Odd little bits of financial news have a funny way of creeping through the cracks in between dreary market forecasts and predictions of economic apocalypse. If you haven’t heard, Warren Buffett bought $5 Billion worth of shares for Bank of America, and countered claims of being pressured to help out the ailing institution by giving his inspiration for the transaction; his bathwater. The Huffington Post explained his reasoning in their article about the story.
You do not need a heavy chain and padlock to keep your ideas safe.
As this shows, a quick idea in the oddest of places can have dramatic implications for the market. At least when $5 Billion is involved. But Warren Buffett’s willingness to share his inspiration is not something that is seen often, especially in times of economic duress. In fact, quite a few employees, entrepreneurs and freelancers seem to clam up when it comes to ideas. After all, how do you know your colleague isn’t going to steal that idea? Heck, how many wannabe Warren Buffett-s in the making have taken long soaks in the bathtub since this article came out? But without collaboration, ideas have a tendency to fester and die. Having a good sounding board can only help to strengthen an idea and test it against criticism. Continue reading
Happy Monday everyone. As I sat here wondering what to write this blog post about, I reflected on an episode of The Simpsons I watched wherein Homer, in his new position as food critic, cries out “Aaw! it’s so hard to get to 500 words…” while attempting to write a review. I then realized how useful much of what Homer has said and done can be when applied to small businesses. So, as some easy reading this Monday, here are five business tips courtesy of Homer J. Simpson. Continue reading
Starting a new business and growing an existing business require diligence and perseverance. An ongoing attention to acquiring new customers, building a brand and getting your business “out there” are required. It’s not easy to stay on top of everything, but without a brand and customers who will recognize and purchase based upon brand recognition and trust, it is difficult to continue to grow a business.
Logos and brands are a great way to gain recognition for your product or service. Building a brand often equates with building awareness and trust of your products or services. That’s why finding the right brand to represent your business is important. It’s important that customers can understand from your logo or brand name what your business is and what it stands for. Some businesses have a word that represents their brand. Some businesses choose a stylized way of representing their brand. Many have a slogan. Ours is “Entrepreneurs Welcome”, for example. Continue reading
Many people often confused copyrights and trademarks or use them interchangeably when they actually protect different things. Copyrights typically protect original works of authorship such as novels, movies, songs, computer software and poetry. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, domain names, names, titles or slogan. Trademarks on the other hand protect a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others.
To find out more about our trademark & copyright offers, click here.
Forming a corporation or LLC is one step in the development and protection of a brand. Protecting your company name with the Secretary of State in which your corporation or LLC is formed does not necessarily mean that your trademark or brand name is avaiable on a nation-wide basis.
If you’re building a brand, which may go beyond the formation of a corporation or LLC, then considering a trademark search is a good way to go. A good example is our own company. Our corproate name is “My Corporation Business Services, Inc.”, but our brand name is “MyCorporation.com.” We do business under our brand name, it’s simpler, it’s more catchy, and it’s more well known. For that reason, we made sure the name was available on a nationwide level – that it can be used without conflicting with another company.
To evaluate whether there are other companies using your brand, a trademark search is the way to go. It’s a great first step in the process because it’s better to make sure the brand name is available before you invest in the brand only to discover it’s already in use.
A brand can be a company’s biggest asset – look at Amazon, Nike, McDonands. It’s often not the products, but the brand names with which we are familiar. Familiarity often results in customer loyalty, and it all starts with the brand.
Customers often inquire whether the reservation and filing of a corporation protects the name of the business. While it may protect the business name with the Secretary of State in the state where the corporation or LLC is filed, it does not necessarily protect the name as a trademark.
Trademarks can include any words, phrases, symbols or designs that identify and distinguish the source of the goods. There are numerous advantages to securing federal registration of a trademark. Perhaps the most important advantage is that federally registered trademarks are national in scope, regardless of the actual geographic use of the mark. Hence, trademark protection will protect your business name, which is distinct from filing for a corporation or LLC with the Secretary of State.
To find out more about trademark registration and the advantages of trademark protection, click here.
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In the Internet’s infancy, domain names served merely as a means of locating specific computers on the Internet. Now, with globalization and commercialization of the Internet, domain names have taken on business identification and trademark significance. Domain names are now highly visible in the bricks and mortar world, appearing in television, radio, and magazine advertisements, on billboards, and in most company’s advertising materials. Now that domain names serve a unique advertising and business purpose, confusion may arise when a company’s domain names are not the same as their trademarks, and vice versa. Domain names are distinct from trademarks because domain names are global and unique (a particular string of letters can link to only one site). On the other hand trademarks may overlap in different industries or different geographical locations. In the business world, because Internet users often assume a company’s trademark is its domain name, a domain name may become an equally valuable piece of intellectual property, and, like a trademark, a true business asset. Ultimately, one of the most important means of identifying the goods or services sold by your company will be through its trademarks and corresponding domain name. In fact, your trademark may be the only means for customers to identify your goods or services, and if your trademark is not the same as your domain name, a customer may become confused when searching on the Internet. Unavailability of a matching domain name could prove devastating to your business. Furthermore, choosing a trademark that is unusable because it conflicts with a prior user of a confusingly similar mark may result in a significant loss of valuable time and money, wasted marketing dollars and goodwill. For these reasons, when considering a trademark and domain name, it is important to take into consideration the following: Initially, it is important to undertake a comprehensive search of the trademarks. Continue reading