Friday, October 07, 2005

Filing for a Trademark Online

Did you know that you can file for a trademarkall by yourself, online? Yup, just go right here:

The cost can be as low as $275.00, if you use their quick application and have everything you need at hand.

Before you try to do it on the fly, start here and read the specs for what you have to have at hand before you file the application.

You'll need to know what International Class ofGoods or Services your product or service to select to register your product. Look it up here:

Interestingly enough, while filling in the application online, I found that when you get to that question, their system let's you do a search and will inster your choices. There are some selections that let you add descriptive terminology. Let's see if the Trademark officeattorneys accept my additions or insist onchanging them.

In the past, I've filed by myself, using their regular, paper applications.
The last two applications I filed several years ago were held up due to some graphical representation issues. And I did something really, really, really stupid.

Instead of going to a graphic artist, and just paying them to produce the graphic the way the Trademark office wanted, I was so frustrated and annoyed, that I hired an attorney, on the recommendation of a friend, to finish up the application.

Rather than spending, perhaps, $50 or $100 on the designer, I ended up spending a couple of thousand dollars on this attorney, who just dragged out the whole process because he never even called the Trademark Office attorney to ask specifically what they needed in order to finalize the application. (I always did that and those guys were generally quite helpful.) Instead, this professional just kept wasting time on letter after letter, without really addressing the TO's specific requests. This PRO even charged me $300 just to receive the acceptance and certificate and mail it to me. (At least until I called him and questioned that ridiculous charge.)

All this stupidity arises from one of the big frustrations of my life, one of the things that get me bogged down every time - the fact that I don't have the time to learn any of the various graphic or design programs. Whenever it comes to graphics, since I don't have to skills, I've always wasted a day or more putzing around with the wrong tools or just messing up, trying to figure out the right tools. (OK, OK, I know, read the instructions!)

Of course, as with the trademark application, that also leaves me severely limited in what I can do by myself when I am working on an e-book or CD, or trying to create the graphics to go with them.

Then, a couple of years ago, I stumbled on the LogoCreator software by Marc Sylvester at LaughingBird (don't you love the name?). I've been using that to do quickie things when I need something NOW.

Like, this week, when I was filing a trademark application online - I hit a road block. I needed a graphic of a specific size, density and format that I didn't have. (Have you ever noticed, every time you need a graphic for something, the one you have is always the wrong size or something?)

The Trademark Office requires the SPECIMEN to be in JPG format:
"The image must be in .jpg format; scanned at no less than 300 dots per inch and no more than 350 dots per inch, with a length of no less than 250 pixels and no more than 944 pixels, and a width of no less than 250 pixels and no more than 944 pixels. All lines must be clean, sharp and solid, must not be fine or crowded, and must produce a high quality image when copied."

So, here's my other frustration. My designers give me a graphic, but while it might be good for the original purpose intended, it doesn't fit the use I have for it right now - like that application.

Well, using LogoCreator, I've been able to make the revisions to size, detail, format. I was able to take one of my exisiting graphics which was inGIF format. I loaded it into the LogoCreator and converter it to a higher density JPG with theright dimensions to fit into US Patent Office's system. As a result, I was able to file the application online, on the spot, without having to wait a day or two...or forever, to get the graphicI needed.

Coincidentally, this week, I got a note from Marc about a new tool he's just created. He calls it an eCover Creator, but I read the details. You can create a lot more than just gorgeous covers for e-books and discs. It will also let you use it for logos and other graphics you need on yourwebsite.

And this time, if the Trademark Office needs graphics changes (because, oops, I sent the graphic in color and I think it should have been black and white), I can handle it myself!

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