Contracts are, or should be, a regular tool that entrepreneurs use in the regular course of conducting business with vendors, contractors and partners. Learn 3 things to look out for before you sign on the dotted line. Note: The information presented herein is for educational purposes only, and neither constitutes legal advice, nor creates an attorney-client privilege between us. If you have specific legal questions, consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction or state.
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Too often, I see entrepreneurs treat intellectual property as an afterthought, when truthfully, IP could be their most valuable asset. I also hear unintentionally people confuse the different types of IP, such as copyright and trademark. It’s important, and relatively easy, to learn the difference. Watch this short video for a high level, easy-to-understand overview of the differences between copyright and trademark law. Please note: the information provided is for educational purposes only, and neither constitutes legal advice, nor creates an attorney client privilege between us.
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If you’ve considered filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to protect your brand name, here’s a heads up that some fees are increasing on Jan. 14th. So if you’re not filing before that date, adjust your budget to cover these additional costs. Here’s a quick summary of the changes:
The main 2 ways to file a trademark application are on paper or online. The paper method is slower and more expensive than the online method (with its inherent efficiency); therefore online filings are usually more popular. Both methods have increased fees, but the fee for paper filings is increasing from $375 to $600 per class ($225 difference) while online filings are increasing from $325 to $400 (only a $75 difference). Think of a trademark class as your goods/services that are being offered to the public under your trademark. What this means for you:
Let’s take my fashion blog, Thread Conscious, as a general example. If I wanted to protect that trademark in all 50 states and decided to place it on t-shirts and mugs to sell, in addition to the online entertainment blog I already have, here’s what the costs would look like for my application filing before and after Jan. 14, 2017:
Application Filing Fees Example
Before Jan. 14:
Entertainment class = $325
T-shirts/clothing class = $325
Mugs class = $325
Filing total: $975
After Jan. 14
Entertainment class = $400
T-shirts/clothing class = $400
Mugs class = $400
Filing total: $1200
If you’re only applying for one class, this change may not impact your budget very much. But for those of you filing applications for multiple trademarks and/or multiple classes, these fees can add up quickly. For a full list of all fee changes, please see the chart here.