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Showing posts from March, 2007
Intellectual Property News Headlines

Since there are no pending questions in my inbox, let's take a look at IP news:

Trademarks :

Choose Your Own Adventure® Owners Sue DaimlerChrysler and BBDO for Trademark Infringement
Clothing company wins trademark case over "I Love NC"
Publisher claims trademark for name 'Whitefish'

Copyrights :

1984 copyright owner mulls legal action
Novelist Dan Brown wins 'The Da Vinci Code' copyright infringement case in London
First-Ever Iraqi Copyright Law Drafted

Patents :

New H-P vs. Acer patent suit could fuel up 'rocket docket'
Apple files for Magsafe patent
BlackBerry patent would convert e-mailed appointment references to calendar entries

Remember, Thursdays are YOUR days so if you have a question, comment or email me: Shannon at tmexpress dot com. I'm more than happy to post your web site and/or contact information, so it's also free advertising for you.

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

Trademark Inform…
We just passed the 100 mark for posts!

Many thanks to all of our loyal readers! And remember, if you have a question, comment or email me at shannon at tmexpress dot com -- do so & you get your very own post dedicated to your question. Also, I'm more than happy to post your links and/or contact information.

Happy 100 TradeMark Express Blog!
Business Plans: A Quick Guide

Scenario: You've decided to start a small business. You've researched your industry, your customers and your business' message/personality. There seems to be so many 'first steps' when it comes to starting a business but one that's always way, way up there is creating a business plan.

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

Writing a Convincing Business Plan by Arthur R. DeThomas Ph.D., Lin Grensing-Pophal
The Definitive Business Plan: The Fast Track to Intelligent Business Planning for Executives and Entrepreneurs (2nd Edition) by Richard Stutely
The Complete Book of Business Plans: Simple Steps to Writing a Powerful Business Plan (Small Business Sourcebooks) by Joseph A. Covello
The One Page Business Plan with CD-ROM by James T., Jr. Horan

There are plenty of free informational resources out there.

* Five Crucial Components of a Busines…
Copyright Visual Art Works

Last week, we explored the online works section of the Literary Works registration.

Next up is the Visual Art Works registration, which is actually quite cut and dry.

Here are some examples given by the US Copyright Office:

" ● Advertisements, commercial prints, labels
● Artificial flowers and plants
● Artwork applied to clothing or to other useful articles

● Patterns for sewing, knitting, crochet, needlework
● Photographs, photomontages
● Posters
● Record jacket artwork or photography"

Check this site for specifics about crafts and visual art information.

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

You Sure It's a Copyright You Need?

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How to Choose a Business Name:
Part Three – Know Your Message/Personality
Welcome to part 3 of a 4 part series about how to choose a business name.

Here's the schedule:
3/12: Know Your Industry
3/19: Know Your Customers
• 3/26: Know Your Message/Personality
• 4/2: Know if the Name is Available

While the concept of The Message and The Personality of a business are slightly different, there are enough commonalities to discuss them in one post.

Remember the good old days in school when you'd use a definition to start a paper? Well, the tried and true is that for a good reason.

Message: "a communication containing some information, news, advice, request, or the like, sent by messenger, radio, telephone, or other means"

Personality: something apprehended as reflective of or analogous to a distinctive human personality, as the atmosphere of a place or thing"

So, in creating a business name, you need to know the personality of your business as well as the message you want to s…
How to Know When to Trademark Your Logo

I got a really great question from a reader in response to my first call for questions:

"I have a product that I want to market and have a name. I do not yet have a mark for this product but want to protect the name. Do I file intent to use and can I do that without having the actual mark?"

There's two distinct questions here – (1) the use of Intent-to-Use & (2) adding a logo after the fact.

(1) Intent-to-Use Trademark Applications: I will definitely dedicate a more detailed post to these two types of applications but to sum it up…

A mark, be it a name, logo or slogan, must be in use in at least 2 states OR between the US & any foreign country in order to obtain Federal trademark registration. However, an applicant can file the mark even if they're only doing business in one state OR not in business at all.

There is a hiccup in filing an Intent-to-Use application in that the USPTO is going to need to know that the mark is …
Starting a Business: Must Visit Sites

Time is rather elusive today so I'm going to keep this short but sweet. Here is a listing of must visit sites if you're thinking of starting a business, if you're in the throes of starting a business or are going a little mad about starting a business.

SBA, Small Business Administration
Whether you're interested in planning, starting, managing or even getting out of business, the SBA is the place to check.

Entrepreneur's ® Starting a Business
Business plans, how-to guides, and success stories – it's all here

"The one-stop resource for growing businesses"

The IRS Checklist for Starting a Business
The basic steps

Specific to "starting, managing and growing a home business"

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

A VIS (Very Important Step) for your New Business

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Copyright Your Online Work

Last week I provided some general information about copyrights. Now, I'll delve a bit deeper into the areas of copyrightable materials, specifically the more atypical types of works that can be protected by copyright.

First on the list at the US Copyright Office web site is Literary Works.

Okay, so things like poetry, speeches, dissertations, etc. are easy enough to understand. The one type of literary work I get asked about is protecting online work. The US Copyright Office has a handy-dandy 8 page section about Copyright Registration for Online Works. How's about we break that down to some manageable parts.

The above circular describes online works as those that are "made available over a communications network such as the Internet…also applies also to works accessed via network (websites, homepages, and FTP sites) and files and documents transmitted and/or downloaded via network."

It's important to note that "the registration will ex…
How to Choose a Business Name:
Part Two – Know Your Customers

Welcome to part 2 of a 4 part series about how to choose a business name.

Here's the schedule:

3/12: Know Your Industry
• Today: Know Your Customers
• 3/26: Know Your Message/Personality
• 4/2: Know if the Name is Available

In a perfect world, your customer would be John Q. Public & Susie Everywoman. Well, we know the world's not perfect. Every business, no matter how large or small, has their Customer or Customers.

Now I don't mean lower-case customers – all businesses have customers or clients (and hopefully lots & lots of them).

What I'm talking about is the upper-case Customer, i.e. the people who are at the focus of your marketing and sales campaigns. Once you know who they are, choosing a business name will be that much easier.

Finding Your Customer

A few key questions:

• What are you selling?
o Easy enough, right?

• Who needs this product? Who needs this service?
o Ah, okay, here's one…
Get Your Piping Hot Questions Answered Here!

Every Thursday, I'll answer your questions and each question will have its very own post. For days that I don't have any questions to answer, I'll post some interesting news tidbits.
To get a question or questions to me, please comment on any post or email me at shannon at tmexpress dot com. If emailing, make sure your subject line references the blog in some way, e.g. Question for the Blog. That way I won't accidentally delete you ;)

Now on to the news...
Radio Talkers Denied 'Obamanation' Trademark
Viacom sues YouTube...
The Basics for Starting a Business
Starting a Business:
Researching Your Industry

Using this post as inspiration, I want to dig a bit deeper into the concept of researching your intended industry.

Brad Sugars' article How to Research Your Market is a must read. Brad lists a number of ideas, including contacting business groups and universities.

One of the ideas I touched upon yesterday was researching your competition. But how does one even go about doing this? And how do you keep it all organized in such a way that you can actually analyze your results? I'm a big fan of tables – I use them constantly for TradeMark Express, be it for client bids or summarizing the week. They're easy to create, manage & alter.

I've created a template that can be viewed & printed here. I filled in the first table with TradeMark Express' information so you can get an idea of how to use this table. Here's a blank form. If you'd like me to send you this table via email, please contact me at Shannon at tmexpr…
What is a Copyright?

A copyright is a "form of protection" that's achieved by filing the appropriate application with the US Copyright Office.

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.

Despite what you may hear, a "poor man's" copyright is NOT the same as registering it. Here's what the US Copyright Office has to say:

"The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a 'poor man’s copyright.' There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration."

Here are some books about copyrights:

The Copyright Handbook
How to Regist…
How to Choose a Business Name
A 4-Part Series

Eek, one day into the schedule and I'm already a day behind. 'It's good to be so busy,' is the mantra I've been repeating to myself.

At any rate, here's the first part of a 4 part series about how to choose a business name. There are, I feel, 4 key objectives to keep in mind when choosing a business name:

• Today: Know Your Industry
• 3/19: Know Your Customers
• 3/26: Know Your Message/Personality
• 4/2: Know if the Name is Available

How to Choose a Business Name:
Part One – Know Your Industry

Regardless of your industry or specialty, it's key to know your industry inside & out, at least as much as humanely possible. Customers come to you AND buy from you because they've decided that you're an expert in your field. It's up to you to ensure that you truly are.

Knowing your industry also allows you to make a more informed decision about the name or type of name you should be considering. Let's look at s…
TradeMark Express: Blog Schedule

To ensure that posts are posted, I've drafted a schedule of sorts. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Mondays: Trademark related information
Tuesdays: Copyright related information
Wednesdays: Starting a business related information
Thursdays: Questions and/or News
Fridays: FreeDays

In reference to Thursdays, I'd like to invite any & all to comment and/or email me any questions you may have. I'll then answer them in individual posts on Thursdays. Should there be no questions for the week, I'll post some news bits.

2 posts for today will be posted soon...
My Poor Little Blog

I know I've been more than neglectful of you but readers, please be rest assured, I am still here. The plus side of my absence is that work has been busy, busy, busy. It's great to talk to so many folks that are taking the plunge and starting their own businesses.

All the craziness of work aside, I will be back on track with this blog starting this weekend. I'm making a public declaration (oh my goodness!) that I will have scheduled, hopefully interesting and always engaging posts published on a very regular basis.

I'll be back on Monday, March 12th! Thanks for your patience!