START SMART STRATEGY SESSION
"A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another."
- Seth Godin
Even if you are a niche business, when you operate in the online marketplace, you need to stand out from your competition. Most entrepreneurs do this by investing in building their business brand, and in particular their "brand assets".
Your business' brand assets are a unique set of elements, which distinguish your business from that of your competitors. They give your business a competitive advantage by providing seeming exclusivity and individuality in the eyes and minds of customers and clients.
Your brand assets might include:
Your business name;
Your own name (if YOU are your brand – think “Beyoncé”);
Any other combination of words or short phrases that are synonymous with your brand; and
Certain other unique brand elements (a.k.a. “trade dress” – think: patterns, color schemes, scents, sounds, product packaging, etc.).
When you consider how much time, effort, and resources are spent on creating and promoting these brand assets, and how important they are to your business' success, it should come as no surprise that people go to great lengths to protect these assets.
Brand assets are protected as trademarks under US Trademark law and should be registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to ensure that they are broadly protected and working for your business as much as they can.
A registered trademark pre-emptively keeps your competitors and infringers at bay because:
Your mark is entered into the USPTO database, where everyone can find it and be put on notice that you are the owner of the mark.
Your right to use the ® mark also puts the public on notice of your registration.
The USPTO examiners may block identical or similar marks from being registered.
You can notify US Customs and Border Patrol of your registration, and they will keep an eye out for goods that infringe on your mark that are imported into the US from overseas.
A registered trademark boosts your profits and brand value because it:
Provides the basis to obtain a trademark in other foreign countries (even if you’re not in those countries yet), which makes global expansion that much easier.
Allows you to license your brand assets to other businesses or individuals who may want to use them (and pay you for it!).
Gives you (and nobody else!) the exclusive, nationwide right to use the mark (in connection with specific goods or services), which limits customer confusion and brand dilution.
A registered trademark makes enforcing your trademark rights cheaper and easier because:
It creates a legal presumption that you are the owner of the mark, that the mark is valid, and that you can enforce your rights, which could offer a big advantage in court.
It automatically creates a basis for a federal trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court, which potentially provides for significantly higher monetary damages and reimbursement of litigation fees.
If you’ve had a registered trademark for five years, your mark could become “incontestable”, which would make it much more difficult for someone to challenge the validity of your registration.
THE EAR METHOD
OF TRADEMARK REGISTRATION
If you are passionate about your business and your brand, then the importance of federal registration cannot be overstated. When you invest in a registered trademark, you can continue to grow your business and your brand with confidence and security in the fact that your brand assets are protected and working for your business.
But registration costs money (albeit, a lot less than you probably think) and it also takes a long time (generally, 6 months to a year, but could take longer). That is why we subscribe to the EAR Method of Trademark Registration and we encourage all of our clients to do the same.
SHOULD I TRADEMARK
THIS BRAND ASSET?
Is it worth spending time and money registering this asset?
Is now the right time to register it?
WHAT TO DO:
Conduct a thorough brand asset evaluation and determine which assets, if any, are worth registering.
CAN I TRADEMARK
THIS BRAND ASSET?
Is it unique enough to be accepted for registration with the USPTO?
Is anyone else using the same or a similar name, logo, slogan, etc.?
WHAT TO DO:
Conduct a thorough trademark search and analyze the results.
TRADEMARK THE BRAND ASSET.
If, and only if, you've determined that you should trademark and can trademark, then you can trademark.
WHAT TO DO:
File a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Think of the EAR Method as the diagnostic testing before the surgery – we want to know what we’re dealing with before we go on to make that first cut. Doing it this way ensures that you only register your most valuable assets and saves you the time, money, and headache of attempting to register a mark that cannot be registered.
how it works
Evaluate Your Brand Assets to Determine Which, If Any, Warrant Trademark Registration
You can do this evaluation yourself, using our "SHOULD I TRADEMARK? DIY Trademark Evaluation Guide & Worksheet."
You can skip this step, if you're certain that you should trademark this brand asset.
Analyze Your Likelihood Of A Successful Trademark Registration
You can schedule a free 15-minute consultation if you have any other general trademark process questions, or you can just contact us to get started.
Afterward, we send you a client agreement (so you know exactly what to expect), an invoice for the search step, and a link to a brief intake form.
You digitally sign the agreement, pay your invoice, and fill out the intake form.
We run a comprehensive trademark search and analyze the results.
You receive a copy of the Comprehensive Trademark Search Report and an Opinion Letter from us.
Register Your Trademark
We send you an invoice for the registration step.
As soon as you pay the invoice, we prepare and file your trademark application with the USPTO.
We walk your application through the entire registration process.
Once we receive your Registration Certificate from the USPTO, we mail it to you.
Want more information on the trademark registration process?
what you get
For more information on the Start Smart Strategy Session - CLICK HERE
SHOULD I TRADEMARK? Do-it-Yourself Trademark Evaluation Guide & Worksheet.
[COMING SOON! CLICK HERE TO GET NOTIFIED.]
You get a Comprehensive Trademark Search Report, which is prepared by an independent company that uses a proprietary algorithm to comb through various databases and millions of data points. This Report, which is anywhere from a couple of hundred pages to several thousand pages long, includes both identical AND similar:
Federal Trademarks (both registered and in the process of registration);
State Trademarks; and
Common Law Trademarks that could exist on the basis of:
Registered businesses or corporations;
Web searches (including images); and
Social media searches.
You get an Opinion Letter, which is based on the results of the Comprehensive Trademark Search Report, so that you can make a truly informed decision about whether or not to proceed with registration*. This Opinion Letter:
Flags any trademarks we believe to be problematic (or are a basis for registration denial);
Provides our legal analysis of the results; and
States our opinion on how likely it is that your trademark will be accepted for registration.
* Please Note: The Report and Opinion Letter are not foolproof. 99% of the time our legal analysis is correct, but the trademark application process is just that – an application process, and the Examining Attorney at the USPTO can still refuse your registration, at which point an Office Action will be issued.
(If you decided to go forward with registration after Step 2.)
We prepare and file your Trademark Application with the USPTO and follow it through to the very end. This includes:
Routine communication with and you (to answer any questions and provide periodic application status updates);
- Routine correspondence with the USPTO;
- Responses to non-substantive Office Actions* (after confirming them with you);
- Making required amendments to your application (after confirming them with you)**; and
- Preparing and filing your Statement of Use, if applicable**.
* Non-Substatial Office Actions are those that require minor application amendments and/or do not require any additional research or legal arguments.
** Please Note: Certain non-substantive Office Actions and filings may require that an additional USPTO fee be paid. Our work to respond to, prepare, and file any such Office Actions and filings is included, but fees are not.
Preliminary Trademark Search Report (word marks & design marks), Analysis, and Opinion Letter
$749 (includes up to three classes of goods & services)
[Additional legal fees apply for search and analysis in more than 3 classes. Contact Us for a complete quote.]
Trademark Application Preparation and Filing with USPTO
$749 per initial application (includes USPTO filing fee for one class of goods or services)
[Additional USPTO fees and legal fees may apply. Contact Us for a complete quote.]
Responses to Substantive Office Actions
Some Office Actions only require minor responses or application amendments, we do not charge extra for those. However, other Office Actions might require a Substantive Response, which requires legal research and written argument. We don't believe in charging by the hour, so you will pay one flat fee based on the time we estimate it would take us to complete the work, and if we go over, well, that's on us!
Prices generally range from $699 to $2099
Monthly Trademark Watching
The USPTO does not monitor your trademark for infringement once it has been registerd. But being vigilant is important. So, we can keep tabs on your registered trademark by watching for new trademark registrations, which are identical or similarly confusing to your mark. Because the quicker you find out about potential infringement, the easier it is to shut it down.
$59 per month or $599 per year (if paid in full)
What makes you unique,
makes you successful.
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should i trademark?
Is your business name, course name, product name, logo, or slogan even worth trademarking?
Is now the right time to trademark this asset?
Don't even THINK about applying for
a trademark until you know for sure.
Our DIY Trademark Evaluation Guide & Worksheet helps you sort through all of your brand assets and weed out the most valuable ones, so you're not wasting any extra money or time on things that shouldn't (and can't) be trademarked.