Our trademark has been approved! It’s official! We now own the rights to the name: “Everything’s Made of Chocolate”. This now means that we can now publish and print our name with legal support. It also means we can officially used the “registered” symbol ( ® ). This means that our company is a “registered” trademark and is legally projected. The other symbol (™) means that the name is a unique name or phrase that I’m using in my business, however, and that’s a BIG however, it is not a registered mark, and therefore does not have the same legal protection as a “registered” mark has.
Our copyright application has been approved! Our logo design is now protected and ready to use. One more intellectual property thing checked off our list.
People ask me often why I don’t trademark my logo, and instead copyright it. Well it’s pretty simple, and great advise from my trademark attorney (yes there are attorneys that specialize is trademarks). If you trademark a graphic, you are trademarking that specific design/symbol. If you try to alter it in any way. Say, down the road, you want to do a holiday themed version of your company logo, or you decide it’s time for an update/redesign.
Once you alter the logo, it is no longer protected under the trademark that it was originally registered for. It was recommended to me that the best course of action is to trademark the name itself, and not the logo. So, I can then change the logo as often as I want and the registered trademark will remain protected.
Therefore a cheap and better alternative would be to copyright the logo design separately. Copyrights are intended for original pieces of art. That can include: Music, poetry, graphic design, logos, books etc. You get the idea.
Copyrights have a few advantages over trademarks that make them a very appealing alternative to filing a trademark. To start, copyrights are VERY cheap. Yes VERY cheap. They are about $35. No search is needed before filing, and you don’t need an attorney.
In fact, you don’t even need Legal Zoom either. I like Legal Zoom. It’s a great alternative to sometimes very pricing attorney fees, but when it comes to filing a copyright, the process is so simple and straight forward you’d be a fool to spend the additional cost to go through Legal Zoom. Legal Zoom wants almost 2x the cost of doing it yourself.
All you need to do is go to the U.S. copyright office website, create a login, follow the directions and upload your material. If you opt for the online application process you can get your certificate in as quickly as 90 days! If you file the copyright application through snail mail it could take (I believe) up to 6 months.
Obviously Copyrights are not the answer to everything. You cannot use them for anything other than creative works of art, but they work well for my scenario with my logo and company and should be considered when starting a new business.
Almost a year to the day that we filed the provisional patent application for my new invention, we just filed the non-provisional application. The difference is that this one is for the actual patent, as opposed to just a filing date. This should take anywhere from 18 to 24 months to complete. Kind of annoying it takes that long, but we don’t have much choice. Unless our invention is something that is related to the environment, we are out of luck. Just like the trademark process, the patent application also has to go through a “publishing” phase. This phase is where the public can see the application, and if they find the invention infringes on something they have done, contest it etc.
Our trademark “Everything’s Made of Chocolate” has officially been published. For this stage of a trademark application, the USPTO (United States Patent and Trade mark Office) requires that all applications for trademark be published in the TMOG (Trademark Official Gazette). The publication process allows for transparency, and anyone to review and even contend any new application for a trademark. Once an application has been published with no one contesting, it can now go on to be reviewed, and finally approved.
The first (major) step towards the birth of our new business just happened today. We filed the provisional patent application for my new invention. It is a new way to mold/design chocolate. Since now I have a filing date, I can officially talk about it. The invention is now officially “patent-pending”, which basically means that I have a filing date for my invention, and “pending” review will eventually have the patent. The method in question utilizes 3d print and scan technology to design and fabricate the molds used to add designs to chocolate. Traditional mold fabrication uses one of three different methods: vaccu-forming, metal stamping, or food-grade silicone. Vaccu-forming, and metal stamping require direct contact with the model in question, and the process generates heat and pressure. Neither one of those things ever bode well for the original object to be used for the design. The object must be separately fabricated, and must be made of a material that can withstand those extremes. The resulting lack of detail also leaves a lot to be desired with the final product. The other option is food-grade silicone. The resulting detail is high, but it requires 24 hours to cure, and an additional two hours to bake in an oven. Food-grade silicone is typically a “platinum” cure silicone which can be costly, and again you are required to have direct contact with the original object to be molded.
Our process involves absolutely no contact with the object to be molded. We can design and manipulate the design completely digitally and only the final result is a real world object. This allows us incredible amounts of flexibility, and design freedom virtually unheard of in the chocolate business. Finally, we can also turn any object into a virtual object using 3d scanning, thus we would be able to turn objects into chocolate that could never be done with the more traditional methods.
Our initial trademark search has been completed, and we just received the results. Our search included: Local, regional, and national databases (including internet domains) We are happy to say that our search results returned no positive matches, and our trademark attorney feels that the words “everything” and “chocolate” are considered “too common” of words that someone would be able to lay claim and contest our name. He advises that we can move forward with the application, and feels we have a good chance of getting our trademark (“mark” for short).
We officially registered our holding company. To be specific, we haven’t established “Everything’s Made of Chocolate” as a business in the eyes of the State and Federal government. We decided to wait on doing that as we felt it was a needless waste of money to establish EMOC until we were about ready to open our doors. So, in light of that, we needed somewhere to park our intellectual property, and also protect it, so we created the holding company, which will own the rights to our IP stuff.