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How To Protect Intellectual Property

In this transcript, Clay Clark (Founder of Thrive15.com and owner of 9 businesses) and Wes Carter (Published attorney) discuss the importance of protecting intellectual property on Thrive15.com, the business sales training program.

Clay:    What if my name is Bobby and I make cookies and I want to have a company called Bobby's Cookies. Do you think I should invest the money going into it early on to research and to find out whether I could use that name Bobby's Cookies, even if I want to operate just like in Saskatchewan?

Wes:    There are some exceptions, it's very hard to stop you using from your own name so unless there's a very well known cookie company out there already existing under that name. It's most likely your going to be fine using your own name, but just because you are only operating in a small local market does not mean that you're exempt from trademark law. It is possible that a big giant corporation comes in smashes you later on down the road because your competing with them.

Clay:    How long does it take typically to trademark my company's name or slogan. How long does it take?

Wes:    You know file the application, you could probably work with your attorney and get it files within a week or two. Once the application is filed I would guess somewhere around 6 months to 10 months somewhere, maybe a little shorter. 

Clay:    6 months, you could create a human in faster time that it is to get something trademarked?

Wes:    You have to work through a lot of different steps in the process. There's an attorney at the trademark office that's going to review it, see if it's worthy of a trademark, then if there are any other trademarks out there that had it before you did, then they publish it so the whole world could have a chance to disagree with you.

Clay:    You and your wife just had a baby?

Wes:    We did.

Clay:    What is the baby's name?

Wes:    Annabelle Grace.

Clay:    If you had to bet next time you ... are you having more kids or is this it?

Wes:    I'll probably have some more.

Clay:    Okay so if you ...

Wes:    I'm trying to catch you Clay. 

Clay:    With the 5 kids it's tough but it's competitive I will do some things needed if it gets to 6 if I have to. Let me ask you if you were saying I just found out my wife is pregnant and you have this race, you got a trademark or the baby being delivered. Who do you bet on, do you bet on the baby being delivered in 9 months or the trademark being done in 9 months, if you had to bet?

Wes:    I'm probably going to bet on the baby. 

Clay:    Man that is discouraging but so encouraging to know how tough it's going to be. 

Wes:    Well what happens when you file it there are so many trademarks out there that it's likely you run into some issue that you are going to have to deal with the trademark office.

Clay:    Unless you make up a word. 

Wes:    Well see that actually not joking ...

Clay:    Correct me. 

Wes:    That's one of the best ways to brand your company something completely unique because it's easy to protect. 

Clay:    Real story for you guys watching this, the guys Larry and Sergey they started Google and the guy said who do I make the check to, one of their first investors, who do I make the check to and they say Google. They were calling the project back rub for a long time because back link program for indexing text, well they're like Google and they spelled it wrong and it was referenced to a math number and that's how they came up with the name Google which was trademarked free because he was out there using the word Google and then let alone spelling it wrong the actual word Google. Its interesting how company names come about, companies like Yahoo! with an exclamation point, Companies like Zynga. This is what happens they're going I don't know what else to call it man let's just call it ... in something that sounds good. 

Wes:    It's easy to protect, there's a pretty good chance no one else is out there using it or using a word that has nothing to do with your product, like Apple for computers.

Clay:    Or bacon for legal consulting. 

Wes:    Exactly.

Clay:    Now how much money is reasonable to spend on trademarking something?

Wes:    Your probably looking in the neighborhood of around $1000 and going up from there.

Clay:    It seems like as an entrepreneur when your starting a business, I know when I started my business you have very little time very little money. For people who are watching this who have a business, maybe you have money but very little time now or maybe you have very little time and a lot of money I don't know. Legal bills are expensive so can you just warn me one more time and tell me who should not even consider a trademark?

Wes:    I think you actually, all entrepreneurs all people starting business should at least consider, do I need a trademark? 

Clay:    Really. 

Wes:    Can I afford one?

Clay:    Okay. 

Wes:    Of course it might be no but you at least need to make a conscience decision I don't need one.

Clay:    Now if I'm watching this video online right now and I just want to get out there and begin the process of getting a trademark going, what are the first couple of steps that I need to go ahead and take if I want to get this trademark think going, I want to get it all in like [inaudible 04:39] lane. 

Wes:    Well especially with trademarks, I would strongly suggest who is experienced with filing trademarks so they can walk you through the process. 

Clay:    Can you do legal work in every state?

Wes:    I can do certain types of legal work in every state.

Clay:    If somebody were wanting to work with a guy like you, there's attorneys such as Wes Carter attorney extraordinaire who can operate in multiple different businesses. Thrive15.com can also help teach you sales training.

Wes:    Yes.

Clay:    Or multiple different states.

Wes:    Yes. 

Clay:    There are some that can be just in a specific state.

Wes:    Right. 

Clay:    There's a lot ...

Wes:    Different laws, trademark federal law it's the same federal law in every state, you get into a slip and fall that might be some more local laws you might have to deal with.

Clay:    Trademarks, any attorney can help you with this?

Wes:    No, you need someone whose done trademarks, this isn't an area you want someone that's going to learn on your dime, you want someone that has done it before and that can help you negotiate the process. 

Clay:    I appreciate you sharing this because I don't think a lot of people learned that one if you can't figure out a name that you could trademark just come up with an original name that means nothing or no one uses that's an idea or a word unrelated.

Wes:    Yes. 

Clay:    I think it's important that we all know that we really need to, all your saying is at least invest to see, just to check the trademarks so that your not infringing.

Wes:    Right.

Clay:    This is big stuff.

Wes:    Yes.

Clay:    I appreciate you sharing this and when we finish, when we get off air I'm going to sue you. 

Wes:    You will lose but have fun.

Clay:    Okay, thank you.

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