Thursday, April 26, 2007

A New Newsletter

So apparently when you go on an extended vacation, it takes quite a bit of time to get back up to speed. I'm at about 40mph in a 60mph zone - almost there. That being said, no new post today but how's about a new newsletter.

TradeMark Express launched a newsletter back in March - check it out here. And sign up for it

I'll be gearing up to 60, I promise. See you soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Taking a Break

The TradeMark Express blog will be on a short recess for a couple of days but a new post will be back up on Tuesday, April 24th.

Remember, Thursdays are YOUR days so if you have a question, comment or email me. 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 Information

Monday, April 16, 2007

International Classes Continued…

Let's pick up where we left off last week and continue looking further into the trademark international class system.

A wildly popular class number is easily
international class 25, the clothing class. Almost any type of clothing you can think of falls into this classification, except protective clothing. International class 25 also contains shoes and hats.

The USPTO requires that when filing in the clothing class you be specific and boy, do they mean specific. Just saying clothing is not going to cut it. Each and every item must be listed.

What if you're selling t-shirts today but know you want to sell jackets, jeans, shoes, etc. later on?

If you're filing as an In Use application, be honest. List all the items you are currently selling because sending that application off means you signed (even an electronic signature counts!) a document stating that "all statements made of his/her own knowledge are true."

If you're in the situation where you know you'll have other items coming out, you may want to consider filing as an
Intent-to-Use. Feel free to drop me a line should you have questions about these issues.

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

Summary of all International Classifications
Trademark Information

Thursday, April 12, 2007

International Classes

Trademark offices around the world use an international classification system to categorize various products and services. When filing a trademark, a class number is assigned according to the goods/services description portion of the application. Many countries base their trademark filing fee on the number of classes filed, the US being one of them.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to take the time to explore a number of these classes a bit further in hopes of providing further insight.

Let's start with the newest kids on the block, International Class numbers 43, 44 and 45. It all starts out very Nice (a little trademark humor for you…*sigh* ;) yeah, yeah I know).

The Nice Classification is based on a multilateral treaty administered by WIPO. This treaty is called the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks

And that's the longwinded way of saying that most trademark offices around the world have agreed upon one classification system for products and services.

In 2002 the 8th edition of the Nice Agreement came out, which consisted of a restructuring of International Class 42, the class formerly known as "services that cannot be classified elsewhere." It now goes by the moniker "Scientific and technological services and research" – more about that at a later date.

Another effect of this Agreement was the creation of the 3 aforementioned classes.

International Class 43 aka Food and drink services

This class, obviously, contains your restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc. But it's also the classification for hotels, day care centers, "providing a database in the field of recipes and cooking information" and the like.

044 aka Medical and veterinary services

Health care & veterinary services but also hair styling, garden care, massage and nail salons

045 aka Personal and Social services

Adoption services, foster care, guardianship, etc. are in this class. But there are also services such as house sitting, hotel concierge services (note how it's not in the same class as hotel services), pet sitting and real estate settlement services.

Just this past January a 9th edition of the Nice Agreement was put into force – no new classes but a shifting around of certain products & services happened. To read further, click

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

Summary of all International Classifications
Trademark Information

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Money Money Money

That's the stuff that seems to vanish into thin air when starting a business. From talking to thousands of small business owners over the years, that's the one thing that's in short supply. Every time you turn around, somebody wants money for something.

A little tip – when hiring a company for certain services, ask if they offer payment plans. Any service company that caters to the small business owner should understand the financial burden starting a business entails & well, it never hurts to ask. TradeMark Express started a payment plan option years ago and while it requires a bit more effort in the bookkeeping department, the benefit it provides to our clients is more than worth it.

Business loans are a viable option for many folks and, like anything I talk about here, research this process fully before you embroil yourself into something like this.

To get started, I suggest contacting the
Small Business Administration (SBA). Entrepreneur also offers a great site dedicated to money & finance.

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

How to Get a Small Business Loan: A Banker Shows You Exactly What to Do to Get a Loan (Small Business Series, No 1) by Bryan E. Milling
* The SBA Loan Book: Get A Small Business Loan--even With Poor Credit, Weak Collateral, And No Experience by Charles H. Green
Secrets Lenders Never Told You: Get Your Business Loan Approved by Patricia H. Wesson

There are plenty of free informational resources out there:

Get Yourself Started with Small Business Loans by Tim Kelly
Small Business Lenders by Matt Bacak
Small Business Loans for Small Business Owners by David Gass
Small Business Loan Basics by Joseph Kenny

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

A VIS (Very Important Step) for your New Business

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

:) <3>
As internet speak and emoticons become more and more prevalent, it only stands to reason that folks are going to start capitalizing on it, which in turn leads to them wanting to protect their work.

So, do you trademark or copyright these symbols?

Actually, you can do both. Let's look at examples of each.


Now there are a countless number of emoticons/face images out there but if you do happen to create a new one look into filing for a copyright. Yahoo ® did & you can see that record


If you are using emoticons/face images in connection with products and/or services, consider filing for a trademark. Of course, comprehensive research is needed first to ensure that no other party has attempted the same. The USPTO even has a new design code designation just for emoticons.

Plenty of people have already capitalized on this new 'language' in terms of trademarks. Despair Inc has done so for their line of greeting cards, posters & art prints. Check out their products here. To see their USPTO filing, go to the USPTO Status Page and enter in the Serial Number 75502288.

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

Trademark Information
What good is a logo anyhow?
You Sure It's a Copyright You Need?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Should I Trademark My Band Name?

Using this question as inspiration, I thought it'd be a good idea to examine this topic further.

The decision on whether or not to trademark is not an exact science. It's certainly not going to fit every business' plans. You'll need to gauge
your plans, your goals and your dreams. Just because your business is small now does not mean that it will always stay that way.

But whether or not to trademark a band name is a bit stickier. The same principles apply in that you'll have to determine the long term goals.

A few questions to consider that should help you make the decision about whether or not to trademark your band name or your artist name:

1) How serious are you about this business called show?

Is your band something you do with your buddies every now & again? Or is this a full-time gig? If your band is your career, think of it that way.

2) Are you touring?

If you're touring all over your state, all over the country, all over the world, then your name is out there for all to see and to know.

3) Got a CD? CDs?

If your band has published your tunes onto a CD or CDs, where are they being sold? At shows? On-line?

It basically comes down to how serious you are about your music career. If entertainment's the field you know you're going to be in, then take the steps to protect yourself now.

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

Trademark Information

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Trademark Headlines

Larry Birkhead Will Not Trademark Anna Nicole Smith Phrase

Orange County man wants to trademark name of communities

Canada to trademark 'winter' for 2010 Olympics

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 Information

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Piecing Together the Business Plan

Using last week's post as inspiration, I thought it'd be a good idea to delve a bit deeper into the different components of a business plan.

Another inspiration point is
Lance Winslow's article Sample Business Plan Outline, which I also recommended last week.

Using Lance's extensive outline, I found further reading for each of his main headings

1) Executive Summary:

e-Business plan tutorial
Business Basics…by Mike Volker

2) Objectives:

AllBusiness - Business plans include vision, mission statement, and objectives, don't they? What's the difference?

3) Company & Industry Analysis

Company Analysis section of Growthink's Business Plan Development Guide
Rutger's page on Industry Analysis

4) Marketing Analysis

INC's Write a Marketing Analysis that Will Simply Dazzle marketing FAQs

5) Management

INC's Making the Most of Your Management Team

6) Operations

e-Business plan tutorial

7) Legal Strategies

Prentice Hall's Key Points page

8) Financial Strategies


TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

A VIS (Very Important Step) for your New Business

Copyright Headlines

EMI to offer music on iTunes without software for protecting its copyrights

Copyrights and Copy Wrongs

Company polices online copyrights

ISU Ranks High With Copyright Infringements

Stanford launches Copyright Renewal Database
Stanford's Copyright Renewal Database

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

You Sure It's a Copyright You Need?

Monday, April 02, 2007

How to Choose a Business Name:
Part Four – Know if the Name is Available

Welcome to part 4 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
• Today: Know if the Name is Available

This subject is, obviously, near and dear to me as this is my bread & butter.

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 step is a comprehensive search of the pending and registered Federal and State trademark files. Similar names matter too! The search should look for similarities in Sound, Appearance and Meaning, which means looking at synonyms, spelling variations, word placement, translations (if necessary), etc.

The second step is a comprehensive search of US National Common-Law files. This entails searching
all incorporation records, all fictitious name/DBA records, Dun & Bradstreet  records, product announcements, newspapers, company directories, etc.

If the research proves clear on both steps, you can then decide if you'd like to file for a State or Federal trademark.

This concludes our 4-part series in choosing a business name. The 4 topics I chose are those that are the ones I think most important. Are there other steps you think should be considered?

TradeMark Express Blog Schedule

The Importance of Creative Naming
Trademark Information

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