Why a federal trademark is your real competitive advantage.


Me and the McDonald’s people, we’ve got this little misunderstanding. See, they’re “McDonald’s”. I’m “McDowell’s”. They’ve got the golden arches. Mine are the golden arcs. They’ve got the Big Mac. I’ve got
the Big Mick. We both got two all beef patties, sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions. But they use a sesame seed bun. My buns have no seeds.

Can you guess what movie this is from and why it’s important to this post? Keep reading…

Most often, when it’s time to talk about why it’s important to own the federal trademark for your brand name one of three things happen…

  • folks get quiet
  • folks think that it doesn’t apply to them + have this mistaken notion that they are invincible from getting brand-jacked
  • folks ignore me altogether + then come to me when ish gets real = something happens

I am not being dramatic.

I tested this theory myself. Sneaky aren’t I?!?

Last weekend, I asked this question on my Facebook page:

Quick question: As small business owners, do you think it is important to own the federal trademark for your brand name so you can have exclusive ownership of it?

And guess what ya’ll said??

Ya’ll didn’t say sh#@.

Not, “I want to learn more about federal trademarks.” Not, “I know it’s important but I don’t really understand why.” Not, “Yes, I’ve been considering whether I should trademark my brand name but I have to save money first.”

Not one word.

And, don’t tell me you were too busy. Because, you liked the inspirational messages. You shared the photos. You commented on posts. And, you probably posed for a selfie or two.

You didn’t say sh#@ because you didn’t want too.

Because on that day, at that time, and heck, throughout the rest of the week…

Thinking about some boring trademark was not a priority for you.

Dear peeps. I am here to tell you on this day that you need to get it together. I strongly believe that small businesses don’t have to act like small businesses. We need big business mentality. And, thinking like a big biz means focusing on the stuff that might not be all that exciting.

Like… protecting your brand with a federal trademark.

mcdowell-collage-1122x561 business lawyer

This image recaps a brand + trademark infringement issue in one of my fave movies “Coming to America.” Remember, McDowell’s? McDowell’s was a blatant knock off of McDonald’s. Owner Cleo McDowell even rationalized the nonsense  (yep, that’s the quote you read at the beginning of this post).

This would never happen in real life. Right? Wrong.

It could absolutely happen to the business without their ducks in a row. Federal trademark registration  is important for you because your brand is the first thing separating you from everyone else. Before they experience your product or service — they connect with your brand. It’s one of your most valuable business assets.

A federal trademark is your real competitive advantage because it’ll give you exclusive rights to the brand name that separates you from everyone else.

Plus, you’ll get to avoid the McDowell v. McDonalds situation…

You might not be ready for a federal trademark registration tomorrow but there are steps to take from the moment you create your brand to prepare for long-term protection of that brand. One of the very first things you should do is make sure you’ve got a strong brand name that you can legally own as a federal trademark. The Top 4 Trademark Tips for Creating a New Brand and The Biggest Mistake You’re Making When Naming Your Product or Service will help you get started with selecting a name for a successful federal trademark registration.

8 thoughts on “Why a federal trademark is your real competitive advantage.

  • Julie M Holloway on September 12th, 2013

    McDowells . . . smh.

    This is good, thank you for the info!

    • mylifestylezen on September 17th, 2013

      Julie, thank YOU for checking out the post.

  • Katina Leaks on September 13th, 2013

    I do need to learn more about trademarks how to protect my brand or else I will continually have to redefine who/what my business is.

    • mylifestylezen on September 17th, 2013

      Yes ma’am, I think evolving is great, but starting from scratch? Booo. Thanks for joining the convo.

  • Henna on September 13th, 2013

    great post. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series! there are so many things that we don’t think of until it’s TOO LATE. Now is the time.

    • mylifestylezen on September 17th, 2013

      Henna, thanks! The next one in the series is up now. When you are running your own biz there is so MUCH to think about. Cheers to not letting important stuff slip through the cracks!

  • Briana Mccarthy on September 14th, 2013

    First of all, let me say that this post is both informative and hilariously written. LOL. I definitely need to get my blog and other ventures trademarked. I recently had one business swiped from under me. Lesson learn…the hard way.

    • mylifestylezen on September 17th, 2013

      Briana, thanks so much! Oh no…I hate to hear when that happens after the fact. Shoot me an email at pperkins@thelzgroup.com if you want to set up a consultation to your current ventures.

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