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Should I register my logo as a trademark now, or wait till later?

Discussion in 'Asset Protection/Taxes/Legal' started by Xeon, Sep 7, 2017.

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  1. Xeon
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    Xeon Contributor

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    I got a logo made, and it's designed in such a way that it looks cool enough to be put on t-shirts and other marketing collateral, and the logo is going to be a significant part of my branding and marketing strategy.

    I checked around for the fees (for trademarking it in the US) including the attorney fees, and the cheapest and most reasonable is around US$700+.

    Should I hold off the trademarking now and wait till I earn some profits, or should I just swallow down that US$700 cost?

    I admit, I'm a miser and I don't want to spend money on these things, but I couldn't help but worry sometimes though.

    Any advice?
     
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  2. jon.a
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    jon.a Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    You're buying a form of insurance. What exactly do you think that you would be insuring?
     
  3. mike24601
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    mike24601 Consumption Bear Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Get some sales first, then you will know if your idea has validity or not. If you are determined to bring your idea full circle, you will need to look at covering your ass as much as possible to maintain control--that includes getting insurance if you have any liabilities, trademarking, becoming a corporation (not sure how that is done in Singapore, but probably similar), separating personal from business assets, etc. But for now, you gotta make the sales.
     
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  4. amp0193
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    amp0193 Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    If it was me, I'd wait till I had some sales coming in, unless I was 100% certain that this business was going to grow.

    Check out this thread about what can go wrong if you don't trademark it now: Trademark your name NOW!
     
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  5. jasoncuellar123
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    jasoncuellar123 Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Sounds like you're putting the cart before the horse.
     
  6. Patrick R
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    Patrick R Shwizzle Shwazzle Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I think spending $700+ on that is a bit excessive especially before you even know if your business is going to be successful or not. Like the others said, get some sales, validate your idea, grow and then protect yourself before anything happens. You don't want to be out that much money for something that doesn't work.
     
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  7. Kruiser
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    Kruiser New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Just to echo everyone above, get some sales first. Frankly, $700 is on the very low end of what it would take to get a mark registered. More importantly, in the U.S., you don't have zero trademark rights if you don't get your mark registered. Registration just gives you certain additional rights. In general, you do acquire certain common law rights simply by using your mark in commerce. So, if you slap your logo on something and actually make some sales, your mark does have some protection. In the U.S., generally, trademark rights are acquired by use in commerce. Registration just gives you certain additional protections.

    What is tricky (and what can cost a lot of legal fees up front) is to do a clearance search, that is, making sure no one is using the same or a similar mark in your space already. It is worth your time to spend some time on the USPTO website and really just googling to find out if someone is using something arguably similar in your space or in an adjacent space. Basically, the idea is to make sure that if you spend the time to build brand recognition with that name and logo, you aren't going to get shut down in the future by someone with deep pockets who can make a halfway decent argument that your mark infringes theirs and will confuse consumers.

    Trademark is a tricky area of the law and the lines are not always that clear. There is a major subjective component to trademark law (e.g., are these marks similar? would a consumer be confused as to the source of goods?, etc.). Malpractice insurance for trademark attorneys is high because it is really easy to make a "mistake."

    But the bottom line (for now), worry about sales and not trademark registration.
     
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  8. BrooklynHustle
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    BrooklynHustle Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Focus. Sell the product. You have a lot of obstacles to clear beforeyou have something worth protecting
     
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  9. mwp
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    In the USA, you can both copyright and trademark logos. Copyright is a lot cheaper (~$35 to e-file). Of course your logo needs to be of sufficient artistry /creativity to qualify for copyright, but sounds like you might have that.
     
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  10. stavedeve
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    I would say no. Wait until you have customers and money coming in before you do that stuff.
     
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  11. Xeon
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    Hi guys, thanks a lot for the advice.

    I've decided to spend that money elsewhere instead and trademark only after the products have been validated. :)
     
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  12. stavedeve
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    Very well said.
     
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  13. luniac
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    luniac Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    MAKE SOME MONEY FIRST
     
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  14. ddzc
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    ddzc Gold Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    There's so much bad advice in this thread it's ridiculous. Please check the link posted by @amp0193 about my disasterous story.

    If you're truly invested in this venture and it's not some side project for fun, then you need to protect your name (especially) and the logo. There's a lot of trademark trolls out there who take advantage of business owners like yourself. The world is full of unethical people, and you need to be ahead of the game.

    Just today, I read an article from Kodi, where some prick is squatting on the Kodi name in Canada and screwing over legitimate businesses who are selling on amazon.ca. Kodi Trademark Trolls - The Hidden Battle

    This stuff is serious. If you're investing a couple dollars on this idea and you're not too serious about it, sure, ignore the trademark protection. I do know of some companies who trademark after the business launches and succeeds, but just keep in mind, you're playing with fire and hoping no one squats. I wouldn't sleep well at night thinking that. I know guys who have had their inventory seized by the US border and customs losing 20-30K in goods because of a trademark infringement. You don't need a lawyer to file, it's very simple and takes 30 mins to self file a US trademark for only $275 USD (TEAS RF) - Trademark/Service Mark Application, Principal Register
     
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  15. AllenCrawley
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    AllenCrawley Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    ^^^ Agreed! Take heed.

    It sounds like good advice and the right thing to say... "Get sales first!" But you may end up regretting that. Thankfully I was able to get my registered trademark assigned over to me but that is likely a rare occurrence. As @ddzc explains, if this is a legit business get its mark registered. If it's a throw away company then don't worry about it.
     
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  16. Xeon
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    Xeon Contributor

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    Thanks guys, that's some deep insight. For you two guys, I assume when you say register the trademark, you guys are actually referring to the logo right?

    My business logo has the logomark (the graphic) and the wordmark (the stylized text design that is on the right of the logo graphic, something like Pepsi / Microsoft logo), and these 2 components make up the logo.

    I've already registered the business. This is not a side-hustle or throwaway company.
     
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  17. Kruiser
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    Kruiser New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Still think focusing on trademark registration before any sales for someone without deep pockets makes little sense. It is a matter of priorities and risk mitigation. First, trademark registration is not a magic bullet. You DO have certain common law trademark rights simply by using your mark in commerce. Registration adds to the common law rights that already exist through your use of the mark in commerce (in US, at least). Second, sure, there are certain situations in which you may regret not having registered the mark up front. Just like there are situations in which you may regret not getting a huge products liability policy up front.

    Again, it is a matter of risk mitigation and using scarce resources. Sure, it is possible that he may regret not registering mark up front, but it is very unlikely. What is much more likely is that he'd waste time and money registering a mark that ends up being valueless because he is spending time on things like registering trademarks instead of making sales.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
     
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  18. AllenCrawley
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    AllenCrawley Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I'm curious as to your experience in these matters.

    I still think it's an unnecessary risk to take. Yes, you DO have certain common law trademark rights by simply using the mark in commerce BUT that's a process that isn't as easy as you make it out. If someone does trademark you will have to follow a process and that would be unneeded headaches, stress and time. I can't tell you how stressful my situation was. I was losing sleep over it. I was angry. It took up so much of my time that should have been used elsewhere.

    Also, what if the trademark gets filed by someone else prior to its use in commerce? SOL? Very likely.

    It's only a few hundred bucks that should be considered a customary investment in starting any business.
     
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  19. Kruiser
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    Kruiser New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Practiced law for about 10 years, including a decent amount of trademark work.

    The safest answer is always "register everything.". But I've seen tens of thousands of dollars blown on marks that were never used or which had no sales associated with them.

    It sounds like you had a bad situation in which having your mark registered would have been helpful. I'm sorry about that.



    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
     
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  20. Xeon
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    Hi, thanks a lot for your advice. But if the cost of registration for a mark is only about a couple of hundred dollars and not tens of thousands of dollars per registration, surely it's still ok? I mean, of course no one in their sane mind would throw tens of thousands of $$$ in this thing! :blush:
     
  21. Kruiser
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    I can't advise you on what to do as I don't represent you. Do whatever you think is best. I can only give generalized opinions. Good luck!

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  22. Xeon
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    Understood. Appreciate it. :thumbsup:
     
  23. Kruiser
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    Kruiser New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Xeon, I've thought about this more. Again, I need to emphasize that I do not represent you, cannot give you legal advice, and that you need to engage your own US attorney to advise you on your particular situation in regard to US trademark law.

    Here is how I generally do things.

    1. Clearance search. I know your focus is on protecting yourself from someone stealing your marks. But you also need to be sure you aren't unintentionally "stealing" someone else's marks. This is playing defense. If you launch a successful business selling crazy cat t-shirts with the name Xeon, but there is a $20mm company out there selling crazy dog tshirts under the name Zeon, you are likely going to have a serious problem (if your brand gets traction).

    2. Assuming there are no obvious roadblocks/risks from step 1, launch with your brand. Slap a superscript "TM" at the end of your brand name. This a) puts the world on notice that you are claiming trademark rights to your brand b) scares off would-be infringers. There is no registration or legal process necessary to use "TM" (as opposed to the circle r mark that can only be used when the uspto has granted your mark registered status)

    3. Preserve samples of your using your mark in commerce (e.g., advertising, photos of tshirts shipping with your mark, etc.). Samples are critical to the registration process and in proving common law rights in litigation.

    4. If your brand gets traction and is worth investing time and resources in protecting, register it, either by yourself or through counsel.

    This is how I do things in my own business. Again, I don't represent you and you should engage US counsel to advise you on your own situation.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
     
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  24. Xeon
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    Thanks! Point 2) was especially useful since I didn't know about it before :thumbsup:
     
  25. ddzc
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    ddzc Gold Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Just an fyi, the logo itself is one trademark. If you want to trademark your name mark, that's an additional trademark application. It's not hard to submit, but keep in mind, your personal full name will be on public records. If you don't want to associate yourself with the business or logo from a public searchable standpoint, have a lawyer submit on your behalf.
     
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