BLOG*March 23, 2012

When I registered my trademark for Artist As Brand® last year I had no idea I would be challenged on the mark. But there was a fellow who had a company called The Brand Artist who felt my company name infringed on his business even though we did very different things. My lawyer had a conversation with the owner and that pretty much ended the confrontation. Which brings up the issue of why you trademark, and why you will want a lawyer to help you do it.

You trademark the name of something that you feel has unique, solid worth and will most likely have some longevity attached to it. It really is that simple. You trademark these facets of your creative properties because you want to protect the investment you have made in this product. Having the law behind you in the case someone decides to lift your name for their own purposes can have some weight when push comes to shove. I always felt the name, Artist As Brand® was special, even if it is controversial in some fine art circles. It is amazing how fast a catchy name or slogan can create “brand” awareness. I have seen this work with the power in those three words.

Hiring an ethical, reasonably priced lawyer to help you through this process is very important. The whole process is going to cost $2000-$3000. That is a lot of money you may say. It is and it isn’t. If you are serious about protecting your sweet idea for the life of your business then it is very much worth it. Finding a lawyer you can trust is vital. Here is one of the best I know- Mathew Saunders of Saunders & Silverstein LLP. msaunders(at)  Tell him I sent you.

There many factors that come into play when the United States Patent and Trademark Office decides whether your mark is valid or not. I will not go into these details but suffice to say, there is a legal jargon attached to the process which can be confusing unless you have someone like a lawyer who can make sense of it all.

One of the most important reasons for doing this right is that trademarks have taken on new importance in the internet era. The internet is ripe for intellectual property abuse, but big corporations like to push their weight around too. Check out this story in the New Yorks Times about the controversy surrounding the name, Pretzel Crisps. It’s a crazy world.

It is good to have some understanding of how this legal world turns and know your grand ideas can be protected for the long run.