Monday, September 20, 2010

All About Trademarks

I have a long history with the Patent and Trademark Office.  (They have no idea of this history, which is probably a good thing).  During my two stints with companies under the Charles E. Smith umbrella in Crystal City, the PTO was headquartered in the building next to Smith's headquarters.  They were also an incredibly important tenant, as they rented LOTS of space and the many related businesses that depended upon them were tenants also (patent and trademark attorneys, search companies).

During my time at Smith, a tremendous amount of time and effort was spent on trying to convince the PTO NOT to move out of Crystal City.  The accountants and attorneys were constantly coming up with new scenarios, which flowed to me to slice and dice and spit the data back out to them in the summarized formats they desired.  Fun times!  Sadly, that quest was unsuccessful and they moved to new office space in Alexandria not far from the King Street Metro.  If I really wanted to risk life and limb, I could walk to their offices from my house.  But just because they are practically in my backyard doesn't make it any easier to submit a trademark registration request.

Today, I read the online instructions and watched a cheesy yet very informative video created by the PTO to answer tricky Trademark questions.  The video is hosted by newscaster "Mark Trademan" and includes common trademark situations and mistakes.  I was impressed that the government could deliver the message in such a concise, humorous way!  After watching it, I feel like I know a lot more but I also think I should probably get the help of a trademark attorney when the time comes to complete the application.  (Now I understand why they needed to lease all that space!)

Last night, I finished the wireframe diagram for the website and sent it to web designer Mark.  He confirmed this morning that he had received everything and would be reviewing and preparing for our next call.  The wireframe diagram was 4 pages of thoughts and scribbles (Art is NOT my strong suit - there are those who question whether or not I am capable of drawing a straight line using a ruler).

Neighbor Tina and I finished the Boutique Scavenger Hunt yesterday and are hoping to find out that we were big winners!  Jim got another piece of chocolate out of the deal so he was happy.  It was a really fun experience.  One of the things I picked up as part of the hunt were the days and hours that the different boutiques are open.  I had already researched this with regard to those shops that I felt are my peers (this was for the business plan) but it was also interesting to see what others used as a strategy.  Of course, I looked at all of the other boutique websites as well.  Such a wide variety of web strategies out there!

Hoping to see the lease draft later this week!

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