What is the Life of a Trademark?

Trademarks are source identifiers for a business. They enhance the value and marketing strategy of a business. A trademark can be a brand, logo, character, slogan, tagline, scent/smell, sound or color. Common law rights in a trademark are established by use. But in order to enforce your rights and to have a strong consumer recognition, businesses register their marks as a trademark. Trademark rights can last forever if they are …

How to Get Your Client to Pay

Every business goes through the pains of non-paying clients. Collections is a common problem that small business owners often face. Very often, non-paying clients/customers take the position that the goods that were sold to them were defective, or faulty, or not what they had ordered, and will return the goods in lieu of payment. They do this well after they’ve received the goods and without raising any objection of defect/fault …

Losing Business to Competitors is No Fun!

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of business owners complain that their competitors have copied their business model, website content and images. I’m not talking about copying some phrases or terms. But blatant copying of the entire website verbatim! Now I can imagine being emotional and upset when someone steals your hard work. Developing content for your business is not an easy task. You’ve probably spent hours creating the content or …

The Fuss About GDPR

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation, that went into effect on May 25, 2018. As a small business, you may think that this really doesn’t apply to you – you don’t have clients in the EU and are not targeting or soliciting EU clients. Well, you may want to think again. GDPR has a very wide scope, and includes a …

Finding the Right Fit – Franchising vs. Licensing

A client in the fitness business is currently trying to uplevel and scale her business. She has been in the business for about 5 years and has secured intellectual property rights in a certain type of fitness methodology and brand. One way to grow her business would be through franchising. Or as I suggested, licensing. A lack of capital is the most common barrier to business expansion. Taking on debt, …

Risks and Rewards of Being Popular

Being popular can pose a host of problems. Like, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West having to beef up their security teams after getting threats resulting from Kanye’s tweets regarding Donald Trump. Don’t ask me how or why I have that random information!      Businesses face issues too once they start gaining popularity and are successful. I have a client who owns a pretty successful moving company in New York, let’s …

How to go from an Idea to Business

Businesses are often created when someone comes up with an idea and puts that idea into practical use by taking varying forms of risk. An Ideapreneur is a group of entrepreneurs who comes up with a brilliant idea and disrupts the market in a way that hasn’t been done before. Think, Uber, Airbnb, WeWork etc. Ideas or concepts cannot be protected. Once an idea or concept is formed, it needs …

When First Does Not Always Win

Business owners often create and develop brands only to later find out, either through a cease and desist letter or a lawsuit, that they cannot use the brand. This could be because another company has a registered trademark or the company claims that they were first to use the brand name. Either way, defending a brand proves to be an expensive learning curve for a lot of entrepreneurs. Brand names …

Overcoming Rejection

You know real pain if you’ve ever been rejected in love or life. This week, a client received a rejection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for 3 trademark applications. Ouch, that must hurt! Even though rejections are painful, it is pretty common in the trademark realm. Statistics show that 1 in 5 trademark applications receives an initial rejection. Fear not! All is not lost. Each trademark application …

The Personal Name Battle

Entrepreneurs like lawyers, fashion designers, jewelry designers, photographers, interior designers, chefs, event planners, often use personal names as brand names for their business. As a solo entrepreneur or small business, you are your brand (my brand is my personal name). This week, I’ve had a few business owners ask me if personal names can be trademarked. The short answer is yes. Of course, there are limitations and perimeters within which …