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Ask Dave

Getting The Trademark

What is involved with getting a trademark, and what is the cost?

QUESTION: Carrie Lou wants to know the best way to trademark, and the costs associated with that. Dave details both to her.

ANSWER: Doing a registered trademark usually runs about $3,500 in legal fees and can take around six months to trademark something federally. Otherwise, it doesn’t do much good. With the name EntreLeadership, the first thing I did was tie up every possible misspelling and URL address as part of the process. That’s not technically trademark registration, but you have to protect yourself by doing that before you launch it into the public. You also develop a trademark logo. There is a federal department that you submit it to, and you provide copies of the trademark and how you’re going to be using it, why you are trademarking it, and that sort of thing.

The biggest problem is they have to do a search to make sure there is no competition or that it’s not already being used by someone. Once you get the trademark, you have to protect it against all comers after that.

Financial Peace University is trademarked federally. If someone starts using it and we know about it, we have to ask them to shut it down whether we don’t mind or not. We can’t allow them to use that because if we allow them to use it, it degrades our legal standing in it. Usually, it’s someone who is so enthusiastic about us that they didn’t know they were trademark infringing and just thought they were helping other people.

It’s a pretty simple thing to do, it just takes a little time and money. If you have a unique name or process that goes with that name, I’d try to go to that expense early. You can get something trademarked at the state level for a few dollars, but it really doesn’t afford you much protection. You need to go to the national level.