My business colleague, Nance Schick, offers excellent advice about trademarks and intellectual property.
Make sure you know the differences among the various forms of intellectual property (IP). Many agencies, including attorneys, prey on entrepreneurs who do not know the differences. Trademarks, service marks, copyrights, and patents all describe different types of IP, and each has a unique process for protection. You may also find that it is a complete waste of money to apply because, for example:
- Trademark protection is granted to the first to use the mark in interstate commerce, regardless of whether the mark is registered;
- Patents are rarely granted, are expensive to obtain and are even more expensive to litigate;
- Ideas cannot be protected;
- It may be most cost-effective to negotiate with IP owners rather than litigate; and
- IP alone is unlikely to make you rich, despite what popular culture may lead you to believe.
If you are confused about the different types of intellectual property, then it is recommended that you read up more on them before trademark application.