What is Intellectual Property and How To Protect It with Devin Miller
I would say really intellectual property approach applies to almost all businesses across the board in the sense that backing up what intellectual property in its very core is, in its essence is protecting things that maybe aren’t physical or tangible, but that you put a lot of blood sweat and tears into developing.
I just love startups! I established my own first startup while earning my Law & MBA degrees. Since then, I have set up several more startups and enjoyed every minute of it. I have a real passion for a new business model–the prospect of a business startup always makes my heart race!
I’m an entrepreneur who is also a patent and trademark attorney. I’ve obtained several degrees including a Law degree (JD) and a Masters in Business Administration. I even have degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mandarin Chinese.
While working for a large law firm helping Fortune 100 clients like Amazon.com, Intel, Redhat, and Ford with their intellectual property, I quickly realized that there weren’t many good intellectual property legal resources out there for start-ups and small businesses. As an entrepreneur myself, I wanted to help other small business owners learn about patents, trademarks, and copyrights, so they can build value into their businesses. And protect their assets.
In addition to founding and running my own patent and trademark law firm, Miller IP Law, I am the co-founder of several startups, including a multi-million dollar startup for wearable glucose monitoring. I also run a product development company that helps startups and small businesses with developing their ideas and products.
I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for ten years and we live in Utah with our four children. I focus on being home each evening with my family, helping to find a balance between an exciting career and a well-rounded family life.
Full Transcript Below
What is Intellectual Property and How To Protect It with Devin Miller
Sun, 9/5 9:53PM • 39:16
trademark, business, file, patents, goods, protect, people, copyright, rights, brand, intellectual property, work, sell, geographic location, developing, detroit, nike, create, dave ramsey, miller
Devin, Roy Barker
Roy Barker 00:09
Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host, Roy. Of course, we are the show that brings a lot of different guests. From a wide variety of disciplines to talk to us about things that we may not have even thought about. But also, you know, help us solve some problems that we may be having in our business today. no different. We have Devin Miller, he has co-founded several, several, seven and eight figure businesses. He is also a tray patent and trademark attorney at his own firm Miller IP law. So, Devin, welcome to the show. Appreciate you being here.
Well, thank you for having me on. definitely excited to be here and chat with you for a bit.
Roy Barker 00:53
Yeah, yeah, no, you know, I think I understand a little bit probably enough to be dangerous. So I think the best place to do, is let’s just start with. First off, let’s start at the beginning about you know, kind of how you found yourself here in this space. And then we’ll get into. You know, exactly what is IP law? What, a lot of things that that encompasses that, you know. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a big corporation. Or you don’t have to make a some kind of a secret gizmo gadget that you need to protect it. I mean, this can apply to a lot of, you know, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, just in normal lines of business. So anyway, how do you find yourself in this space? First off?
Yeah, and that’s kind of, I would say, kind of a bit of a two part question. In the sense that on the the firsthand, you know, as far as how I got into intellectual property. And then how I started my own firm. So really, when I got into intellectual property, it was kind of out of the crossroads that I started it. As I was wrapping up it in my undergraduate with electrical engineering. And as I was wrapping up electrical engineering, I was looking kind of saying, well, I like being an engineer. I don’t know if I want to be. I like engineering, but I don’t know if I want to be an engineer for the rest of my life. Right. And so I kind of looked at and said, Well, you know, what do I want to do.
So I was kind of, you know. I had an entrepreneurial side line business, and startups and those type of things. And then I also had a desire to enjoy the lawn. And especially intellectual property, so I kind of looked and said, You know, I can want. On the one hand, I will continue to pursue startups and small businesses on the legal side. I said if I go and do intellectual property search, then I can work with a lot of different businesses. You see, work on a lot of projects, a lot of cool technology, and utilize my engineering background. Without having to be stuck on the same project for months or years at a time. And being a smaller cog in a much bigger wheel. So started out went and got the MBA as well as the law degree.
And then once I graduated, when I was looking to get some experience. I went and worked with some larger law firms, some of the top 100 law firms in the nation. I worked with clients like Amazon, and Intel, and Red Hat, and Ford and others. And kind of while I was working, I’ve got some great experience with them. But I was looking more for as I was working with them. I always found that I loved and enjoyed working with the startups and the small businesses more . Not that they had as much name recognition or people do who we were working for. But they always had, there are a lot more excited. You got to play a lot bigger part in what they were doing and how they’re doing it. Kind of what it was all involved strategizes from work with them and everything else.
And so kind of with that. I got to the point that I was saying that it would be great to start or focus on this full time. And so with that, kind of moved my way along to starting my own firm, which is Miller IP Law . I started about three years ago, really with a focus of doing startups and small businesses.
Roy Barker 03:53
Oh, cool. Cool. Yeah so now, you know. Explain what IP Law is. Because a lot of times, you know, people, especially smaller businesses think that’s just for the big people. Or, you know, protecting some of their rights. But actually, I mean, this can apply across the board to a lot of different businesses, sizes, different industries.
Yeah, I would say really intellectual property approach applies to, you know, almost all businesses across the board. In the sense that what backing up what intellectual property in its very core is in its essence. It’s protecting things that maybe aren’t physical or tangible. But that you put a lot of blood sweat and tears into developing. So, that can be, you know, if you’re looking at developing the next best widget. Or iPhone or device or whatever. It might be something that has functionality, that would be a patent.
And so you’re saying, Hey, I’m gonna put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears. A lot of development investment dollars or time to develop this next great product. But now, you know, it’s kind of like the magic trick. Once you see how it’s done. Once it’s developed, you know, how the magic should be done. It’s easy to replicate, and so you’re same kind of cotton. This where I can take a lot of time and effort and money to develop. But then once I do it, I’m kind of stuck. Similarly kind of with the trademark, which is more on the branding side, and you’re gonna say, okay, you know.
I’m going to take all this time, money and effort to do marketing and sales and branding us and building reputation. Doing good customer service, and then somebody can come along and just copy what I did, they could copy my brand, and then I’m stuck because now I put in all this time, money and effort to invest, and they’re just writing on our coattails.
And then same thing with copyrights. Copyrights, you’re more on the creative side, you know, those can be kind of books or movies or television shows. Or paintings or sculptures or a lot of different things along that lines. And again, you’re gonna put in all this time to read. Or write the next best Harry Potter, Tom Clancy, or Lord of the Rings. Whatever your choice. And then somebody can come along, say, okay, and I’m going to copy this. And I’m going to print it myself. So really, a lot of times, whether you’re a big business or small business. If you’re developing whether it’s a brand or an invention.
Or you know, something creative, you’re saying, How do I capture this? How do I protect it? And then also, how do I monetize it? How do I make it an asset that’s investable that I can actually license and sell and otherwise utilize? And so that’s where intellectual property comes in. Okay.
Roy Barker 06:09
Yeah. Speaking of the licensing. I guess, you know, a lot of times we, and this might frame this as a question. But you see these, like a big sports team. And then the local donut shop will say, you know, the donut shop of the sports team. And so I guess that’s, you know, some kind of initial sponsor, or whatever. Yeah, so that’s. I guess that’s an example of I’ve built my brand and I can license that to others. To use to monetize that. Is that correct?
Yeah, absolutely that would be a great example of, Okay, you go and build in this. In the case of a sports team, you’re saying, Okay, everybody knows whether I could have played for the bulls. Or, you know, Utah Jazz with Karl Malone and john Stockton. But the, you know, the Jazz or the Bulls are that build this brand? Yeah, they put out in marketing. They build up the, you know, the team and goals. And they don’t want everybody to simply ride their coattails say, and we’re affiliated with the jazz, or we’re affiliated with the bulls or whoever it is, right. And yet, you know, now they put all this time to build a brand, and they can monetize on it.
So that’s where trademarks come in. So that now those teams can say, hey, if you want to use our brand. If you want to leverage, what would the reputation we bill? Yeah, pay your take license from us?
Roy Barker 07:27
Yeah. So when do you make that decision in business? I mean, I’m the kind of hang my shingle out and, you know, start a business? And as you’re working on your branding, your website, your name and all that. Is that the best time to start? Or is it? Do you need to get down the road? And actually, you know, have some income and make sure it’s going to be a viable business? Or how does that work? Or what is the best path to take there?
Yeah, and that one’s, that one’s so hard because it’s specific, and it has a lot of variables. But I’ll give you a couple ideas or kind of thoughts on that. Okay. The problem that most startups and small businesses have is they always have more money to spend. Or more things to spend money on than money to spend. In the sense of, there’s never enough room in the budget to pay for everything that they want to do. And so they’re always caught saying, okay, there’s a lot of things that we should do now. Using blushing, which, you know, where should we invest our money? Or what’s going to be the greatest return?
So, when you look at that. Really it’s going to be on the side of where do you see your core value of your business? So you know, what is going to be the thing that you’re going to build your business around? And how quickly do you want to protect it? So, as an example. If you’re doing r&d and patents, let’s we’ll kind of walk through each of the three areas. If you say patents, how quickly do I need to get going? And you know, when should I think about that? Well, certainly, if you have the budget. And you’re able to get going with all of it is earlier is a better. You know, getting started on it more quickly is going to be better now. But if you were to say, Okay, now, when is the drop dead time?
Or when should I be considering, if I don’t have the budget. Or if I’m waiting, A couple things to think about. One is patents are going to be a person file system. Meaning whoever files on the invention first is going to be the presumptive and vendor. And they get the date of invention, they get the rights to it. And so as you’re looking at that, really you’re gonna say, okay, am I in a competitive landscape? Is there a lot of people creating a lot of things in this area? is there other people that are trying to create the same thing I am? And if so, you’re going to want to move that timeline up. Such that you’re going to file before they do.
And so, if you’re looking at your budget saying okay. If it’s less competitive. Or you know, it’s not as one that you’re worried about someone else gradient are coming along with it. You can hold off on it a bit. The other thing you’re going to look at with patents is you’re going to say. There’s a rule this, you know, this public disclosures are offers for sale. And that means, anytime you put at the front of the first time you put it out in the public. You have a year from which you can file on a patent. If beyond that year deadline, you lose the right to be able to do it. And so with that, you know, you’re going to think about. O kay, if I’m, if I’m putting something out in the public eye better, or one, see how competitive it is.
See if I’m worried about somebody piling on and ripping it off during that two year time frame. And if not, you at least want to file on a year or within that year trademarks. If you jump over to trademarks, and you’re gonna look and say, okay, that’s on the branding side, there isn’t necessarily a one year time clock. But what happens is sitting to file, a trademark first is going to be the present of right donor to it, meaning they’re going to be the ones that get to have that brand and have that are locked in. And so a lot of times, what you’ll get is, you’ll still want to do that earlier, as early as possible.
From the sense if you’re going to be investing a lot of time, money and effort, what you don’t want to have happen is one of two things. One is you don’t want to come out or have somebody come along, say Oh, they built a great brand, they file on a first and now you’ve severe severely limited your rights. Because now you’re the first to file and you have issues as to whether or not you can use your brand and how much you can use your brand.
The other thing is, if you don’t do your homework and you choose a brand that somebody else is going to be already using already on the marketplace. Now you’re looking at saying, Okay, I have to I’m now infringing on someone else’s trademark, and I’m going to have to rebrand or I’m going to have to go get a license from them or acquire them. And it creates a lot of those issues to where now you’re going to if you’ve done it earlier, you done your homework, you checked into it, you could have chosen a different brand, before you put all that time, money and effort into developing it.
So yeah, that’s kind of trademarks. Copyrights are the ones that are the least are the least urgent in the sense that once you create a copyright, once you make, you know, once you actually create the write the book, you take the video, you make the culture, you have some inherent rights to it. So if you’re going to hold off, one of them, you could hold off a bit on would be on the copyrights. But if you’re ever going to enforce it, you’re ever going to go do anything with it, you’re going to want to be able to show the air show that you have the copyright in order to be able to get some of the damages.
The other thing that you’ll think about is if you don’t copyrights are nice in the sense that they define when you created that, when you wrote that book. At least by this date, I wrote my book, or I did my video or did the painting. If you don’t, then you have to make sure you provide evidence or you have good support as to when you created it. So kind of all of them in the round. And I know that was a longer answer. No, no, no, no, that’s in his earlier the better, because they all have different reasons why.
Roy Barker 12:21
Yeah, and not just jot some notes. So the one I kind of wanted to carry on for a moment is a trademark that something interesting thought that came up was that, you know, since the advent of the Internet, and of course, I’m old enough to remember before the internet, you know, the world has gotten to be a much smaller place. And so, you know, every town, they may have had their, you know, joe the plumber, or you know, Pete’s restaurant, it really wasn’t a big deal. But now with the Internet has closed this down. Are there like geographical considerations? Or if you rush out and you know, trademark Joe’s pizza place? Do you have that nationwide? Or how does that work?
Yeah, so there’s a couple things in there. So, if you if you didn’t, let’s say nobody filed a federal Registered Trademark, or let’s say, let me back up. Let’s say I was starting Joe’s pizza place and you know, probably naming Joe’s pizza place had some issues with that, and we could get into that later. But that’s remarkable. Whether or not it actually is using your name and market creates a different set of problems. But we’ll say Joe’s pizza place and I’ve been doing it for five years and I never filed on a trademark on it. You know, I just really just been serving the local community. I just been you know, serving you know, the area that people around here, and I never followed on a trademark.
But now let’s say five years down the road, as I’m catching on, people are wanting to franchise or wanting to open up Joe’s pizza place and other locations. Well if during that time, I was the first user and I let’s say it was in Detroit and all this makeup, you know location but let’s say I started Joe’s pizza place in Detroit for five years. I was the first one to start using it I was using in Detroit. You know during that five years I started using it someone else went filed a trademark on it in federally, so they filed it with the government. And now they have a trademark for everything outside of Detroit basically meaning, although I started using it first.
So I do have some inherent rights. As soon as somebody else files for a federal trademark outside of my geographic location outside of Detroit or where I’m selling my goods or services. I lost all my rights so I can continue to do it in Detroit, but it presents a problem now if I want to go franchise or expand or do anything else because I don’t have the rights to anything outside of that. Okay, now two people started using Joe’s pizza place at two different locations and they were both doing it that they would both have their rights, so their geographic location, okay, so if I was doing it you were doing in San Francisco, I was doing it in Detroit. We both served our local audience.
We’re probably we both have the rights to continue to do that. Now your point is is with the end It’s making everything so much smaller. And so now it’s hard to define where have you been serving your customers? What is your geographic location? You know, who if do I own it? Do you own it? And who and it gets a lot more messy? Yeah. And that’s why the best course of action is to register a federally such that you avoid having to define what is your geographic location? Where can you do when can you expand when you cannot expand? Because it introduces a lot more complication?
Roy Barker 15:25
Yeah, and with the, you know, with the world of franchising, it’s like you never know. Some, you know, the, even though it’s a little corner restaurant today, some of these places have just blown up, and, you know, your subways and your quiznos and turn out to be nationwide. So definitely something to consider, especially if you’re thinking, you know, if you might have a growth strategy in mind. Then the other thing that came up, I know, I agree. And I said, that’s why. Okay, no, no, no, no, you’re fine. I’m sorry, a little bit of delay there. Go ahead.
No, that thing, as you say is the other time a lot of times, you’ll get people that, hey, they just really want to be a local community, you know, local store local business, and they just want to serve that. But as they’re looking to retire, or they’re looking to sell it, and somebody else wants to expand on it, or they want to take it over, or it passes to the next generation, those things can change. And so why you’re saying no, I never intend to be anything beyond where our current location, when you start to have other people get involved or franchising, or it catches on law more popular than anticipated.
If you don’t get that trademark, then it handicaps what your options are going forward. And now you may be stuck in that location, even though you have a lot more opportunity, and then you’re losing out on the value because now you can franchise now you can sell your business are not going to pay for it as much. And it creates a different set of issues.
Roy Barker 16:46
Yeah. So the other part of a name, I think, is maybe a tagline. Like, you know, we we can put Joe’s pizza plates aside, but maybe he’s got the best. I don’t know what they say but you know, the best Italian meatball in town or something. And so they want to make sure nobody else is using that it is what is that technically called service mark.
So I mean, they’re really going to be at both enter trademarks mean, if you wanted to get you know, if you were to tell someone a trademark, whether it’s for certain goods or services, they’re going to recognize it Now technically, yeah, trademark would be more for goods and service mark is for the services that you’re providing. So how services are gonna, you know, if you’re a plumber, you’re an attorney or a doctor providing a service versus a trademark is for goods, but really, they’re largely used interchangeably and they’re going to have about the same definition. Okay.
Roy Barker 17:41
And maybe I miss misstated that not as good of a surgeon but I guess the tagline isn’t there a way to to I will take night do it you know, if I was to go out and start saying you know, advertising say just do it or something? I’m sure they would, you know, they’d be all over me. But what is that type of protection?
Yeah, so you’re right. I wouldn’t recommend going on using the tagline Just do it. But if you’re that as an example, a couple a couple things on that you know, when you’re looking at a trademark when you file a trademark, your doing it, you have to define the goods and services you’re going to want to use with it. In other words, you know, Nike is going to use Nike for sportswear goods or sportswear you know, athletic wear apparel, those type of things. And that’s where they have their trademark for they don’t have a trademark for Nike automotive In fact, just to prove a point, you know, I want one point I went actually filed for Nike automotive just to show that you could actually get a trademark on it because Nike automotive is for automobiles.
Nike’s not doing anything automotive or automotive. I actually own the trademark for Nike automotive and if you ever want to take a look, if you ever look go and Google Nike automotive go Nike automotive comm goes to our website and I have my car I restored in high school offered for sale. So you can actually go if you want to go spend $100,000, which is an iPod is Nike auto. So if you want an Easter egg, go to Nike autos calm, but it goes right to there and tells you a little bit about that. But really, when you’re looking at coverage is going to be typically for the class of goods or services what you’re using the mark.
So if you look at it, a lot of different trademarks, they can coexist. You have different marks that are you know, different trademarks are the same or similar, because they’re using it for different goods and services. So you’re typically limited to the same or similar goods and services. And really the standard they use is what’s called confusingly similar meaning Hey, if I were to go out and use this mark, and you were to go use that mark, are customers going to be able to dis differentiate us because Nike automotive and Nike, you know, athletic wear are so different. They’re gonna think it’s the same people selling it, or they’re going to be close enough.
They’re saying, I don’t know if you’re selling it or they’re selling it or who’s selling it because they look the same. They sound the same and they’re about the same product. So yeah, that’s kind of where you look at the scope. Of how much coverage you get, you get it, you can do it for a word, you can do it for a logo, you can do it for a catchphrase, you can do it for design, but then it’s how broad it is, is based on whether it’s confusingly similar to other people and what categories you file it for.
Roy Barker 20:14
Interesting. Okay, well, thanks for that explanation. So let’s talk about copyright for a moment. Because, you know, with all the stuff on the internet, everybody’s putting videos up, we think, coming through COVID, we’ve had a lot of internet learning. And so everybody’s developing classes packages, yeah, you know, who knows a myriad of goods? So, you know, kind of what is the litmus test for? For that? When do I want not necessarily timeframe, but what do I want to protect? Or what can I protect?
Yeah, and those are kind of two different questions. What can you protect versus what you may want to protect, I mean, anything that’s on the copyrights, anything, that’s a creative work you can protect. And so again, that can be every photo that you take, you can protect, you can protect every song that you write every book that you write every video that you take, everywhere, every sculpture, everything, you can protect all of that. And so as much as you want to protect as much as you see that it has value, it allows really, if you think anything creative, and what they basically have the definition of is you have to be able to put it in a tangible medium, you have to write it down, it has to be fixed somewhere.
So it can be a painting. It can be on the you know, it can be on a canvas a sculpture, you have to actually sculpt it, you can’t just keep it in your head and say, Well, I thought about that sculpture five years ago, or I thought about writing that book. So I get a copyright now you have to actually put it somehow so that it’s actually tangible, or that you’ve done it. But beyond that you can really just about anything that’s on the creative side, you can is a pretty broad spectrum as far as what you can protect. Now, the question is also, you know, and you, as you mentioned, should what should you protect? And or, you know, what should you go out and enforce or sue people, you know, for, right?
And that’s always a balance of, you know, what is there? Is there enough value in what it is, you know, you can have 20 pictures on your website and say, Yeah, they’re all original to us. And if somebody goes and copies, it, really is not going to harm our business, there’s not a lot of value. And so do I want to go and be focused my business go and sue them during credo, you know, do all of that to go through a lawsuit when it’s really worth $20 type of a thing, versus a, hey, if you go take, you know, the world’s best picture and everybody’s using it is valuable, and that everybody’s putting it on their websites, and everybody’s printing it out putting it in books, and whatever.
Then it has a much greater amount of value in you’re gonna want to protect that because it has that inherent value, that you’re actually going to be able to get an income from it. So what can you protect a whole bunch? What should you protect probably what has value to you, and what you can either drive value by licensing and they’re selling to other people, or if it’s valuable to your business, I said, if you’re somebody else were to copy it, it decreases yourself decreases the amount of traffic and everything else, then you’re gonna want to protect it for prolific creators, do you have to submit forms or documentation for you know, let’s
Roy Barker 23:01
just say it’s an instructional video? Would you have to submit something for each and every video or is there some kind of a blanket coverage that you can get for material that you create.
Um, like I said, there’s some inherent rights when you create it. Now, when you go to file so you can know, you know, within everything you create, you do have some inherent rights that are going to attach whether whether or not you file on it. But now, once you say, Okay, this is valuable enough, I’d like to go file on it, you can either if you had a whole bunch of material, let’s say you had, you know, 20 different pictures and you know, I had them all ready to file you can typically and I’ll say typically, because there’s always some exceptions, you can file them as a single copywriters, a single filing, within reason, and you can’t put 2000 pictures are gonna make there is a limit on our cap on it but within reason.
You can file multiple ones within a single copyright. The only thing you have to do is whatever you file you have to file at the same time. So if I’m taking if I’m prolific, prolific, and I’m, you know, I take you know, I write 20, great bestsellers, and I write them all at the same time. I could go copyright and probably all at the same time, but if I were to write them over a period of time, and I wanted to protect each of them, as I release them, then you would file on a copyright separately.
So depends on if you you know, when you’re releasing, um, if you’re, if you’re trying to go protect a whole bunch all at the same time, you can generally bundle more, if you’re doing it incrementally and you want to file or protect them as you go, then you have to file them separately.
Roy Barker 24:27
Okay. You know, we touched on this when we were talking about, you know, Joe’s pizza place, but then our names, you know. Because you see a lot of people with, you know, similar same names across but, and I know this probably has a lot more to do with contract law than then enter actual property. But one of the smartest moves was Prince, you know, as soon when he severed his ties with his production company or whoever had him under contract. They said, Hey, you can’t use that. Name anymore. So it to me it was a genius move to do the symbol and then the artist formerly known as because he got his point across.
So I guess it’s interesting though that they kept the rights to his name is that because it wasn’t his his actual really birth name or I guess how could we actually lose the rights to that?
Yeah, and that one gets more in copyright or sorry, in the contract, okay, in the sense of generally he would have the rights to his name and you can for most people 99% of people, you can’t trade, you can’t even get a trademark on your name, you don’t have rights to it. Because the problem is, is you can’t have people from using their name. So we both named Joe, we both want to open up a pizza place. You know, I can’t stop you from using your name and naming your business part of your name, right? So for most people, you can’t read, the issue becomes when you try and use your name and their business.
You can’t you’re not able to now, when you reach a level of famous, you know, how famous you are, where everybody when you hear Michael Jackson, they think of the singer when everybody hears Michael Jordan, they think of the basketball player, or maybe the actor now or you hear Tom Cruise or you hear Donald Trump, you know, whatever side of the spectrum you are, but there’s a lot of names that you hear. And you say, okay, when you hear that name, you don’t think of the 20 Joe’s that I know, I think the one Michael Jordan. And if I hear Michael Jordan, I don’t think the Michael Jordan down the street, I think of that specific, right.
So that one, once you reach that level of famous ness, then you can actually trademark your name. You can get some rights with the trademarks. And so a lot of what that was dispute was, is because Michael Jackson and been you know, famous enough and you know, or prints in this case, now they can, he can actually get a trademark, there’s a tangible asset, and they can contractually get rights to it. And now when he leaves he, he sold the rights. I mean, he got money for it, they paid him for it. And now because they paid him for him, it’s part of a contract they own the rights to and that’s why he went to this demo.
And even if artists formerly known as brands, because he knows he’s sold the rights to his trademark for his name, because he reached that level of infamy.
Roy Barker 27:04
Yeah, so the well, when we when you name a business, and it depends if you’re a professional, or what you really plan on doing. You know, always talk, say, to me, personally, it’s always better to try to form a company name, just because, you know, if you’re in the professional services business, and you named the company after yourself, of course, anytime anybody calls, they want to do business. With that person, they asked for the name person, it’s hard for somebody else to take over, eventually, if you want to pass this along, or sell it or whatever. So talk about the legalities of that, I guess for just a moment.
If if you’ve named a business after yourself, it does it run into some legal issues later on when you’re trying to sell it. Or, you know, if you want to, I guess start another business, maybe it would hamper you in some ways.
Yeah, if you wanted to sell generally you, you’re able to sell it and you can attach your name to it. And as an example, you know, Miller IP law, if I wanted to go sell that somebody wanted to take over, they could certainly I could, you know, we can make a transaction have an agreement, and they could get the rights to use Miller IP law. Typically, in those type of agreements, then I’m agreeing that I, if I can’t use my name to start another Miller IP law down the road, and I’d have to come up with a different variation. So there’s anything to hamper that other than you would have to be careful that if you wanted to start a new business, you’re generally going to have to not use your last name or use something else.
The other one on the business side, the kind of john was it is generally when you start to tie it to a specific name. And one of the ones that comes to mind that if you notice, as you watch, if you ever get into the financial industry, a big name is Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey there, you know, he has a radio show a talk show, he has books, he has, you know, a whole bunch of content. And if you notice, for a long time was called the Dave Ramsey show. You know, he tagged his name to it, because that’s what you know, everybody knew by Dave Ramsey was the name he was a brand. And he was the face of the company.
Now, as you notice, as their, you know, as they are trying to transition, as he’s looking towards retirement. They’ve actually renamed the show if you if you pick up on Ramsey show so it’s no longer a Dave Ramsey show. And they also started to brand their company and one of their products, Ramsey solutions and that so now they’re trying to transition that because it’s difficult when you tie it to your name, you leave you you’re no longer part of the business, you retire, you move on or anything else, then it’d be now now now all of that following and all that goodwill goes along with you even if you’d like to leave it, you know, everybody wants to be with Dave Ramsey.
They want to listen Dave Ramsey and everything else. So oftentimes it creates a reason for that transition that you’re having to actually rebrand or adjusted or anything else because it makes it difficult to transfer that with your name.
Roy Barker 29:47
Yeah. Well Devin, I appreciate you taking time out of your day. Any any parting thoughts you want to leave with the listeners concerning intellectual property
Yeah, I would say that the biggest thing is a lot of times people oftentimes, and I get why, but they wait too long on going after intellectual property. The reason is, is because they’re saying, Okay, if I don’t know, if I need it. If I go into an attorney’s office, they’re going to charge me by the hour. Then all I’m going to do is spend a few $100. And they’re probably going to tell me, you don’t need anything, or they can’t help me. It’s going to be a waste of time, or they don’t have the money. And so, but the problem is, is they always wait for too long, and they don’t they never they lose out on the rights or it gets a lot more expensive down the road.
So I would say at least have it you know, what, regardless of where you’re at. Get a strategy. Know the deadlines, go and talk with an attorney, a lot of them, myself and a lot of others. You know, my firm and other people that I know, will oftentimes they will, using get a free consultation, consultation, a free strategy session to at least get an idea of what deadlines you’re looking at, when you shouldn’t be looking at things when you know what that’s going to cost.
And so if I were to leave kind of that as a parting thought it would be, regardless of where you’re at, get a strategy, know what you’re up against, and get a strategy and get a plan in place so that you’re at least able to plan that out budget for it know when it’s coming. And that way you don’t create more issues down the row.
Roy Barker 31:12
So have you personally seen any of those cases where I came in with the either a great book I just wrote or something I book maybe a little bit too, too general, but just I come in with a great idea. And you start looking into it, and I’m like, a month, a year too late?
Yeah, I’ve had that conversation several times with potential clients. They’ll come in and say, okay, I’ve you know, I’ve been in business for a few years. And you know, we couldn’t do a patent. But now finally, we’ve got, things are going well. We’ve got some cells and we can finally get, you know, we’d like to finally file for a patent on it. And I say, okay, so just to clarify, you know, how long have you been selling your product? Well, about three years, and then it’s that conversation is awesome. We have a business, great. Do you have a product? Unfortunately, I can’t help you because you missed our one year window. And now it’s donated to the public domain.
And anybody can do so you better hurry and compete as well as you can continue to innovate. So I’ve had that one. I’ve had people come in the office and say, Hey, I’d like to get a trademark on our brand and then say, Okay, well, let’s look around. Is there anybody else using it? Well, yeah, there’s this other person that’s using it. Let’s see if they have a trademark. Oh, yeah, it looks like they have a trademark. Well, you’ve got a bigger problem now. So because now you’ve got to go figure out how to get you know how to navigate around this because somebody else owns your brand, so to speak. So yeah, that happens on too frequent basis. People hold off too long.
Roy Barker 32:32
Yeah. Is there a trademark registry? Where if I’m thinking of an awesome name that I could go out? And do you know, a little bit of searching just to make sure I’m not infringing?
Yeah, so you can go on to the USPTO, the US Patent trademark office USPTO.com. And I think it’s dot org now. But you can actually go on there, you can, if you’re to go and just basically search USPTO trademark search, it’ll take it to their page, you can go look at it. Now. Things are to be careful of as well, it’s good to kind of get an idea and start out with, you know, if you don’t know what you’re doing, what you’re looking for what’s confusingly similar, what classes or categories and goods and services are, and all what that means. You can either think, hey, oh, yeah, we’re fine. We’re free and clear when you’re not.
Or you can not go after a trademark when you probably had a free path forward or clear path forward, because you don’t know it. And so yeah, you can go and search, do some initial looking around. If you’re gonna get serious, I probably go to someone that’s more experienced that knows what they’re doing. So they can make sure to validate what you found.
Roy Barker 33:34
Yeah, right. Yeah. And it’s, I think you make a good point, you know. It’s never too early even to reach out and just say, Hey, this is where I’m at, or this is what I’m thinking, you know, I get some expert advice. Because I guess the only thing worse than being able to have something is not being able to take advantage of it. If it’s a really awesome in somebody, somebody’s snatching it out from under you. Because, you know, there’s people that do that, unfortunately, in it, it’s part of business, but people you know, try to re engineer stuff all the time.
And if you’re on a good path, then, you know, everybody wants to try to ride that train with you as well. Yep, absolutely, completely agree with Yeah. All right. What do you have a Is there a tool or some kind of a habit that you use every day that you feel like adds a lot of value to your life?
Um, yeah. I mean, habits, you know, there’s a lot of different habits. But one of the things that I’ve always got into the habit of is I always start out my morning with doing exercise. So I usually run about seven or eight miles in the morning each day. And I find that you know, one it keeps you healthy, keeps you active, because a lot of times you know, you’re not able to get as much exercise throughout the day when you’re in an office. But to the other thing I found is, for me, at least, is when I go out and I run and I have that time where I don’t have the phone ringing and I don’t I’m not in the office.
It gives a time for my brain to unwind insensitive it kind tend to wander to those things that I need to get done or I’ve been thinking about, I really haven’t had a time to because I’m so busy when I get in the office doing 100 different things that it kind of is that time to unwind to let your brain wander And naturally, at least for me, tends to reflect on and think about the things that I should be doing for the business that I’ve been putting off or things that I should be considering that so yeah, best habit I have is to exercise in the morning, go take a run, let me clear my head. And that oftentime does more for the spur new ideas and generate new business and anything else.
Roy Barker 35:29
While I up my game, I usually say I get down, take a 15 minute walk. So run in seven or eight miles, I’d really have a clear head if I could get out and do that. Now that is the best way. And there’s a lot of empirical research on that is ever too late. Yeah, there’s a lot of research out there too. You know, we just need that time away from everything. to be creative and have the To me, it’s it’s a real inspiration, that’s when I can solve some problems or think about some things that are kind of been holding me up. But anyway, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to talk to us about intellectual property.
If you would just, you know, tell everybody basically, who you can help, how you can help them and of course, how they can reach out and get a hold of you.
Yeah, so really anybody that’s needing patents, trademarks, copyrights, we’re happy to help. We’re always here for businesses of any size. Now, we tend to focus more on startups and small businesses. So particularly if you fit in that category, we’re definitely willing to help. But we also have medium and larger clients as well. So kind of as across the spectrum. You know, if they were wanting to we offer, you know, a couple ways to reach out or to find out more, if you want to get a one on one session with me, I offer free strategy meetings where you sit down for a few minutes, kind of go over what you’re doing. Strategize.
Kind of think out what are the next steps, what questions you have, what costs there are. So to do that, just go to strategymeeting.com. You can grab a time right there on my calendar, you can block that off, we’ll have some time to chat. So strategymeeting.com. if you want to grab a one on one with me, if you’re wanting to find this more generally about the law firm where the prices are gets and we have a lot of educational material on our website, you can just go to law with Miller all one word lawwithMiller.com, and that has a lot of information there that you can get going on as well.
So that would be the two best ways to check out if you ever need help with patents, trademarks, LLC, business formations, kind of things that are related to your business. We’re really here to help and set up to get you taken care of.
Roy Barker 37:28
Yeah, and the other good thing about reaching out I think, and correct me if I’m wrong is that even if I’m not in the place where I need to be, you can help me set those milestones that you know, once we pass these things, then it’s time to revisit that subject again. Yep,
absolutely. So Exactly. As I said before, even if you’re not ready to go in today, get your question in. Well,
Roy Barker 38:29
we had a little, a little zoom drop there, but Alright, I’m gonna go ahead and wrap up and we can take care of that if we need to if we have a little break there, but I appreciate you being here. Again, that’s gonna do it for another episode of the business of business podcast. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com You can find us on all the major social media platforms as well as the major podcast platforms iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify, and video this interview will go live on YouTube as well so until then, take care of yourself and take care of your business.