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Showing posts from June, 2006
Domain Names: What NOT to Choose as a Domain Name for Your Business

Choosing a domain name for your business can be one of the most important decisions you make. You want something that relates to your business, is catchy and is easy to remember. Just keep in mind what you don't want.

Top 3 Types of Domain Names to Avoid:

Names that don't apply to your business or industry: Sounds obvious, I know, but with the millions of domain names that are taken, choosing an obscure name can be a tempting trap to fall into. However, the likelihood of customers finding you gets that much more difficult with a vague name. Also, prominent display on major search engines is harder to acquire.

Names that are very long: The longer the name, the easier it is for people to forget it altogether or remember it incorrectly. So keep it as short and simple as possible. However, if your business name is long and you're well established in your industry, your best bet may just be sticking with your curre…
Trademark Info: Is it Possible to Search my Trademark for Free?

Yes and no is really the only way to answer this question. While there are some great preliminary sites anyone can access for free, that is NOT a clear cut indication of what’s out there in terms of company names, service names or product names.

Only comprehensive research will tell you if a name is truly available.

Let's take a look at some free, preliminary sites and where they fail to be comprehensive:


The USPTO Web Site: You'll be able to search some of the Federal trademark files at this site.

What it's missing:State trademarks; Common-Law databases such as incorporation listings, DBA records, company directories, newspapers, product announcements, etc.

What it lacks: Does NOT search intelligently (i.e. synonyms, spelling variations, word placement, etc.) unless you manually enter in those variations

Your Secretary of State web site: Your state may have an online searchable database.

What it's missing:Federa…
Starting a Business Series – The One Mistake many Owners make when Starting a Business

You've decided to go into business for yourself. You've done your research into your industry, overhead, equipment, advertising, etc. You're all set to go, right?

Wrong!

If you have NOT had comprehensive research conducted on your business name, then you do not know if it's truly available.

A common mistake many new business owners make is assuming that their business name is available simply because:
the domain name was available
the fictitious name was available
the corporate name was available
internet research showed the name was available
yellow page research showed the name was available
The above are merely preliminary indications of what business names, service names, and product names are out there. Only comprehensive research will tell you if a name is truly available for use.

Ok, so what is comprehensive research?

Comprehensive research entails searching a variety of files.

The first …
TradeMark Express Starting a Business Series: Restaurant

The best routes to take are to research the process of starting a business as well as the industry you're interested in.

I recommend checking out the Small Business Administration, Entrepreneur, Start Up Journal, Wall Street Journal & Nolo’s Starting a Business – Resource Center. All four are great informational resources for the new/small business owner.

Associations may be a good avenue to explore as well. These organizations will address many of the thoughts, questions and concerns you'll inevitably have as well as many you haven't anticipated yet.

National Restaurant Association
Link to State Restaurant Associations
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Research, research, research – this cannot be stressed enough. Read as much as you can about the industry. Here are some book titles that are relevant:


The Restaurant Business Start-up Guide by Paul Daniels
Restaurants That Work: Case Studies of t…
TradeMark Express Starting a Business Series: Record Label

The best routes to take are to research the process of starting a business as well as the industry you're interested in.

I recommend checking out the Small Business Administration, Entrepreneur, Start Up Journal, Wall Street Journal & Nolo’s Starting a Business – Resource Center. All four are great informational resources for the new/small business owner.

Associations may be a good avenue to explore as well. These organizations will address many of the thoughts, questions and concerns you'll inevitably have as well as many you haven't anticipated yet. See the source box for some relevant links.

National Association of Record Industry Professionals
Recording Industry Association of America
The Association of Independent Music

Research, research, research – this cannot be stressed enough. Read as much as you can about the industry. Here are some book titles that are relevant:

Start and Run Your Own Record Label, Revise…
TradeMark Express Starting a Business Series: Clothing Line

The clothing industry, as you can well imagine, is a very competitive one. To succeed takes knowledge, patience, talent and a bit of luck. As far as the knowledge bit goes, I found some sources that will assist you further.

Associations may be a good avenue to explore as well. These organizations will address many of the thoughts, questions and concerns you'll inevitably have about the clothing industry as well as many you haven't anticipated yet.

International Association of Clothing Designers & Executives
Associations Directory for the Apparel & Fashion Industry

There's nothing quite like research – the more you know about the clothing industry, the better. There are plenty of free informational resources out there.

Key to Starting Your Own Clothing Company by Bradley Johnson
Your New Clothing Company – Apparel Sourcing by Bradley Johnson
Fashion Marketing 101 by Amie PronowskiAlso, here are some book titles tha…
Starting a Business Series: Retail Shopping Store

As this series continues, I'll provide details on specific types of retailing. But for now, let's talk about in a general sense.

The best routes to take are to research the process of starting a business as well as the industry you're interested in.

I recommend checking out the Small Business Administration, Entrepreneur, Start Up Journal, Wall Street Journal & Nolo’s Starting a Business – Resource Center. All four are great informational resources for the new/small business owner.

Check out Entrepreneur's How to Start a Retail Business Guide.

Associations may be a good avenue to explore as well. These organizations will address many of the thoughts, questions and concerns you'll inevitably have as well as many you haven't anticipated yet.

National Retail Federation
North American Retail Dealers Association
Retail Industry Leaders Association

Research, research, research – this cannot be stressed enough. Read as much…
Starting a Business Series: I want to start a business – I just don't know what it is yet

So, you've decided that it's time you became your own boss. You have the drive, the ambition and the guts…you're just missing the idea.

Think of all your interests and ask yourself if any of those could be expanded into a business. Compile a list of all the activities you love doing as well as any education or experiences.

Just keep in mind...what's your expertise? What are your interests? What could you imagine yourself doing?

By researching the prospect of starting your own business -- what it entails, what you need to know, helpful hints, etc -- you'll feel better prepared to take that plunge.

There are some great sites out there that offer information and the need-to-know basics for the new business owner. I recommend checking these out:

Small Business Administration
Entrepreneur
Start Up Journal, Wall Street Journal
Nolo’s Starting a Business – Resource Center

Here are some boo…
Starting a Business Series: How do I do it? Where do I go? What's next? Now what? HELP!

I've come across these and similar questions over the years. As a result, I've done some digging & research for past clients that I want to be sure to pass on to whoever needs the help. But it's really only helpful if the advice is geared towards your specific industry…

And with that, I humbly present TradeMark Express' Starting a Business Series!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting information about starting a business in specific industries and for specific goods and/or services. So whether you want to own a clothing line, become a freelance writer, run a restaurant, etc., this will be a one stop shopping spree of information.

Here's to learning! And to your success as an entrepreneur!
Copyrights and Patents: Is your Copyright really a Trademark?

Intellectual property (i.e. copyrights, trademarks and patents) can be a confusing idea to wrap your mind around. Do you need a copyright? Or is it a trademark? Let's take each one, point by point, and by the end of this post, you will have a good idea about where you should go next.

Copyrights:

Copyrights can be obtained for things of an artistic nature. This includes, of course, poetry, films, sculptures, music, fiction, etc. But can also include things that may not necessarily seem "artistic" in the general sense of the word. Copyrights can also be obtained for advertising copy, games, software programs and blueprints, to name just a few.

To file a copyright, head over to the US Copyright Office. Applications are $30 each, though that's likely to rise to $45 come July 1st.

Trademarks:

Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark…
Trademark Info: What You Ought to Know

Trademark law affects every business in the United States. Don't assume that your new business name, new product name, slogan or logo has not already been used commercially OR trademarked! No business name may be used in any one of the following cases, IF there is a conflict or similarity in sound, appearance or meaning & industry:


A Federally registered trademark anywhere in the U.S., or
A State registered trademark in any state they do business in, or
Used within same geographic trade area with "first use" Common-Law protection.
There are over 2,500,000 Trademarks, and over 16,000,000 commercial Common Law trade names in use. ANY existing Federal Trademark, State Trademark or commercial Common Law use takes precedence over your new business or product name, IF there is a conflict or similarity in sound, appearance or meaning & industry.When you create a new business name, product name, slogan or logo, you will begin to establis…
Trademark Info: 3 Benefits a Logo Gives to your Brand

Whether you're just starting your business or your business is well underway, this question has more than likely popped into your head:

Should I have a logo?

The answer to this is really internal. You know your market, your customers and your plans for your business better than anyone. So before deciding whether or not to get a logo created, ask yourself these questions: Would the addition of a logo benefit my brand? In other words, would a logo amplify, enhance or highlight my overall purpose?
Does it make sense for me to have a logo? For example, if you have a clothing line, a logo could make brand recognition that much easier and thereby customers could recognize you just on your image alone. The reverse would be, for instance, if you ran a small accounting company out of your home & and are not interested in recruiting new clients…well, investing in a logo might not make a whole lot of sense.
What do my competitors do? Now, …
Trademark Info: Trademarks - A Quick Introduction

With the combined advent of the internet/dot-com boom and the prevailing trend of individuals going into business for themselves, the focus and importance surrounding intellectual property has been in the forefront of the minds of entrepreneurs, artists, inventors and anyone wanting to protect the fruits of their labors.

Because intellectual property and the laws therewith can change as rapidly as our ever-increasing technological world, it is imperative that when doing research on these topics to use accredited resources – contact either the appropriate governmental agencies, attorneys or private companies that specialize in these topics.

TRADEMARKS :

Trademarks are frequently thought of as those items that identify either a product or a service. This can include names of services (e.g. McDonald’s ® for restaurant services) or products (e.g. Coca-Cola ® for soft drinks), logos (e.g. Nike’s ® swoosh design), slogans (e.g. American Express’…
Intellectual Property – The 3 Branches:Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents

When you hear the phrase intellectual property, what do you think of? How can something that exists in your mind be considered property? Are your ideas your property similar to that of your house or car?

Simply put, no, your ideas are not something you can solely own. After all, if ideas were never shared in the marketplace, where would we be? Imagine if Bill Gates had never shared his ideas about the new BASIC programming language that he and Paul Allen developed…would Microsoft exist? How would that have impacted our world today? Let's take it back even further: what would life be like if Louis Pasteur had never shared his ideas about heat treatment, what we now call pasteurization? The sharing of ideas has brought us to where we are, good and bad.

So, what is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is those ideas fixed in a form. That is, it is NOT the idea itself but rather how it's presented. It…

A little about me & the folks that pay my bills

Hello all! My name is Shannon Moore and I'm the General Manager for TradeMark Express. I've worked for the company since 1994 and became General Manager in 1996. I've heard many stories (some great and some tragic) in the 12+ years I've been involved with trademark research & all that that entails. The very nature of this business has also given me a fantastic education about intellectual property, of course, but also about starting, running, managing and growing a small business.

While I thoroughly enjoy what I do, there is a puppet master behind all this – TradeMark Express opened its doors in 1992 and since then we've met the needs of our clients with comprehensive research, application preparation, attorney referrals and trademark consultation.

As part of our dedication to our clients, new business owners, small business owners and anyone that has an interest in intellectual property & business startups, we've decided to create a daily blog.

I'll b…