I was an intellectual property lawyer for over 20 years until in June of 2015, I decided to give up my lawyer license to focus on building my business as Trademark Factory®. Trademark Factory® ( http://trademarkfactory.com ) is the only place in the world where licensed lawyers and registered trademark agents will help you register your trademarks with a free trademark search, for a single all-inclusive flat fee and a 100% money-back guarantee. The knowledge and experience in the field of intellectual property are still there, I just am not allowed to offer legal advice due to some archaic rules set up by Bar Associations and Law Societies. I hold the license of a registered trademark agent. My firm directly files trademarks in Canada and the U.S. and has associates around the world to file trademarks elsewhere. Through Clarity, I provide strategic advice as to which areas of intellectual property your business should look into right now, which areas can wait, and which areas you can safely ignore. I call this service Intellectual Property Strategy Review. P.S. I recently changed my Clarity login from MINCOVLAW. I hope this field gets indexed by Clarity search.
In common law countries (U.S., Canada, UK, and a few others), you will have limited protection to your unregistered trademark. The protection will be limited to the geographical area where your trademark has become known by a sufficient number of people who have come to associate your trademark with your products and services. You will have no protection outside of that geographical area, and anyone can legally rip your brand off.
Most countries in the world provide NO protection to unregistered trademarks, so unless you have filed a trademark application in those countries, your brand is unprotected.
Check out the cartoon we published on this topic at http://trademarkfactory.ca/cartoon/unregistered_vs_registered_trademarks
And feel free to schedule a call if you have further questions.
Founder and CEO of Trademark Factory® (http://trademarkfactory.com), the only firm in the world where licensed lawyers and trademark agents help entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world trademark their brands with a free comprehensive trademark search, for a single all-inclusive flat fee, with a 100% money-back guarantee.
You are approaching this bass-ackwards. Incorporation is never the goal or a milestone. It's a means to a certain end.
You should not be asking yourself, "are we big enough to incorporate?" Your question should be "What am I trying to accomplish and is incorporation going to help me get there?"
Is your goal to look cool because you have a registered company? Do you have investors knocking on your door hoping to buy shares in your business? Are you trying to shield yourself from some liability that is inherent in your product? Are you looking for a better tax structure for your business?
Until you know WHY you are even contemplating incorporation, you can't answer when is the right time to do it.
This is all very fact specific. Feel free to request a call if you want to discuss
Here's the simple rule: you want to be the first person on the planet to realize that there is value to your brand, at which point you should trademark it.
A trademark is like a gun: much better to have one and never need it than to need it and not have it.
To determine if you should trademark your brand, you should visualize that you have built a successful business around your brand. Everything is just the way you hoped it would be. And then ask yourself 3 questions:
1. Would it be worth fighting in court if you were to receive a demand letter from a lawyer representing someone else and claiming that THEY own your brand, and that you should immediately rebrand?
2. Would it be worth fighting in court if you were to see your competitor use YOUR brand to advertise THEIR stuff?
3. Would there be any value to your brand if you were to sell, license or franchise out your business?
If your answer to ANY of these 3 questions is YES, trademark your brands ASAP. It will be the cheapest brand insurance you have ever had.
This is always a question of who wants whom more. I've seen deals where the percentage was in single digits. The thing is, I've seen both deals where a LICENSEE ended up with a single digit percentage and deals where a LICENSOR ended up with a single digit percentage.
It all comes down to your ability to convince the other side that you are bringing in so much to the table that the other side should get a smaller piece of the pie.
Essentially, this depends on these factors:
- whether you are well-known in the industry;
- whether the other side is well-known in the industry;
- the level of uniqueness of your product (if you've developed another minor variation of a product that already exists on the market, chances are the distributor will want a larger piece of the pie);
- your level of desperation (it's one thing when you partner up with someone else who will commercialize your product simply because you can make more money by investing your time building new stuff; it's another thing when you have no realistic way to commercialize the product yourself, and if you don't find someone who can do it for you quickly, you'll starve...)
MOST IMPORTANTLY, no matter what number you agree to, make sure you read the contract extremely carefully. Contracts can create rights and contracts can destroy rights. Contracts are more powerful than any rights vested in you by IP laws.
So, the bottom line is:
- Know EXACTLY what you are trying to get out of your contract;
- Get your contract reviewed by an experienced lawyer, but make sure you tell the lawyer what it is you're trying to get out of the contract.
Lawyers are not going to create "the right deal" for you. We're not going to tell you whether you should be getting 9% or 90% of the revenue. We're going to make sure that you understand whether the contract you are about to sign reflects what you think the terms of the contract are.
You're welcome to schedule a call if you would like to discuss this in more detail.