By Riley Kaminer
When starting a business, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the most exciting aspects – things like building your product, finding your first customers, and securing an initial investment.
Miami Beach-based corporate lawyer Brent Friedman’s advice? Don’t forget about the trademark.
“Anybody that uses a name, or a logo or slogan, without registering it with the Patent and Trademark Office has what are called common law rights,” Friedman told Refresh Miami.
“Common law rights are helpful to a degree but to a very small degree because they only protect the owner or the user for their location of origin.” That location might be as small as simply a neighborhood in Miami. “However, if you file with the Patent and Trademark Office, you have national registration protecting you all throughout the United States in any market.”
Friedman shared another advantage to having a registered trademark: preventing counterfeiting: “The federal government authorities will try to prevent counterfeit goods and services using that name from coming into the country. Also, litigations can be filed in federal court.”
There is one downside to trademarks though: they can be a pain to file. Lawyers can charge thousands of dollars and it can take over a year for the Patent and Trademark Office to approve your filing.
Friedman knows this problem first-hand. When he needed a trademark of his own, he dove into the ins and outs of exactly what it would take to get it done. As soon as he started to peek behind the scenes of what it actually took to file a trademark, he realized that the whole process “shouldn’t be that expensive.”
So Friedman decided to create a better solution: a digital platform called Trademarky that leverages his “special sauce” for getting trademarks successfully registered for a flat fee of $450, plus the $250 the Patent and Trademark Office charges.
“We do free calls to give them an assessment of what we think their odds are of getting approved,” he said. From there, Trademarky submits the application. And then, the waiting game begins. “Right now, it takes the Patent and Trademark Office eight months alone just to review your filing.” For that reason, Friedman encourages clients to apply as early as possible.
Another helpful tidbit Friedman gives founders: “try to register a couple of names.” That way if one doesn’t go through, another might. He also advises clients to research these names before they apply to check that the name has not yet been taken – or contact a lawyer for help doing so.
Friedman has been building Trademarky for the last two years – always self funded and always as the only full-time employee. He expects that to change soon though and hopes to hire someone with significant trademark experience. Trademarky also plans to leverage technology like AI to make the trademark application process more efficient and increase the likelihood of acceptance.
For now though, Friedman is enjoying the process. “I’m excited about helping people. Trademark applications are like a puzzle – a Rubik’s Cube – and I love figuring out a way to make a name work for a client.”
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