Introduction to Webinar
“What’s your brand? What’s your protection?” Steven Weigler is a trademark attorney who gained experience as a senior attorney for a Fortune 50 technology company, where he handled complex business negotiations and asset-protection cases. He was also the CEO, founder, and general counsel of an educational technology startup that developed predictive analytics to identify and help at-risk youth. An entrepreneur himself, Steven is passionate about helping business owners achieve their goals and receive expert, empathetic legal support.
In this webinar presented during November’s Small Business Expo, Steven Weigler and Cassidy Merriam, Esq. guide participants on how to economically build and protect a brand in part through securing Federal trademarks and copyright registration.
Access the entire webinar here.
Background and Brand – “What’s Your Brand?”
What is Your Brand? — 4:10
- Who are you?
- Who needs to know?
- How will they find you?
- What will create a consumer connection?
What is a Brand? — 8:50
- “The brand’s intangible value is often much greater than the corporation’s tangible assets” – Wally Olins, The Brand Handbook.
- Brands have three primary functions: identification, reassurance, and connection.
Cohesive Brand Identity — 11:40
- To have a cohesive brand identity, we want; consistency, flexibility and growth, personality, and recognition.
Trademarks Protect Brand — 12:35
- Any word, name, symbol, or design (and sometimes sound or scent) is used to identify and distinguish a company’s products and services from those of competitors and to indicate the source of the goods or services.
- A brand helps to protect consumers, benefit loyalty and reputation, give trademark priority, and increase chances of longevity.
- Table breakdown of famous, recognizable brands according to their brand name, visual identity, and slogan.
Trademark Registration Process — 21:24
- Step 1: Understand Business and Brand
- Step 2: Engage
- Step 3: Comprehensive Search
- Step 4: Analysis and Risk Mitigation
- Step 5: Application Preparation and Filing
- Step 6: Tracking and Advocacy
- Step 7: Registration Process
- Step 8: Renewal and Maintenance
Trademark Law is Complex and Cryptic — 29:17
- A comprehensive comparison of trademarks takes into account:
- How similar are the marks?
- How related are the goods/services?
- Other factors to consider when comparing goods and services are descriptiveness, coexistence, potential plaintiff, and intended use.
- Trademark registers include but are not limited to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database and/or foreign trademark offices.
- Common law references identify unidentified trademark use in the marketplace.
Creating and Developing Your Brand — 33:20 (skimmed over due to time)
- Voice: determine what you want your brand to say to the world.
- Strategy: conduct research and begin initial steps of brand strategy.
- Trademark: brainstorm potential trademarks and other house touchpoints.
What is Your Protection? 33:45 – “What’s Your Protection?”
- Are you protected?
- What protection does your business need?
- Is your protection adequate?
- What assets do you stand to lose?
Questions from Audience — 35:50
- 36:20 — Do I need a trademark in each country, or are there international and regional trademarks?
- 40:10 — How do you know when you are at the point where you should be registering your trademarks?
- 43:27 — When trademarking your brand, how does color come into play?
- 46:05 — Should one trademark the sole proprietor name and the mark or DBA name?
Key Takeaways from What’s Your Brand? What’s Your Protection?
- As early-stage businesses, logos and slogans can evolve almost weekly. The importance of a trademark attorney is to identify the essence of the business to protect what is essential. The rest can be built upon as the business grows and evolves.
- Registering your trademark is not a one-and-done process but a continually evolving aspect of the business.
- It’s hard to work with counsel who doesn’t understand you or your business. Therefore, it is essential to find a firm that will take that time to understand processes and day-to-day to accurately convey and protect your brand.
- Most of the workload experienced resulted from people not protecting their brand initially. This reactive approach can be an arduous process both in time and financially. However, it can be prevented by taking a proactive trademark registration process.