Wilson Murphy Law discusses the legalities of your small business including trademarks and copyright registration , as well as contracts.
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Transcription: You keep hearing: “The trademark application is easy to fill out you don’t need to hire an attorney”. I’m going to tell you in […] The post Should I hire a trademark attorney? appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
You keep hearing: “The trademark application is easy to fill out you don’t need to hire an attorney”. I’m going to tell you in this video why that is horrible advice to take and why it’s necessary to hire an attorney to register at your trademarks.
My name is Michelle Murphy. I’m the owner Wilson Murphy Law and I work with small business owners to protect their business through trademark registration and contracts. Before we get started make sure you like or dislike, comment, and subscribe to my channel.
First I’m going tell you a few statistics about registering your trademark.
Statistic number one is that applications that are filed by attorneys are 50% more likely to be successful than ones that aren’t filed by attorneys. Statistic number two is that 83% of applications received an initial reaction.
So the answer to the question of if you need to hire a trademark attorney to file your application is absolutely yes. And I’m not only saying this because I am a trademark attorney.
So when you hire trademark application attorney most of them will do some type of search. Whether it’s a basic search or a comprehensive trademark search. In my law firm I perform a comprehensive trademark search. This comes up with every single trademark out there that could be similar to yours. It’s not just the registered trademarks. It’s state trademarks, social media names, YouTube names, Amazon businesses, and more.
And I’ve also heard some business consultants say that they can help with your trademark application. However, the consultant would be practicing law. That is the unauthorized practice of law and your application could end up being void.
In addition, trademark lawyers use strategies if there is a name similar to yours.
If you are not 120% confident that you know what you’re doing when filing your trademark then you definitely should hire somebody. And if you do file your trademark like I said above 83% of these get initial rejections and you don’t know how to respond back which is usually through a legal argument then you’re going to have to hire an attorney anyway if you want Your trademark approved.
If you have any other suggestions or questions about videos you want to see, leave them in the comments.
And after you watch this video, make sure that you check out my free trademark masterclass below. You’ll have more clarity on why registering your trademarks are so important for your small business. And if you even need to do it.
You heard a lot of things about the importance of registered trademark and own your trademark but you’re not sure what the registered and unregistered trademark means. […] The post Difference between registered and unregistered trademarks appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
You heard a lot of things about the importance of registered trademark and own your trademark but you’re not sure what the registered and unregistered trademark means. Well today that’s what we’re going to talk about and by the end of this video you’re going to be clear about the difference between registered and unregistered trademarks. My name is Michelle Murphy, I’m the owner Wilson Murphy Law and I work with small business owners to protect their business through trademark registration and contracts. Before we get started make sure you like or dislike, comment, and subscribe to my channel.
Trademark symbol differences:
There are different symbols for registered and unregistered trademarks. Registered trademark defines that the symbol has OR with the circle around it
And if your trademark is not registered then you use the TM symbol. If it can be shown that that you use the registered trademark symbol to deceive consumers or competitors then the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can reject your application.
Benefits of using registered trademarks:
Sue for trademark Infringement:
The main benefit of having a registered trademark is that if a competitor or someone else infringes on your trademark then you can sue them in federal court and potentially recovers damages incurred due to an infringement a.k.a. compensation from the infringer.There are common law trademark rights but that only applies in the geographic region that you are in. So if you live in Nevada and someone in New York infringes on your trademark then you have no recourse.
Ownership Of trademark:
The benefit of a registered trademark compared to an unregistered trademark is the presumption that you own the trademark. If you did not register your trademark then you have to prove that your business was the first one using the trademark. When you sue someone for trademark infringement you must prove that you were using the trademark first and that the infringer’s use of the trademark causes confusion to consumers.
So those are just some differences between registered and unregistered trademarks. If you want to know a little bit more about trademarks, make sure you sign up for the Master Your Mark masterclass. It’s a 25 minute class all about trademark registration.
The post Difference between registered and unregistered trademarks appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
Do you ever wonder why the heck you have a terms and conditions page on your website? Do you know what to include in your terms and […] The post What to include in your terms and conditions appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
Do you ever wonder why the heck you have a terms and conditions page on your website? Do you know what to include in your terms and conditions? Well, let’s chat about that today. I think it’s so important when it comes to the legal part of your business to know why you need to do certain things and not just blindly doing it because someone said so.
Terms and conditions (or Terms of Service) is an agreement that you put on your website that your visitors know how to behave when they are visiting your site. By setting out these expectations, it is easier to defend your right as the owner not allowing them on your website. Expectations are so much easier if you have a list telling someone what to do. If a visitor does violate your terms and service, you can ban them from your website or even sue them if it’s detrimental. Now that you know what terms and conditions are for, let’s get into what to include in your terms and conditions.
If you sell services or goods, then you need to have a refund policy. Your refund policy needs to be consistent across the board. If your refund policy isn’t consistent, then any chargeback will likely err on the side of the purchaser. Do you want to lose thousand dollar chargebacks? I didn’t think so. By having a refund policy, the purchaser agrees to how you handle refunds, and it’s harder to argue against it. Also, I recommend that you add refund policies to the pages of your products/services. Your refund policy should include the following:
Not sure what intellectual property is? Intellectual property is a work or invention that is the result of creativity. Intellectual property includes copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. The content you produce on your website is copyrighted material. The name of your website and any courses you create are trademarks. The ultimate protection you get is by registering your intellectual property with the right federal agency. By including how people can use your intellectual property, it will keep visitors clear about whether or not they can share your content. Some people don’t want to share any of their blog content, but there are other websites like BuzzFeed who encourage their visitors to share.
Also, if you register your trademarks, you must defend them, or you’ll dilute your brand and will no longer have the same type of protection. If you aren’t protecting your intellectual property, then it’s hard for people to distinguish you from the millions out there. So if someone violates your terms regarding your intellectual property, you should include the consequences, such as deactivating their account or sue them for damages.
A limitation of liability clause limits the amount and types of damages one party can recover from the other party. You can’t put a financial cap on death or personal injury arising out of negligence or fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation. You must follow the state’s laws, and the limitation must be reasonable, clear, and conspicuous. If your limitation is confusing or contradictory, the court will construe it in favor of the client/customer.
Because your website is yours, you can stop people from coming to it, if they don’t abide by your terms and conditions. When you have a termination clause, you can tell your visitors the expectations you have from them when they visit your site. If a visitor can’t follow this, then you are allowed to terminate use. Termination is especially useful for those who have memberships and subscriptions. Most termination clauses contain two standard points:
1. If you violate the terms and conditions, the owner can revoke access;
And 2. The business is allowed to terminate for any reason at the discretion of the business.
Some things that businesses include for grounds for termination are stealing your intellectual property, making disparaging comments, and not paying the fee if it’s a membership or subscription service.
Bonus: Include a clickwrap so that your visitor has to expressly agree to your terms. I’m still trying to figure out how to add a clickwrap pop up without a ton of pop-ups on my page. But in short, a clickwrap is a pop up that says, “I agree.” It is a legally secure and easy way of creating binding agreements with your visitors online. There are a few legal cases that discuss clickwrap.
Now that you know, are you going to include these sections in your terms and conditions? Do you have terms and conditions on your website at all? If you don’t, you can grab it from my contract template shop. It takes about 15-20 minutes to fill in, and costs 1/2 the price of hiring an attorney.
This question gets asked to me time and time again. When should my small business register its trademark? And I’ll give you the lawyerly answer, which is, […] The post When Should Your Small Business Register its Trademark? appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
This question gets asked to me time and time again. When should my small business register its trademark? And I’ll give you the lawyerly answer, which is, it depends. I’ve recommended many of my clients to wait, but I’ve also recommended clients to start before their business even opens. If you aren’t sure if it’s time to register your trademark, use the following factors below, and see if any of them applies to you.
I have seen it so many times. Someone comes up with a name that they worked really hard to create, and soon enough, someone else starts using it. Now they’re trying to trademark it, and you have to battle over the name. If you had registered the trademark, you would already have the exclusive rights. Thus, the other company would have to choose another name. So if you are totally in love with a name and you CANNOT let it go, then do a search on Google and social media to make sure that name hasn’t already been taken. If it hasn’t been taken or you don’t think it’s been taken, then you can move forward to the next steps to register your trademark.
If you or your business has gone viral, then it’s time to move forward with the trademark process. As much as I deplore the family, the Kardashians do this ALL THE TIME. If anything they do goes viral, they try to cash in so that other people can’t use their trademarks for monetary gain. Registering your trademark takes about a year, so it’s definitely not something that happens overnight. But people are waiting on the sidelines to cash in. I covered a story on Instagram about Meg Thee Stallion trademarking “Hot Girl Summer,” but there was already someone who filed first. So now Meg Thee Stallion has to wait in line for her application to hit the trademark examiner’s desk. It sucks, but that’s how it goes in the trademark streets. Going viral happens in a snap second, so you want to be ready to file when it does.
Many people don’t want to invest in their trademarks when they first open their business. The most common factors are not sure about keeping the name or your small business is unable to afford to register your trademark. If you don’t even know if you are going to keep the same name, why invest if you’ll have to pay for the new trademark? But the more common reason is that most small businesses can’t afford to trademark when they first open up shop. However, if you are consistently turning a profit that is actually sustaining your business, then it’s time to start looking into the trademark process. This means that people are actually buying from you. When your business is sustaining itself, more than likely, more companies are going to want to work with you. These companies are using you for your brand reputation. When your small business registers its trademark, these companies are going to take you more seriously and are more willing to invest in any collaborations that you do.
I believe that everyone should start looking into trademarking sooner rather than later. Even if you don’t register immediately, you will have some knowledge of how the process works and the costs. At that point, you can build a plan around it.
If you are ready to start the trademark process, use the form below. Wilson Murphy Law will be in touch shortly after.
The post When Should Your Small Business Register its Trademark? appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
Your business has started growing and you’ve been hearing the buzz about trademarks all over entertainment blogs. You also know people who have had their trademarks stolen […] The post 5 Reasons You Need to Register Your Trademark appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
Your business has started growing and you’ve been hearing the buzz about trademarks all over entertainment blogs. You also know people who have had their trademarks stolen and it’s something that lingers in the back of your mind. Some days you think “That’s never going to happen to me”, and then you go in your Facebook Group and see that it happened to one of your cohorts. In this post, we are discussing why it is so important for your business to register for a trademark for your business name. Then, you don’t have to be one of the business owners that don’t have a clue when it happens to you.
This is THE #1 reason to register your trademark. Having ownership rights means that you actually own the name (in the case of word marks) in association with the product or service that you sell. Being the owner of a trademark allows you to enforce your trademark against any infringers (see more about this below). You also know that your business name is officially yours and that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s trademark. Building a brand on a name that belongs to someone is costly. It can result in shutting down your business, excess attorney fees to defend a lawsuit, and damages because the other party will take action if you get caught.
The registered symbol informs everyone that your trademark is registered and that you are ready to defend it against infringers. You are only allowed to use the registered symbol after the Trademark Office approves your trademark. If you use the registered symbol before approval then your application is in danger of denial because it is illegal to use that mark if your trademark is not registered.
Once you have registered your trademark, it is your duty and responsibility to defend it. If you are not defending your trademark, you are risking dilution. If your trademark becomes diluted, it does not have the same type of protection as it does when you first registered your trademark. In a nutshell, dilution occurs when someone uses a famous mark in a manner that blurs or tarnishes the mark. The easiest way to ensure that no is infringing on your mark is to monitor your trademarks (link).
When you decide to sue your infringers, the Federal Court presumes that you own the trademark, if registered. This means that you have less to prove in court. If you win your case, then you can be awarded the following:
Trademarks are one of the most valuable assets of your business. As you continue to grow, your trademark gains value. Once your brand is earning more and more recognition, other companies are going to notice you. You can license your trademark to another company to use for collaborations. Another way that you can use your trademark is to sell it. There are plenty of companies looking to acquire names that they love, but you have it. In the end, either of these strategies means money for your company.
Remember that filing your trademark in the USA only gives you exclusive rights in the 50 states of the USA. But you can file your trademark in other countries which many companies do for strategic reasons before they even file in the US, but that’s another story.
If you have your US trademark registration, you can use your US trademark registration as a basis for filing in another country. The Madrid Protocol allows you to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol. You can file a single application, called an “international application,” with the International Bureau of the World Property Intellectual Organization (WIPO), through the USPTO.
There you have it, the 5 reasons that you need to register your trademark. If you have a name that you want to trademark, but aren’t sure that it’s up to par, then snag the trademark freebie below. It’s a guide that helps you pick a name that’s not only memorable to your audience, but satisfies the Trademark Office.
Today’s post is a guest post from Oginga Carr, an organizational structure expert, and business consultant. I wanted to include a segment on Human Resources because many […] The post Human Resources: Department of One appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
Today’s post is a guest post from Oginga Carr, an organizational structure expert, and business consultant. I wanted to include a segment on Human Resources because many small business have to depend on one person as a Human Resources department. Oginga will explain just how to do that today.
I relate to that feeling because I was in corporate America as a manager, and the organization that I worked with changed to what they called a “small-business concept.” This meant that we had to start taking care of our own Human Resources responsibilities. My position changed from being a manager to the manager/ Human Resources department/payroll/janitor/babysitter/etc. So I understand what it is like to run your own business and be faced by the many compliance issues. If you don’t stay on top of it, legal compliance can be difficult and costly. I want to break down for you the 5 secrets to success as a Human Resources Department, Team of One.
One of the big tripping points for small- to medium-sized businesses is in classifying workers. For a worker to be a contractor, they have to be able to pass a three-prong test called the ‘ABC’ test.
The A portion of the test signifies control or direction of the work. If you tell a worker when to show up, when to take a break, how much you are going to pay them, etc., then they are probably an employee.
The B portion of the test refers to whether or not the service is outside your usual business or usual location of your business. For example, if you contract with a plumber to do some work in a bathroom before you paint, that would be an outside service.
The C portion test declares independent business or trade. Does your worker have their own workers’ compensation insurance or a waiver? Do they have their own business license? You would need to answer yes to those questions to be able to answer yes to portion C safely.
In general, a contractor must pass all three of these tests, and you must be able to prove it. Some states only require the worker to pass two of the three, but every state has requirements. If the worker does not pass the ABC test, then they are an employee, which means they must meet all of the standards and requirements of an employee. The fines for misclassification can be hefty.
Once you classify a worker as an employee, you then must classify what type of employee they are. You have two options: exempt or nonexempt. Nonexempt employees must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a seven-day workweek. Exempt employees do not have to be paid overtime but have to pass specific tests to be exempt. The two tests are the salary basis test and the duties test. They must both be passed for the employee to be exempt. You should indicate exempt or nonexempt in the job description. It is a great idea to review your employees’ status with an employment attorney or an HR consultant to make sure that your organization is abiding by these regulations.
Keeping the records of your employees can be confusing. For most businesses that do not have direct governmental oversight, a simple process will satisfy compliance. Keep personnel files seven years after termination. Examples of personnel information would be handbook acknowledgment pages, employee discipline, employee reviews, and general employee information. You also need to keep medical files six years after termination. Medical records would include doctor’s notes, reasonable accommodations, drug test results, workers’ compensation cases, and anything that speaks to your employees’ medical history.
Keep medical files at the ‘level of negligence.’ For paper files, this means in a locked room and in a locked file cabinet. These files must also be kept separate and distinct from personnel files. This means in a separate file drawer than the personnel file if you are keeping them as paper files. It is vital to remember that sensitive information must be kept in a locked room, in a locked file cabinet, or in a password-protected folder, if it is held electronically. Confidential information would be any information that includes identifying information on your employees, such as social security numbers or driver’s license numbers.
As someone with HR responsibilities, it is vital to know the handbook for your organization. You have to be able to coach and counsel employees when there is a handbook issue. You have to be able to recognize when a handbook issue is unfair to your employees and take steps to adjust the policy. Remember, you can make any policy you’d like in your organization as long as it is legal and applied evenly. This means that your policies can be as strict or as lenient as you would like; they just have to be consistent. When policies are consistent, the same type of employees have the same rules.
Many times, we can trace productivity issues in organizations to a lack of clarity in job descriptions. If you do not describe the employee’s job adequately, it doesn’t protect you legally or help your productivity. How can you expect your employee to do their job if they don’t fully know what their role is? You must be clear in your explanation of job responsibilities. A clear job description would include every recurring duty that your employee would have. This means your description could be 1, 2, maybe even 5 pages. This allows your employee to understand the expectations from them in the position. By being transparent in the job description, you can hire more employees that are capable of doing the job and know the expectations.
Follow these 5 simple steps, and you will start to really control the human resources department in your organization, and create a company that functions much better and produces more. At my company, we believe in productivity through the structure. The better organized we are, the more productive and profitable we can be!
Oginga Carr is an author, national seminar leader, organizational structure expert, and Business consultant. He brings 20 years of experience in Sales, Management, and Human Resources. His passion is in the dynamic of change; dealing with it, working through it, and preparing for it. Oginga focuses on productivity through structure and human capital development. He is the author of the book, Your Limitless Life.
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