In this edition of the Affiliate Buzz, host and Instructor of the Affiliate Marketers BootCamp, James Martell, is joined by Andrei Mincov and this week they talk about trademark registration. - what authors, entrepreneurs, and business owners need to know about protecting their intellectual property.
James begins this episode by explaining what you can expect to hear during the discussion, including: what is a trademark, what should a business owner actually protect, when should someone register a trademark, the cost involved, common trademarking myths and rip-offs, and a lot more.
James then introduces his guest, Andrei Mincov, an intellectual property lawyer and the founder of Mincov Law Corporation in Vancouver. Andrei is also author of The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Intellectual Property and has helped authors such as J.K. Rowling, sole entrepreneurs, local and web start-ups, and corporate giants like Sony and Apple.
Trademark Tips from a Local Expert
Next, James asks Andrei to share his personal story. Andrei's career started out in Russia, where he was born. His first case afforded him the opportunity to represent his own father, a famous composer who heard one of his songs being played on the radio without permission.
The process of many appeals not only won Andrei and his father's case, but it also gave Andrei a passion for defending intellectual property. After coming to Canada seven years ago, he continued on that road and now has his own firm.
Then Andrei explains that this episode's topic applies to listeners both from Canada and other countries. That is because there are many international treaties that make it easier for businesses from one country to get the same level of protection in another country.
Andrei defines a trademark as anything that identifies you in the marketplace and tells you apart from others who do the same thing. This could include the name of your business and its products and services, as well as logos and taglines you use to identify those things. Other tips he shares include:
- As soon as you realize there is value in your brand, register your trademark.
- Descriptive trademarks (i.e. fast cars or color printers) cannot be registered as trademarks because it does not distinguish you from others who do the same thing.
- A trademark does not give you the monopoly over a name, but it gives you a monopoly over the association between your business name and your products or services.
- Trademarking is not about the cost, but the value. The cost is minimal compared to what you would spend re-branding if someone else registers the trademark later.
- Having a trademark protects you from anyone else trying to steal your brand.
James asks Andrei to go through the seven steps of registering a trademark. The whole process takes between 13 and 18 months, depending on the country in which you live, and there are any number of variables that could delay or even extinguish the process.
Andrei goes on to explain the fees for registering a trademark. While you could attempt to register your own trademark for as little as a few hundred dollars, hiring an international property lawyer can help you avoid or even prevent problems later.
Making Trademarking Appeal to Business Owners
When Andrei first moved to Canada, despite his experience working with international companies like Sony and Apple, and popular authors such as J.K. Rowling, he found it difficult to find someone who wanted to hire him.
Andrei segues into how this led him to create The Trademark Factory, a unique way to register trademarks for an all-inclusive flat fee that covers everything from start to finish -- with a money-back guarantee.
The benefit of a flat fee is because it allows you to buy results, where pursuing other avenues offering to help you get a registered trademark for your business require buying someone's time.
After a short break, James turns the discussion to some popular trademark ripoffs. Andrei says one that frequently pops up is free trademark searches. An authentic service will give you an in-depth report that has more information than a free online search, and offer to explain the information in the report to you.
One online source for performing a trademark search is freetmsearch.com, which is a quick link that opens a page on the Trademark Factory website. That page is the first step to searching a trademark.
The next ripoff James and Andrei talk about is that filing your application is not the same as your application being seen through from beginning to end. Andrei stresses to always ask if the price includes unlimited responses to office actions.
This leads into a quick talk about filing applications for unregisterable trademarks. Andrei warns that there are some firms who file applications they know will come back for the sake of adding more hours to the final cost of registering a trademark.
The Andrei advises listeners to ask if registration fees are included in the final price. He points out that these are just some examples of additional charges that could be tacked on at a later time, and that a report he offers on his website lists two pages of potential add-ons.
It might seem wrong for other firms to get by with tacking on these extra fees, but they do so in a way that misleads clients until they tally up the final bill.
The final rip-off Andrei talks about is the lack of a money-back guarantee. He asserts that most clients care more about the end result than the time it takes to get a favorable result, and offering a money-back guarantee is a sign of a lawyer who is not ripping you off.
James highly recommends going to Andrei's website and downloading a copy of the report titled 5 Trademarking Rip-Offs that You Should Avoid for more information, as well as a second report titled 8 Dangerous Myths about Trademark Registration.
Finally James takes the final few minutes of the show to tackle what he calls the Speed Round where he asks Andrei ten questions. These spontaneous questions help listeners get to know Andrei a little better and cover everything from Windows versus Mac to his last vacation.
FREE Trademark Search
8 Dangerous Myths About Trademark Registration
5 Trademarking Rip-Offs You Should Avoid