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Showing posts from April, 2008
Starting a Business in California

When starting a business in California, start your research at these two sites:

The California Business Portal & The Secretary of State's Starting a Business page.

On the SOS' page, you'll see the Secretary of State details 5 recommended steps:

1) Write a business plan

Here are a couple of posts I've devoted to this subject - Business Plans: A Quick Guide and Piecing Together the Business Plan.

The Small Business Administration has a handy page about writing a business plan.

2) Deciding on a location for your business

If you need assistance, check out the Labor & Workforce Development Agency's Business Investment Services page.

3) Choose a business structure

Entrepreneur has a great article on this subject, Choose Your Business Structure.

4) Taxes

Click here for those documents.

5) License & Permits

Check both of these sites: CalGOLD and the CA Department of Consumer Affairs.

The Secretary of State also has a listing of business resou…
Fun With Graphs

Every year the USPTO publishes an online Performance and Accountability Report, which contains some pretty interesting statistics about patents & trademarks. I used this site to create a couple of graphs to provide a visual on these stats.

A 27% increase in 4 years is pretty significant. The increase every year goes to show how important folks are taking their trademarks & brand identity.

The above is a 5 year look at the number of registrations issued. As you can see, the number of applications filed versus those that move to registration differ greatly. This is going to be for a number of reasons -- refusals, abandonments, oppositions, etc.

Look at 2006 - 128,672 applications never made it to registration. Even if each one of those applications consisted of only 1 class filed, that's a total of $41,818,400. Let's even say that all 128,672 applications used TEAS Plus -- that's still a total of $35,384,800! That's staggering.

There's all sorts o…
Starting a Business in...
Being in the trademark biz, we get a lot of questions from folks about starting their own business in their state of residence. Admittedly, I don't know a lot of the ins & outs required for each state. I think it's high time I educated myself.

That being said, I'm going to dedicate a post a week to the various resources, steps & sites for each state. Once a week seems to be a good pace. I think anything more than that would make this blog a bit of a boring read.

Anyone have a state in mind they'd like to know more about? If so, leave a comment or email me at
Logo Search: Trudging through the USPTO

Searching for designs on the USPTO site is a bit tricky. I'll explain it step by step.
First, go to this link. This is the searchable design search code manual. Type in simple keywords that describe your logo. For instance, typing in telephone brings up the 6-digit codes for telephones, telephone poles, answering machines, etc. Make note of all the 6-digit codes relevant to your logo.Second, go to this link. This is the main trademark hub page. From here you'll see 2 columns. Look at the right hand side for a link that's titled Search. Click on that.Now click on Structured Form Search (boolean). In the first search term box, type in the 6-digit code, no spaces & no dots. Change the field to Design Code. Stopping here will likely result in too many hits to look at so let's use the rest of the search boxes to narrow it a bit.

Change the operator to AND. In the next search term box, choose one keyword that describes your goods/serv…
Copyrights & Trademarks: Do You Need Both?

Protecting the intellectual property aspects of your business is a worthwhile investment. However, it is difficult to know what form of intellectual property works for what facets of your business. Let's take the time to break all that down.


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 protect text as it appears on advertising copy, speeches, pamphlets, brochures, online works, reports, etc. a Literary Works application would be filed.

To protect pictorial or graphic items such as technical drawings, posters, labels, games, etc. a Visual Art Works application would be filed.

Only a few items that could be protecte…
Small Business Trademarks: Who Needs 'Em?

Anyone that's started a small business or is in the throes of starting a small business knows how overwhelming it can be just to get to opening day. You've got licenses & permits to think about, what sort of business entity structure is right, where the money is going to come from, and on and on. Phew! While it can almost be too overwhelming, your entrepreneurial drive and your passion for your business will get you through it.

Now when it comes to your business name, we can all agree that that's an important, if not the most important feature of your business. Your small business name is the face, if you will, of your products and/or services. It's how your customers will come to know you, how they'll get back to you and how they'll refer you to new customers.

Let's say you found the perfect name for your small business. What a lot of folks do at this point is usually a misstep – filing for a business entity …
US Patent & Trademark Office: Navigating the Web Site

Anyone that's had to slog through a governmental web site knows how confusing it can be at times. That being said, let's take a virtual walk together through the web site of the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Start at the home page.

You'll see a headline of sorts along with 3 columns of information. Left hand column are a series of links that drop down to show even more links – more about this to follow. The middle column is the site's top news with various headlines and blurbs. The right hand column are banner links that go to various pages/sites, such as the Department of Commerce, Kids' Pages, jobs at the USPTO, etc.

Left hand column – we're going to concentrate on 2 of the 13 available links.

Click on Patents – a drop down should open with a series of numbered links.

Let's take a look at a few a bit closer:

The very first link, not numbered, Patents main page takes you to the hub of the US patent uni…