Have you ever seen the symbol ™?
What you’ve seen is called a trademark. Trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure its exclusive use by its owner and distinguishes brands from those manufactured or sold by others.
While trademarks can be licensed to others, the unauthorized usage of trademarks is known as brand piracy.
So how do you go about claiming a trademark or know if you’re at fault and committing brand piracy? We got in touch with trademark expert, Michele Berdinis, from Beeline to learn more about trademarks and why it’s essential to register your own.
Below is her response:
I’m passionate about fashion, so I’m going to start a business where I can spend all my time dealing with boring, complicated legal stuff like trademark registration,” said no one ever.
But you know you gotta do it.
So you go online and find a bunch of explanations that make no sense. A lawyer could help, but it’s so expensive.
You go back to the part of your business that’s interesting and hope nothing bad happens. But, it’s still there in the back of your mind, the thought that your most valuable asset, your brand, is sitting outside. And it might rain.
- You know a trademark registration means you have the upper hand in any fight.
- You know going through the process of getting a registration means skunking out any problems now before things get worse.
- You know a trademark registration is something investors care about.
- You may have heard war stories about what can happen if you don’t register. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: “There’s only one thing worse than registering your trademark and that is NOT registering your trademark.”
But, ugh, it’s just so icky.
Now imagine that you met a lawyer whose passion is making it easy and not too expensive to get a trademark registration. What if someone could take this onerous, icky, boring, complicated thing and just get it done?
What if you could eat your vegetables fresh from the garden and perfectly prepared, by someone else?
Michele Berdinis has spent 18 years representing startups from formation to acquisition. She’s had a blast finally doing her own startup and putting almost two decades of trademark practice into a decision tree for the Beeline website. Michele thinks some lawyers aren’t always great about knowing how to talk to clients. Clients want help, but some lawyers are too cautious or too busy to give the advice people need. Michele believes a lawyer should just tell clients what’s up and then help them find a solution that works for them. Beeline is Michele’s way to do that for trademarks.