CHOOSING A BIZ NAME, TRADEMARKS AND MORE - Business Bites

Choosing a biz name, trademarks and more with Autumn Boyd!

Episode 62 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode: So you’re ready to name your business? Join Rachel and Autumn Witt Boyd as they explain trademarks and steps to get your business name set up.

What you will learn:

  • The steps to take to research your business name
  • Why not researching your name can land you in legal trouble
  • What copyrights and trademarks are
  • The levels of distinctiveness that determine whether or not your name is protectable
  • What to do if you’re accused of infringement
  • and more!

Expand To Read Episode Transcripts

Rachel: Hey, guys, welcome to this episode of The Business Bites Podcast. I am your host, Rachel Brenke and you guys are in for some double legal trouble today. I have Autumn Witt Boyd who is another intellectual property attorney to join me on today’s episode so we can talk about trademark stuff. Autumn, I’m so excited to have you on.

Autumn: Thanks for having me, Rachel.

Rachel: You know it’s so funny ’cause I feel like I’m always the one preaching the legal stuff on here and I’m glad to have another voice to share this information because trademarks, as you know, and as our audience is gonna see after this episode, are so important to think about. But it’s often something that entrepreneurs don’t consider when they’re just coming up with their business name. ‘Cause they may be in that feeling of, “Well I don’t know if my business is gonna make it. I don’t know where to start.”

And, as you and I know, they can get into a lot of hot water by just going into business with a name and not even considering trademark implications of their use. Or maybe if they want to get it trademarked later. So, I was thinking we’d start the conversation there and maybe just explain exactly how trademarks are and give them some steps for getting set up with their business name.

Autumn: Perfect, yes. Well I call myself a copyright and trademark evangelist. So,

Rachel: Love it.

Autumn: I’m on your same page. There are so many easy things that new business owners can do in the beginning to really set themselves up for success later that don’t have to be complicated or expensive. And so I’m excited to talk about all this with you.

Rachel: Me too. And just to let you guys know, this is episode 62. So you can find it at rachelbrenke.com/epi62. I’m gonna have all of Autumn’s stuff there linked as well. Like, awbfirm.com. She has a five minute intellectual property audit on her website. So if you guys have any other questions or thoughts or just wanna delve into this a little bit more, you can click over to episode 62, get her links, and get connected.

So let’s just start kind of differentiating between trademark and copyright for the audience a bit. Because some listening probably don’t even have a clue what we’re referencing right now.

Autumn: Yeah, absolutely. So when we think about copyrights, we want to think about creative works. So, photographs are a clear subject matter of copyright. Film, music, books, poems, anything that we think of as a creative work. Cartoons. Trademarks on the other hand are going to be thinks that identify the source of your products or services. So these are typically going to be a business name, a product name, a logo, things that when you see them or you hear them, you think, “Oh that comes from x, y, z company.” So like the Coca-Cola emblem with the script-y font. That’s very recognizable. As soon as you see that can on the shelf, you know that what’s gonna be inside that can is going to be what you’re expecting. So that is the purpose of trademark law is so that consumers know that when they reach for a product or they’re looking for a service that they’re going to get the thing that they’re expecting to get.

Rachel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you know the confusing thing that can happen is, there may be a legal issue that has copyright and trademark issues within it. We may be having the copyrights of the logo for example, like the Coca-Cola. There may be a copyright issue with the logo, but then there’s also an issue of it as the trademark as the source indicator like you were just saying.

So, if you guys are thinking, “Oh, but I heard it could be this or it could be that.” It may be both, but for most purposes I find, it’s a pretty clear line when there’s an infringement or issues occurring. And that’s a bit more than we want to talk right now. But, the one distinction that I love to make between the two things of copyright and trademark is that copyrights in the United States, and Autumn and I are US based attorneys, copyright is a default type intellectual property protection tool, like the creative works you were talking about. We don’t have to talk steps to register anything. It’s beneficial to do so. There’s also not a duty to enforce your copyrights and your rights within those works. Whereas with trademarks, you have a duty, in order if you have a trademark, in order to stop someone else from using it.

And the entire goal with the trademark stuff is, just like Autumn was saying, to make sure that people know when they go to reach for that can of soda or they go to buy into a service, they know where it’s coming from. The goal is to reduce consumer confusion and for consumers to know what they’re buying into.

Now it gets complicated when individuals want to become entrepreneurs which we love that when you guys, listening. But, you don’t know where to start with the names. ‘Cause names are typically gonna fall in this trademark realm because a name identifies the source of goods or services. And so, Autumn, what are your top tips whenever an entrepreneur’s thinking about, maybe it’s a business name or a slogan or maybe even they have online courses or products and they want to attach a specific name to that.

Autumn: Yeah so there’s two things that I want to mention here. The first is, choosing a strong name in the first place, that you can protect later. And I’ll go into that in a bit more detail in a second. But the second thing is doing that search, making sure that there’s not a business out there already either has registered it with the US Patent and Trademark Office or a state trademark office or could just be using it for a similar business. So kind of two sides of the same coin, making sure that you choose a strong trademark in the first place and then making sure that it’s clear that you can use it without infringing someone else’s rights.

Rachel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Which, and I guess maybe, there’s a lot within what you just said, but let’s focus on the infringing thing a little bit. Just because I think maybe a little element of fear here, may help to convince the listeners as to why this is important.

The use of a name that someone else already has registered, use of a slogan can get you into trouble. Do you want to explain a bit like what infringement entails and what can happen if they don’t take the search steps? And then we’ll move into the search steps here in a minute.

Autumn: Yeah absolutely. So in, again, we’re talking about US law. In the US we have what’s called a race system. So, the first person or company to use a trademark in their business with a particular kind of services or products, they win all the rights. So you want to be the first one. And that’s true whether they register it with the USPTO or not. So there’s definitely benefits to registration, but you don’t have to register to get these state law or common law rights.

And so when you’re starting your business, you want to make sure that you see, is there anyone out there who might already have rights to this name? And again, it’s really important that you only really need to worry about the same kinds of services or products that you’re selling. And things that are similar. Because we’re thinking about what’s gonna confuse the consumer. So if it’s two totally different kinds of products. You know, we talk about Delta faucets and Delta airlines. They have the same trademark, but they’re totally different so nobody’s gonna get confused and think that the faucet is coming from the airline company.

Rachel: Unless Delta airlines decides to diversify someday.

Autumn: Exactly yeah. And so the downside if you don’t do this search and if you choose a name that is already being used by a competitor, is you could be sued for trademark infringement and there could be huge damages. You could lose profits, you could basically be put out of business. The attorney’s fees are very expensive if you’re sued. So I do think a healthy level of fear, or just awareness, is a good thing so that you choose a good name.

Rachel: You know and that’s a good point. And the thing is too, I want to make clear here to those listening, not just if you’re a new entrepreneur, ’cause I interviewed someone recently, here on the Business Bites, who has been in business for five plus years. I don’t want to get too specific so you guys know who it is. And in our discussion, they had an online course and they were about to launch with it and they told me the name and I said, “Hold up a second. That sounds really familiar.” And I jumped over to the USPTO website, did my little magical legal searches and found out that there was already someone in existence with this same name, attached to the exact same type of services.

And I was like, “Yo, you cannot do this. You need to do the search.” And this person, who had been in business for so long, goes, “I didn’t even consider that.” And it’s exactly what you just said, had they moved forward, they were on the cusp of a launch. And had they moved forward with launching this, they could have not only lost all the time and money on the launching and branding, but like you just said a second ago, Autumn, they could have been forced to disgorge their profits, through the use of someone else’s registered mark simply because they didn’t take the step.

A, well, first to know that this is an issue. Which is why we’re bringing this to you guys on this episode, but also how to even do the searches to make sure. [crosstalk 00:09:03]. It’s the same name, same [inaudible 00:09:06]. Exact.

Autumn: Yeah. It’s really, it can end your business. So it’s something important, no matter where you are in your business. If you’re thinking of any new kind of name, to make sure that you’re getting a clear trademark before you go down that path. And like you said, you’re investing money in this. You’re doing branding, you’re launching, you’re building a brand reputation. And so you don’t want to be spending all that money on something that you can’t later protect or that could get you into hot water.

Rachel: Well and here, here’s one little last fear element and then we’ll move into the search stuff. But if you’re on the brunt end, if you end up becoming the infringer, you can’t just throw your hands up and say, “I don’t want to deal with this,” once you have been sued. You have to respond. You’re forced, essentially, to hire an attorney. And we’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars in order to be able to either negotiate a settlement with the person that you infringed upon or have to fight the suit in court. And you don’t get a choice to just drop the suit because that’s not your choice as the infringer and as the defendant.

And so it, to me, it is an investment and it’s kind of an insurance policy of taking the right steps to make sure that you’re not infringing upon someone else. But I also think we have a duty to other entrepreneurs, and as professionals, to understand this information and implement it in our business and not try to play that clean up later on.

Autumn: Yeah, absolutely. Just being a good citizen of the marketplace I think.

Rachel: Alright, so let’s give them the tangible steps on kind of searching. Because some are probably going, “Oh my God, I had this name for a course or a product, now i don’t even know where to start.”

Autumn: It’s not so hard. So, first, I usually recommend a couple different searches. So, the first one is gonna be on that USPTO website. It’s uspto.gov. The search toll is called TES. It’s T as in Tom, E, S as in, so if you Google that, you’ll find it, it’s not hard. And it works kind of like a Google search. You can just plug in the terms and it’ll bring you lots of results. If you are a business that is more established and you’ve got the resources, I would say definitely consider hiring an attorney to help you with the search. Because you may get thousands of results and it’s hard to know what’s important and what’s not.

But if you’re new, I think definitely at least do the search, try and find identical, make sure there’s nothing out there that’s exactly the same, and look at the goods and services that they’re registered with to see what’s out there. Now it’s important to know, go ahead, Rachel.

Rachel: And I think, well I was gonna say, you were just saying about it being the same and one of the downfalls that I’ve seen a lot when people end up becoming an infringer without realizing it, they even said, “Oh, Rachel, I’ve taken the steps to search.” It may not even be a name that is exactly the same. It’s something that’s enough to cause confusion in the consumer. You know, and so, it doesn’t have to be identical. And that’s where a lawyer can come in and give you the advice and the experience from what they’ve seen of how close something can cause confusion or not.

I just always get so concerned for entrepreneurs when they say, “oh yeah, I searched the website.” At first I’m like, “Yes.” And then they go, “But there was nothing identical.” And I’m like, “No.” Because it could be something that is just enough to cause confusion which isn’t that, that sounds like an easy test, but there’s a lot of factors that Autumn and I and many other IP attorneys are very well versed in recognizing. And this is also another where I say an insurance policy. Having a lawyer or a service to do the searches for you, is really beneficial because it also gives you some recourse if something comes down the line.

Autumn: Yeah, absolutely. And I use a non public search tool. You may use one in your business as well that helps me find things that are not identical, but would be close enough to be confusing. So, helps me broaden that search rather than trying to think of things. Because it could even be something rhyming. It’s not things that are necessarily easy to search for.

Rachel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And then it depends on what type of mark. Is it a design? Which is like a logo. Is it a word? And you end up down this rabbit trail and you start to get confused, throw your hands up, just give us a call.

Autumn: So the next search that I recommend is just a Google search. So this is gonna catch things that aren’t necessarily registered but might be in use. And the thing I say here is, go past the first page or two. Go to page three, four, five, six. And try and see really what’s going on with that name. And that will help you catch a lot.

And then the next one I recommend is, especially if you’re thinking of using it for a business name and you’re thinking about registering it as an LLC or a corporation in your state, go on your secretary of state or whatever the division of corporations is in your state and search and make sure there’s not already a business with that same name in your state.

Rachel: And you know, that’s a really good point. I’m glad you brought that up. Because there is a common misconception that, “Oh, okay, I am Rachel Brenke photography LLC in Virginia, so that excludes everyone in America.” And the LLC system is completely separate from this federal based trademark system that we’re talking about. When I file as an LLC, which I have plenty of episodes you guys can check out on how to do that, but when I go to file within my state, it’s only giving me rights to the use of calling that legal entity that name within that state. It’s not giving me rights … so there could be a Rachel Brenke photography LLC in West Virginia, which is right next door. The system don’t talk. The LLC system also doesn’t check the federal trademark system and vice versa so this is incumbent upon you guys to take all the steps that Autumn has outlined to make sure you do the proper searching.

Autumn: Yeah, and then the last thing I recommend is doing a domain search and a social media name search. So there’s several services that are totally free. I use one called Name Checker, that’ll just run through all the popular social media sites and domain, top level domains. So you can see if someone’s registered that name as a business or as a handle on those platforms. And again, you’re just trying to see what’s out there and if anyone else is already using it.

Rachel: Yeah, I’m glad you listed all those. Those are the same ones that I would recommend. I always hear people say, “Well I Googled it and didn’t find anything.” Well, not everyone’s search engine optimization is that great. So, you may not find it. So that’s why you gotta cover yourself. And there, like we mentioned earlier, attorneys can do this for you, third party search company results can do it for you. They just can’t legally advise you on what to do once you have that information. They can just get the results.

So, I definitely think that there’s a great value in having that done. Yeah, social media’s a big one. One thing I wanted to say on that, if you get on social media and you see someone using a name for something and you’re like, “Oh I really wanted to use it.” Make sure they’re using it in a commercial capacity and it’s not just this fun handle that they came up with and they’re just using it for pictures of their cat. And there’s no commercial nature to it, they’re just simply sharing. You may still, don’t count it out is what I’m saying, you may still be able to use it in a commercial capacity, depending on what you’re selling. Your goods and services of what you’re trying to market to the marketplace.

Autumn: Absolutely.

Rachel: Let’s switch over. Okay, so that was trademark and copyright, what they are, the fear, and the importance, and the steps for searching. But let’s go back to what you were talking about a little bit ago on distinctiveness of the name. And we’ve kind of presented this semi backwards just because we didn’t want to go down the path of this distinctiveness stuff just yet. So this is really where you probably want to start. I’m gonna let Autumn explain when you’re coming up with the name, for a business or whatever, [crosstalk 00:16:48]. I kind of think of it like a sliding scale in my mind.

Autumn: I think the same thing, I say it’s like a ruler. It’s like a spectrum.

Rachel: And you want, [inaudible 00:16:54]. Spectrum, that’s the word. I was like, “Scale, spectrum. I can’t think of the name.” Yeah, so go ahead and explain a little bit what they mean by that. ‘Cause some are probably freaking out listening going, “Oh my God, now I don’t know if my name is legit or what I need to do.”

Autumn: Yeah so not every business name is protectable as a trademark. It has to have a certain level of distinctiveness so that when a customer sees it, they think of you and it’s not just generic. And so like Rachel said, there’s kind of this sliding scale or spectrum of really protectable marks at one end and totally unprotectable marks at the other end. And then most things are gonna fall somewhere in the middle.

But, on the far end, the most protectable, are going to be what we call “fanciful” trademarks. So those are things that are not real words, they’re totally made up. They don’t mean anything. So that is going to be all these crazy start up names that we see that are weird spellings, or they don’t really mean anything. Some older ones that come to mind, Exxon, Kodak, Xerox, these are all just made up combinations of letters and sounds. So they have no meaning in and of themselves. You have to build the meaning as you build your brand and do your marketing and then people start to associate that made up word with your products and services.

So that’s the best kind of trademark. It’s the most expensive to build because you have to teach people what it is. They don’t just see it and say, “Oh that’s a, you know, a copy machine company.” You have to teach people what it is.

Rachel: Right. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now we do, now everybody know, but at the time…

Autumn: Right, it doesn’t mean anything.

Rachel: When it came out, everyone was like, “Xerox? What?”

Autumn: So those are gonna be your most highly protectable, they’re definitely able to be registered with the USPTO. You can build your own brand, no one is going to be using that for anything else. So slightly down the scale is gonna be your arbitrary marks. So these are words that have a meaning, but they’re being used in a way that doesn’t mean the thing. So, classic example here is Apple for computers. So Apple is a thing, but it doesn’t have anything to do with computers. So again, they’re having to build that brand recognition. That’s also very highly protectable.

We were talking about Delta for faucets and airlines. That’s another great example. So Delta means something, it’s a mathematical terms, but it has nothing to do with faucets, it has nothing to do with airlines.

So slightly down the spectrum again, are what we call suggestive marks. So these are still pretty protectable, but we’re starting to get a little less so. And these are things that kind of suggest the meaning of the thing. It suggests your products or services, but it’s not totally descriptive. So, Jaguar for cars, is a great example. You know, you think of a sleek and fast, maybe high end, luxurious. But Jaguars don’t really have anything to do with cars. Or Playboy for a magazine is another example. A play boy is a thing, the magazine is kind of geared towards play boys, but it doesn’t exactly describe what they’re doing.

So these are still all pretty good. We’re pretty protectable here. Now where we get into trouble is what we call descriptive trademarks. And these are things that really just describe your products or services. So, if you had an ice cream shop and you names it Sweet and Creamy. That just describes an aspect of your product. Or, I actually have a client named Chattanooga Web Design. So it literally says where they’re located and what they do.

So, the reason that the USPTO and US trademark law does not protect these kind of descriptive marks is because they don’t want to stop businesses from describing what they do. So you can’t kind of claim ownership of that. Trademark is a bit of a monopoly. Once you have the trademark, you’re the only one who can use that to describe those products and services. So they don’t want to stop people from being able to tell people what they do.

Another one would be Ambitious Women Life Coaching. That’s a terrible trademark because it exactly says what you do. So, when you’re thinking about a name, you want to stay away from these really descriptive ones because if you do try and register them with the US Patent and Trademark Office, they are probably going to be denied.

Rachel: Now, I don’t want to go too far down this path. Maybe this will be another episode, I’ll have you come back on, it’ll kind of be like a level two. If you have been in business and you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, I fall on this bottom end of the spectrum, it’s not protectable, I wanted to take the steps to register.” Don’t freak out. There are still very general names in businesses that do become protectable. It’s called acquiring secondary meaning. And you establish this by continuous use, the broad amount of it. Basically you want to establish that they consumer market now sees this generic terms and attributes it, remember ’cause we’re talking about these as source indicators, it attributes that to your business. You’re that string that is giving them this product or service.

So if you’re listening and going, “Oh my gosh, I have such a general name, I don’t know what I’m gonna do.” Don’t run and rebrand. Don’t send that email to your logo or re brander just yet. This is where an attorney would come in and give you a little advisement on it. But, you may be able to acquire secondary meaning and you still may end up able to get a protectable mark. But, for the most part, the scale that Autumn just presented is what USPTO who approves, denies, rejects, and all of this, any actions on trademarks and applications. They look at the scale and the more that it’s at that one end, very distinctive, more likely they’re gonna give you a gold star and pass your application. All the way down to these bottom, more generic, they’re gonna either outright reject or they’re gonna have a lot more questions and you’re gonna have to give a lot more justification as to why you should have that name as protected under trademark law for the reasons Autumn just said. They’re not wanting to exclude everyone, they want to see why you deserve to have that protection.

Autumn: Yeah, that’s a great point.

Rachel: Especially if it’s not something that’s inherently distinctive.

Alright, so yeah, that was just a little bit on secondary meaning. I don’t want to spend too much on that. But so we ran through the scale, so think about where does your name fall on the scale if you’re wanting to go register. Let’s, I don’t want to get too much into the registration process. It can be fairly straightforward, depending upon your situation. I hate that answer from attorneys, but it’s true. It depends on the goods and services, the type of classifications that you’re wanting to register it as. All of it can be done on the USPTO gov website. USPTO gov, oh my goodness. Uspto.gov website. I don’t want to walk through the steps to that.

Let’s shift a little bit more towards, peak into infringement activities. Maybe someone’s just trucking along, they haven’t taken the steps of trademarking, and they get a cease and desist by someone else who has a same or similar name, what are they steps that they should do before freaking out?

Autumn: Yeah, take a breath. I would say first, yeah, look and make sure that they actually do have the same or similar services. Some trademark owners are very aggressive and they will send out cease and desist letters to people who are really probably not technically infringing. So, and I will say, once you get a cease and desist letter, especially if it’s from a large company on the other side, that is a point where you may want to get a lawyer involved to help you figure out next steps. Yeah.

Rachel: Don’t ignore.

Autumn: No, ignoring it is worse than even just trying to reach out on your own.

Rachel: Do not ignore it. Do not.

Autumn: If they have gone to the trouble to send you a cease and desist letter, they are probably not going to go away. So yeah, I would say first thing just do a little investigation, did you do the thing they said you did? And then, in consultation with a lawyer, you may want to reach out. If it’s something you don’t mind changing, that may be the best option, is to do a rebrand or change a product name or change your company name. I know it can be a big step, but I recently had a client that, we were involved in a trademark opposition, and the other side asked if they would change the spelling of the name and I thought, “Huh, I haven’t even asked the client.” And the client didn’t mind. It wasn’t a big deal. So that was a very easy way to fix it.

But sometimes that is a bigger deal. … Go ahead.

Rachel: And keep in mind, when these are sending out these cease and desists, I want to say generally, it’s not a bullying tactic. Trademark registered owners are required to police. They’re required by law to enforce their rights and follow through with people who are using and infringing upon them. Because if they person that holds the registration does not take these steps, they could potentially lose their registration. So, their actions may end up developing into some type of bullying, but I give the benefit of the doubt to believe that the majority of the time when cease and desists and letters are sent, if they’re legit. If they’re truly founded, if they are truly identifying an infringing activity, they’re just merely fulfilling their policing duty as required by law.

Autumn: [crosstalk 00:26:02] their requirement under law and they’re not necessarily trying to be a bully, you can reach an agreement with them. Nobody wants to file a lawsuit, it’s incredibly expensive for everyone involved. And it’s usually a losing proposition. You never get as much in damages as you spend in lawyer’s fees. So yeah, I would say try and figure out how you can reach a happy arrangement.

There may be an agreement you can reach where you can keep using the name as long as you stay in your own lane and you don’t expand. There’s all kinds of different compromises that you can reach. But I would say, at that point, especially if there’s a lawyer on the other side, you will probably want to have a lawyer advising you because you can say things and do things that can be used against you later that you don’t even know that you’re doing.

Rachel: Yes. And you know, I’ve had some clients who have gotten into situations like this, and they come to me after they tried to handle it. Because I get it, as entrepreneurs, we have this impulse to DIY and they think, “Oh well, it costs me less to reach out.” They ended up spending more money having me clean up what they had inadvertently said than if they had just come and us dealt with it from the very beginning. And that was unfortunate. And having to have that kind of discussion with the client, now they are just like, whenever they get some, they’re like, “Here, Rachel, you take care of it.” Because they learned their lesson that … and all of this circles around to that, Autumn and I are not just saying this as lawyers. We’re saying this as entrepreneurs like you guys, as people who run our own businesses and definitely want to make sure that we’re able to focus on our businesses and not have to be dealing with legal stuff and cash outlays.

And honestly, you should be having line items. And I talk about this in other episodes. Line items in your budget for saving, for tax help, for legal services. Because one of the things that I am finding, that copyright infringement and that’s obviously not the scope of what we’re talking about here, but it’s like the number one thing that we’re dealing with at the firm because it’s rampant. And if you are putting anything out online, whether you’re reposting someone else’s or someone’s reposting yours, intellectual property is being infringed upon. It’s almost to the point it’s not if there’s gonna be an issue, it’s when there’s an issue. And you kind of have to be prepared to make that investment.

Autumn: Yeah. It’s a cost of doing business. It should be a … I cannot echo what you just said enough. I was talking about it on my podcast episode today as well. It should be a budget line item. This is just part of having a growing business.

Rachel: Yeah. Awesome. Alright, so we threw a lot at them for trademarks. We walked through with you guys on choosing the name, the types of names that they need to be, the steps to take to search to ensure that you’re able to pick a name that you’re hopefully gonna be free of any issues. And then on the flip side, what to do if you end up getting any sort of notices that maybe you’re infringing upon. Autumn, do you have any little last tips that they can have in their minds, in their tool box to take with them. If these entrepreneurs are taking the next step to research a bit more about trademarks or to delve into getting their own registration.

Autumn: Yeah, I would say even if you’re not quite ready to file a trademark registration, which is a big investment in your business, and I don’t think new businesses should necessarily do that. I think you should make sure that the name is gonna stick and you’re gonna use it for awhile. But I suggest going ahead and starting to police your trademark rights. Or at least just watch the marketplace. Set up a Google alert. Do a quick search once a month or once every few months just to see what’s out there. Because if you do see your business name or your product name starting to pop up, you could be subject to what Rachel was talking about where your trademark can become generic and then you can’t enforce those rights anymore. You kind of lose them if you’re not watching the marketplace. So that’s the next thing I would recommend.

And then, once it becomes really valuable to your business, it is time to, I suggest work with an attorney to make sure you do it the right way to file a federal trademark registration. It’s really complicated.

Rachel: Honestly, it’s so much easier, like we said before, it’s complicated. And it’s cheaper and easier for the entrepreneur just to pay the attorney to do it right the first time because if you have to have this back and forth with the USPTO about your application, you’re not gonna know how to reply and end up paying an attorney and that’s gonna cost way more.

Autumn: Yeah, I was meeting with a potential client last week and he said, he’s a really smart guy and he does everything in his business and he said he had estimated it was gonna take him about 40 hours of research to figure out how to do it the right way. And he was like, “That makes no sense for me to spend that much time.” And I said, “That’s … right.”

Rachel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And even then he’s not gonna be equipped with all, we’re intimately involved with this. Yeah. Man, these are great tips. I hope that you guys who are in business and really wanting to do it for the long term, make sure that you’re doing the right things. Make sure you’re doing the right search. It may be a little difficult right now if you’re already put a name into the marketplace and you’re frantically searching just, like Autumn said, take a breath, step back, go through the steps we provided. You guys can find it all as rachelbrenke.com/epi62. Again, I’m gonna link all of Autumn’s stuff there and I’m gonna have her back again because I want to dig into more talking about trademark infringement.

Autumn: Awesome, thanks, Rachel.

Rachel: So we will talk to you on the next episode. Thanks, Autumn.

Alright, guys, make sure you dig into all the show notes and everything at rachelbrenke.com/epi62. Also jump into the Facebook group, the Business Bites, so we can start the discussion to make sure you guys are legally protected. Have a good one.

Featured Guest & Resources

Autumn Witt Boyd is a lawyer who helps entrepreneurs protect their most valuable asset — their intellectual property. She provides legal guidance with copyright and trademark protection, contract negotiation, and problem solving. Along with her team at The Law Office of Autumn Witt Boyd PLLC, she loves helping entrepreneurs grow their dream business through smart collaborations and deals. You can find Autumn in Chattanooga, Tennessee hanging out with her three kids and husband, monogramming and putting glitter on anything that stays still, or sipping a glass of champagne after bedtime. Autumn also hosts the Legal Road Map® podcast, which teaches business owners how to protect their rights and stay out of hot water.

You can find Autumn here:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

About the author

Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

I hope you are enjoying the Business Bites Podcast.

The goal is to grow your business in 10 minutes an episode.

Don’t put off business education due to lack of time.

 

Get my free legal biz checklist

Are you listen to the podcast?

Binge Listen To The Business Bites Podcast