real life industry experience – not just academic credentials from law school. It helps if they have had hands on experience handling the type of matter that you are hiring them for.
  10. Passion – It makes a difference when people are excited about what they do – versus showing up at work just to get a paycheck. Find a lawyer that is passionate about business and helping people grow their businesses. This will make a difference when it comes to the level and quality of service you receive.
  11. Positive Reputation – Some law firms have plenty of disgruntled past clients. Find a firm that is proud of their reputation and clients that are willing to share how much they enjoyed working with them.
  12. Privacy & Confidentiality – Discretion matters. Make sure the firm is committed to taking every precaution to protect your confidential and sensitive information. Don’t just assume this is taking place. Find a firm whose attorneys have been required to pass a background check, character and fitness test, and have been fingerprinted. It helps if they have encrypted servers and technology like ours that will make sure that your sensitive information is protected.
  13. Gives Back – When you hire an attorney, you should be doing more than just supporting their family. Find a law firm that values giving back to the community and takes it seriously. Make sure they are the official sponsors of at least one charity (we’re proud to sponsor Revolution Leadership, a nonprofit that provides educational leadership programming and awards scholarships to over 1,500 students) and that they require that their attorneys serve on nonprofit boards and actively volunteer.

Keep these considerations in mind the next time you’re considering adding a trademark attorney to your team.

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