TAS 561: Protecting Your BRAND with Trademarks and NEW Transparency Program

As an ecommerce business leader, you want to do everything you can to protect the platform and business you are building. Are you prepared in the event of hijackers selling your product on Amazon? What about patent issues? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Scott as he welcomes his guest, Steve Weigler. In their conversation, Steve and Scott discuss how to deal with hijackers, the best way to utilize Amazon’s brand registry program, if it’s worth it to fill a patent, the details about Amazon’s new “Transparency” program, and much more! Make sure to have pen and paper ready for this informative episode!

What are you waiting for? Register your brand!

Did you know that one of the best ways to protect your brand is by registering it through Amazon’s Brand Registry program? Have you taken your brand through that process yet? According to Steve Weigler’s expert perspective, if you take your ecommerce business through Amazon’s process, you’ll be better protected if a hijacker comes along. Don’t leave your brand susceptible to hijacking! To get the full breakdown of how Brand Registry can set your business up for success, make sure to listen to this helpful episode of The Amazing Seller!

Is it a good idea to get a patent?

Have you heard how getting a patent could help protect your brand from knockoffs and hijackers? Is it really worth it to go through the lengthy process of securing a patent? If you are considering getting a patent, you may want to heed Steve Weigler’s advice. While getting a patent might be a good idea if you have a ton of resources or a really innovative idea that needs that type of protection chances are, your brand doesn’t. Think through your strategy and make sure you have a proper understanding of how to best deploy your resources! Listen to this episode of The Amazing Seller as Scott and Steve expand on this topic and much more!

What is, “Transparency?”

There is a new program through Amazon that ecommerce sellers like you need to be aware of! Amazon’s new program is called, “Transparency” and it’s specifically designed to help sellers like you secure your product and enjoy a crystal clear certainty on when it sells and ships from Amazon. When you participate in this program, Amazon sells you a sticker with a unique code that goes on the outside of each of your products. For more details on the Transparency program and how you can use it to your advantage, make sure to listen to this engaging episode of The Amazing Seller!

Copyright your logo and packaging!

Do you have a plan to copyright your brand’s logo and packaging? Are your logo and packaging unique and creative? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Scott and Steve as they explain why sellers like you need to invest in packaging and logos that stand out! Steve explains that the more you can create layers of complexity and detail to your product and your packaging, the more protected you are from hijackers. The copywriting process doesn’t have to be as complicated as it often sounds! To hear how Steve and his team and help sellers like you navigate the process, listen to this episode!

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [3:50] Scott welcomes his guest, Steve Weigler.
  • [7:00] How to deal with hijackers & navigating Amazon’s brand registry program.
  • [12:00] Steve walks through his brand development process.
  • [17:00] Is there a way to gate your brand so people can’t sell it on Amazon?
  • [20:00] Is it worth it to file for a patent?
  • [23:30] Steve talks about Amazon’s new program called, “Transparency.”
  • [32:00] Make sure to copyright your logo and packaging!
  • [36:15] How to connect with Steve and his services.
  • [39:00] Closing thoughts from Scott.

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 561

TAS 561: Protecting Your BRAND with Trademarks and NEW Transparency Program

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey what’s up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 561 and today well we're going to be talking about a non-sexy topic but a very important topic…

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…and that is how to protect your brand with trademarks and this new transparency program that Amazon has been slowly rolling out behind the scenes a little bit. You might have heard about it, you might not have and I really was able to dig into this with someone that has heard a lot about it and really how it all works. This could be game changer stuff if it works and I've got a good idea that it might actually work.

But it is going to have a couple of tweaks along the way. So we're going to talk all about that stuff with our special guest today and his name is Steve Weigler. Now I met Steve at Sellers summit. Another great guy but also another example of how when you go to events you generally will meet people and then from there it could turn into something where you learn something or you have a connection now that can help you or lead you to something else. Well, he's a trademark attorney so obviously I had a great conversation about trademarks, about brand registry, about all of that stuff and I said, rather us talk about it here let's get you on the podcast and let's have that conversation. We can record it.

And that's exactly what we did. I also want to remind you and you might have heard if you didn't then you have to go back and listen to the big announcement but that is we are doing a live event ourselves and the reason why I'm doing this is because I want to talk about how to build a real brand and all of the different things that go into that and really dive into those things that aren't really talked about at ecommerce events or Amazon focused events. Now, we will be talking about that but we're going be to talking really heavily about how to build a brand and all of the different aspects that go into that.

[00:01:58] Scott: If you missed that then you're definitely going to want to check out brandacceleratorlive.com or you can just go to this episode and it will be there or you can go to theamazingseller.com/live. Make it really easy, a lot of you will probably use that link but this is again, a great example. I met Steve at a live event. Steve Chou's event. And that's what I want to do. I want to bring a whole bunch of really awesome smart people together and allow us to learn from each other and really get those relationships started. Another great reason why you would want to attend this event that I'm putting together which is going to be amazing by the way.

So if you haven't jumped on that early bird list or if you're listening to this and tickets are available we're going to be giving discounted ticket sales throughout until we're actually fully sold out. Definitely make sure you get on that early list and that can be done at theamazingseller.com/live or brandacceleratorlive.com. It might be easier just to go theamazingseller.com/live. Just saying. If it was me I'd probably would do that. So let's get to it. First off, let me say why would you or should you protect your brand? Well, it makes it harder to copy. The other reason is you get more protection especially on just Amazon.

If you're selling on a channel, and they require you to have a trademark and this is going to be very, very valuable. And then also the brand receives a higher value from investors and I learned this first hand from my good friend Joe Valley over at Quiet Light Brokerage and it's really important when we're building a brand, we want to have these assets in place and doing what we're going to share here with you today will be an asset that's added to your business.. So let' go ahead and listen to this conversation that I had with my new friend Steve Weigler. So sit back, relax, and enjoy.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:03:56] Scott: Well, hey Steve. What's up man? How are you doing?

[00:03:58] Steve: Everything is good. How about you?

[00:04:00] Scott: I'm doing really, really well and I'm excited to start talking about this trademark topic that seems so sexy.

[00:04:10] Steve: Yeah well you know it's like one of those things where it's not sexy until it's really important and sexy.

[00:04:17] Scott: Yes, absolutely. Yeah, I just wanted to say thanks for coming on first and foremost I met you at Sellers Summit. Steve Chou's event. And you and I got talking a little bit and I said we got to get you on and really dig into this. So really excited to have you. So before we jump into everything, can you just let everyone know a little bit about you and kind of like what got you to where you are today to where you are talking more to the Amazon sellers?

[00:04:43] Steve: Sure, I'm an entrepreneur and an attorney. I have my own brand that I'm developing for Amazon and I also have had an extensive experiences as an entrepreneur. And as an entrepreneur I realized I didn't know the first thing about trademark when I started, which was approximately 2006 and when I was going through the process of protecting my brand or developing my brand which was in the business to business base and business to government, a trademark attorney sat me down and said, “Steve if you’re spending so much money taking something from zero, meaning zero revenue to hopefully the millions of dollars, you need to also protect that brand.”

And I've learned a ton about in my experience as an entrepreneur about trademark which is the number one vehicle, the only vehicle to protect a brand which is an intangible asset.

[00:05:43] Scott: And it's a big one nowadays too because if you’re just selling on Amazon, the trademark, having a trademark is really important because that's what also they're looking for brand registry 2.0. Some people say well it's not 2.0 it's just brand registry now. But it's basically we're calling 2.0 because it's a new version from what the requirements were in the past. And I want to really dig into that but I also want to dig into something that you had written to me through an email talking about their program called transparency and how can we best secure our listings, our brand on Amazon's platform.

So this way here we can try to fight off some of these pirates that are jumping on and really taking over our listing and taking our sales away or our livelihood really. So I really want to talk about that stuff. So where do you want to start with that conversation. Where's the best place to start?

[00:06:42] Steve: Well, let's start with… I got a lot of calls through my time period I started specializing in Amazon sellers. Amazon sellers are all entrepreneurs and they are all trying to build most of them, are trying to build a brand on Amazon. And so I find myself a perfect resource for your particular audience. A lot of times on Amazon entrepreneurs are trying to build a brand. And All of a sudden they see on Amazon which sells over 562 million products and so it's very hard for Amazon to police all the products on it. And so all of a sudden an Amazon seller who starts a brand from nothing and is building a brand sees an imitator or a knock off or a pirate, selling a similar or the same good or service.

So let's look at two scenarios. Let's look at the first one is, you don't have Amazon brand registry 2.0 or you don't have it and or you have a trademark, a patent registered trademark. What happens? You contact Amazon because that's what naturally you do, it's on their website. And the response will be we have no idea who owns this brand why don't you work it out with the other party. Your brand is going to be, the chances of your working it out with a pirator usually a rogue pirator, the chances are close to nil. And you have a brand issue.  So what Amazon did is created a brand registry 2.0.

If you participate in brand registry 2.0 and there is other advantages but one huge advantage is they're saying if you go through the program and if something like that happens we will take down, we will take action including take down the pirators, goods or services within four hours.

[00:08:52] Steve: So that is a huge difference. And a huge reason that should be a wakeup call to all Amazon sellers. Now I am sometimes, an Amazon seller has a brand that is very difficult to be protected but I always offer services that at least tell me until I’m booked ou, which I will let the person know but I will always offer free ten minute consultations to see if your brand doing something called the knockout search to see if your brand is eligible for brand registry.

[00:09:27] Scott: So what is actually like the criteria for that? Like for someone to look at their own brand. Like what is the thing that where they can look and see if they're even potentially qualified?

[00:09:38] Steve: So the most important thing for Amazon is to make sure that the brand is registered by the USPTO. And so it's United States Patent and Trademark Office. The United States patent and trademark office is one of, every country has a similar office and what they want to do is make sure that no one else has used the brand first. The United States is a first in use country. And so what has to happen is the attorney, a good trademark attorney would do a thorough search to make sure no one else has used the brand or has claimed to use the brand for the goods and services that the person is offering.

And in our firm, we use a very proprietary thorough software that we buy for a gazillion dollars from Thompson Writers that searches the market every particular way because there's four to five, forty five categories of goods and services and more than, a close to a billion trademark checks. So it really requires a thorough search because if the market is into the trouble at the USPTO, not only you can have no relief with Amazon but your brand is going to be in potential problems. So a search really means everything in our practice. So that's really the first step. It's to contact an attorney to make sure that a thorough search is done and that we can get it through the USPTO the application so we can get on the brand registry.

[00:11:15] Scott: Right. So if I'm hearing you correctly which I am, I believe is that in order to get the brand registry you need the trademark which I kind of already knew that. So really there's nothing we're going to do to protect our brand as far as Amazon getting involved being able to get into this program, this knockout program like until we are trademarked. And that trademark, I know firsthand that's an eight to twelve month process if everything goes well. It's a long process. So you got to figure a year that it's going to take. It might be a little earlier but it might be a year before you can actually apply.

So would you say, I guess when someone should apply for the trademark if they're just kind of starting? They're just getting their business started. They're not sure if this is going to even be their full brand. Will they be able to do more of a generic brand and then have a brand underneath that brand? Like how would you do that?

[00:12:16] Steve: Let's use my example right now. I'm developing a hair care line and stay tuned on what that’s going to be all about. But right now, the first thing I did is worked with my branding assistant, Katie and we worked on let's come up with some names that would be viable for the product. Then because we are trademark professionals we searched those names to see how they would flow through the trademark office if we decide to file trademark. So that's what's called a knockout search. We didn't spend hours and hours on it but we did something called the knockout search which is usually provided at no cost by experienced trademark attorney.

Then we started developing a brand and I realized that a lot of people that are listening to this podcast have already developed their brand but the first thing to do is do a knock out search to see if there's any issues at any point. Then a good experience is to do a strategic discussion like Scott you were just talking about and how you're going to build this brand. Is the brand a house mark, meaning is it? So for example Revlon which is a cosmetic company that's not the name of everyone their products, it's like Revlon mouthwash and so they create sub brands under the brand. I think what Amazon is most concerned about is what they need to see is if for example Revlon was the house brand that Revlon was trademarked in a non-stylish format.

Meaning so not the logo, so without a logo, without any artwork, without designed words but the capital letters REVLON.

[00:14:16] Steve: So that's what needs to be pushed through. So the process is first strategically decide how your brand is going to flow. A lot of times Amazon sellers are coming up with a house brand and then various products under the brand. Amazon pretty much cares about the house brand. So the Revlon. Then we do as we discussed, we have proprietary software and we do a thorough, really thorough search. Because we want to make sure that the whole idea is there's two concepts in trademark. Number one maximum amount of protection for your brand, minimum amount of price.

And we offer flat fee packages where we go through this process to make sure that you pay as little as possible and you get the maximum amount of protection. So and a second concept is make sure that we want to make sure that it's done very quickly. So you say a nine to ten month process, if we do this right we can get it down to a six month process. And so that's the kind of two values you have by going through this kind of comprehensive mantra which is do a very comprehensive search. Plus a lot of times, a lot of my customers especially Amazon sellers want to sell on Amazon Canada.

Well, that's a whole separate trademark process and you can get that done through the United States Patent Trademark Office. But it has to be a strategy. You can't just ‘oh yeah I forgot, I want to Trademark in Mexico. There's processes and procedures and protocol. So always have strategy first. And that really helps keep down the cost and improve the efficiency of the file.

[00:15:58] Scott: Okay. So now I guess the other question that I know people are probably asking themselves is once I get this trademark and I have my vision and I have my strategy, it’s all in place and everything is locked in now and I get everything approved. It passes with flying colors and I get this certificate. Now, I go and I register for brand registry, how do I get the most out of that to protect my brand from pirators or from even just people being able to sell on that listing because they're some people and even including myself I've had of brands that I've worked with that were able to basically make it so not even that we made it that way. It just happened to be this way.

Is if someone tried to jump on the listing they would basically have to request permission to sell on that listing. It's kind of like if Nike if you had to be approved to sell Nike you'd have to be basically approved. And in some cases this has happened with even just a smaller brands. What can we do, is it even possible to lock down or is there a discussion that we can lock down our listing and more or less gate it in a sense to where we would have to approve the person that wanted to sell our product?

[00:17:19] Steve: Well I think there's a couple advantages of brand registry 2.0 which is including that you can really flash out your product description and so I think the art of writing a good product description and talking about the authorization and licensing requirements of this brand and really flashing out the brand on your brand registry is number one possible and number two really something that Amazon seller should be thinking about. So I think Amazon is going to take action based on what's written down. So if you just get on the brand so let's say you're selling shoe laces and you get on the brand registry and you call them lace base’ well and all you have is ‘lace base laces’ and there's a white pair of shoe laces.

And no description. Well the chances of becoming a successful discussion on Amazon to get a takedown of a competitor's brand is not that good. As compared to if you wrote ‘Lace Base is made of Ground up Hump with a gloss, it will never break. This is a proprietary formula, it's patent pending. Any enquiries on licensing please contact XYZ.’ Well Amazon's going to see that and be like, oh my God, anyone that’s trying to infringe on that, they’re going to take it down. So the point about Amazon is, it’s sometimes you wonder but it is human beings looking at what kind of case you’re building.

And if you build a strong enough case they're going to take more immediate action than if you don't. So brand registry by allowing you to write out a description much more fully than if you're not on the brand registry is going to give you the leeway to create the uniqueness of your brand which allows for them to police it back. And we help with that.

[00:19:22] Scott: Okay. I mean that makes sense. It's like the more that you can make your product unique even by the way that you describe it, you mentioned patent. I'm curious your thoughts on this. I've  heard some sellers doing this, just so they get a 12 month to an 18 month I can put on there patent pending because we all know you can apply for the patent but we don’t know 100% that it's going to get approved and a lot of times it doesn't get approved. For whatever reason you have to keep going through reiterations. But do you think it's worth it to basically just file and that way you have the 12 to 18 month window to basically  have on there patent pending?

[00:20:08] Steve: Here's my opinion is everything requires a strategy. And so if the strategy is to stick, if you think you can get financing because an investor or someone or a bank thinks that there's value in the patent yes. I think everyone knows what a provisional, everyone in the industry knows what a provisional patent means and that means no one's ever reviewed it. It's not really going through the process. My assumption is that a lot of Amazon sellers are entrepreneurs and don't have excessive amount of money sitting around to buy a patent which is a successful patent process prosecution is anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000.

If it doesn’t go well. Then the question is say you get the patent. Well, I just told you how to protect your trademark and how Amazon will take down an infringer. Protecting a patent you usually have to go to a federal court and explain where your invention which you published, what they’re doing is a knock off. That is hundreds of thousands of dollars. And so you have to look at what's your end game? Do you really have something that's an invention? And do you really have something that somebody couldn't poke holes through because if you don't, then you should use a strategy that 99% of the rest of the public uses or the rest of entrepreneurs use, which is build up your brand.

Nike is not that a great… I don't want to disrespect Nike but there's nothing… And some of it is patented but they're shoes but their Nike Brand is worth everything. The Google Brand, Apple brand, I mean all these brands Exxon for gas. It's not like the gas is any better than you get at Costco. I don't think. But the point is it’s a brand. And so if I had a dollar, I'd put it in a brand strategy as opposed to a patent strategy unless I want adventure and had like some new chemical that's going to treat cancer. That's different. But for the rest of us, no. I'm not a big believer.

[00:22:24] Steve: There's also other alternatives. So when we look at a strategy we don't just look at trademark, we also look at copywriting and trade secret. And so we can cover those a little bit too.

[00:22:35] Scott: So I’m trying to give people the way that they can best protect their brand but also their listings from getting hijackers but also whether not even having to deal with it because their listing could potentially become locked or gated in a sense. I want to talk a little bit about you had said something about this program called transparency. Can you talk a little about that? I know you said also that you hang out at the international trademark association conference and you hang out at their booth and you were kind of talking with Amazon or about Amazon sellers and trademark and that type of stuff.

What can you tell us about that that you kind of learned?

[00:23:22] Steve: Sure well it was really interesting because about two years ago their big push at the trademarks conference, the international trademark conference was this brand registry. And so we learned as much as we could and worked with our clients on implementing it. This year and they took up about two booths was this new program called transparency. Transparency it's interesting and they're pushing it very hard. It's where they sell Amazon sellers stickers with an embedded code that's no different than a UPC. And it has all the information in a bar code.

It's more of a square code of your product. And so when they're scanning it in, so you send your inventory to Amazon, they scan it in and each product, so say you have 500 boxes of vitamin A and 500 boxes of vitamin B. You would buy a label anywhere from one to five cents. They're not sure of the actual price yet but it's one to five cents. You would buy a label for each one. Each, so you buy five hundred labels, numbered one through five hundred for vitamin A and the same holds true for Vitamin B. So you'll but 1,000 total labels for whatever a penny is.

And they would scan the labels in and when they sell them it would be an inventory system where the labels go out. Well, because you're between that and the brand registry there's no real way for piracy to occur because you have the only, they know every box of where your brand is.

[00:25:20] Scott: So if I'm hearing this correctly so they're going to do the labeling for us. You're not just going to print some special code on it because anybody could print that code. It's kind of this is a special sticker that was put on by Amazon that we paid for because we're the brand. It's going to be a little bit of an expense but it's well worth it because it's five cents and that help protect us and really, when it’s scanned, it's known that it's scanned through that code which was applied by Amazon which is by our brand. Is that what I’m hearing?

[00:25:51] Steve: Yes, I think the idea is you buy the stickers from them and when you’re packaging you put them on. So it would be no different than a postage stamp.

[00:25:59] Scott: Okay, I guess what I'm trying to look at here though is, and I'm sure that they would have a service to do it for you because I know myself, I don't want to do 1,500/2,000 or have someone do it here. That's going to add more expense and more time and if I want to ship it directly in how do we do that? I mean right now you can have them label for you for 20 cents. So I don't think that would be any different.

[00:26:19] Steve: I think you're probably right.

[00:26:21] Scott: I don't think that would be any different. I know there’s a lot of people that aren't going to want to do that but I guess the thing is it's going to be more of a physical labeling of theirs than of their code that you’re buying that's basically saying like you're the brand. And that you're the only one that's going to purchase those stickers in a sense. If a pirator came on they would have had to had that same sticker or they would have to buy them which they're not going to able to and it's just too much of a hassle for them to do it anyway. They’re going to want to go to the next one.

So that's kind of what I'm hearing. I like that. How close are they to rolling that out across all brands or is it already rolling out?

[00:27:04] Steve: Well Scott, they're rolling it out for free right now. I have the email and I'll ready it to and the podcast listeners. But if you fill out the form on Amazon that you want more information you get an email, you don't get any more information but you get an email that Hey do you want to try this for free for six months?' So when you probe a little bit into Amazon, this is probably their way of the future. Again, they sell over half of a billion products and they don't know how to police effectively all these products and this is their solution. So if you want to be a fast mover and you want to grow with Amazon this is going to be for every product in the next few years.

[00:28:04] Scott: Okay, but let me ask you this, what do I need to give them in order to even be able to get these special labels? Do I have to be brand registered? This is a completely separate program.

[00:28:20] Scott: I'm just wondering what would be the difference then for someone else to just basically buy the stickers? What is the process because they can't have, well I guess that they would have to be able to sell under your brand in order to get them. I'm trying to think out…

[00:28:42] Steve: When I think out, because Amazon doesn't have a page like… Okay you need brand registry and you need this. It's like this is product A and this is product B. So the imposter or the pirator could go and buy transparency labels. And there would be nothing stopping them from doing so. So I think you probably would want to participate in the brand registry and the question is like hey if you're going to build your brand and you want to protect it, you should protect it anyway if you're going to invest in these stickers because otherwise they're just an additional expense

So I think the combination, the one two that there's Amazon saying that if you can attach your brand which is on brand registry and they'll enforce it. And if you buy these stickers, you're really putting up a serious wall for competitors and it’s beautiful. I have heard some positive reviews on it. I think it's something in the works and I think the trademark conference was in May but I think the staff was talking was stroking my arms around it. Like it's a brand new roll out for the company.

[00:30:03] Scott: It's going to have some kinks I'm sure but that's what they're doing too. They understand what's happening and obviously they want to make it a great platform for both sellers and for buyers because obviously we're feeding them products and things that they can sell and think about all the support tickets they're dealing with, with all of these claims of people hijacking and that's just a huge expense on their part with just support.  So if they can fix that I would that that would cut down on all that and just make it a better place for businesses to do business versus someone coming in and being able to just jump on your listing and really there's nothing to prove that they’re just…

They bought a whole bunch of your product and now they're going to resell it. Like there's nothing that’s going to prevent other than if they get brand registry if we can lock our listing… I think that's how it should be. I think it should be when we create a listing under our brand register or brand registry that we've basically went all through the hoops and everything to get that, we should be able to say we only want to allow ourselves or anybody that's approved to sell. And then it would basically be an approval that we would have to. So we would have to seller that has the product would have to submit it to us and we'd say yeah, go ahead and sell it.

But for the most part unless they wholesaled it, we're not going to let them do that anyway. That's the best way I think.

[00:31:30] Steve: Yeah, and the nice thing is it's very complicated for a larger company like Revlon to create those types of agreements or those types of situations because they have an established friend. When you're starting out this is the best time to think this out because it's all really cheap prophylactic stuff. To build out your brand and really kind of make a big deal about what you have in a brand when you're just starting your brand is much easier than when you have an established brand and you’re back tracking. It's cheap. In fact we have a comprehensive package and it's included in that package when we file the trademark for you.

[00:32:08] Scott: Wow, that's awesome. Cool. What else did you want to discuss here before we wrap up here? I know we wanted to keep this to 30, I know we're already over that but we had a lot to talk about. Is there anything else you wanted to cover before we wrap up?

[00:32:22] Steve: Just some other, because I do a lot of again strategy. There's some other things that Amazon sellers should look at including a very cheap form of protection is. Again, your logo and your packaging, you can copyright that, buy federal copyright protection for like $35. And that gets you the same ticket to federal court if you find and infringer. So not only protect your brand and your brand identity through trademark which provides excellent brand protection. But also protect your artwork and the original narrative of your packaging through copyright.

The third thing is to look internally like your organization and say, ‘Hey, what am I doing in this product line that is proprietary and secret? And work with your staff and your vendors, meaning your manufacturers and marketing department on making sure that that's adequately protected through having people sign a proprietary rights or tades agreement. And that's crucially important when it comes to selling the company. Because the pirating might not happen outside, it might happen inside.

[00:33:36] Scott: Yeah, I know that's true. It is hard when you’re dealing with especially, you're dealing with manufacturers that are manufacturing for a lot of companies unless you have a certain mold or a certain design that they created for you, it's hard to get that agreement especially if they're in China because they're a manufacturer that wants to basically do volume. So that's what I found first hand. It's a difficult thing but it's definitely something worth doing. And at least reaching out to your manufacturer and trying to come up with some type of agreement that they would sign to get at least something but unless there's something that's totally proprietary and then to protect that, it's another whole game.

But I think like you were kind of saying before I think just building your brand and yes, creating the uniqueness around the brand and really what your company stands for but also what it specializes in. And I think I've said that time and time again but I’m going to say it again. I think when you specialize in a market, it doesn't matter even if that same product could be sold in another market if you specialize it will allow you to again be the brand that is leading the market with that product. I've used an example like with Bungee cords. If I have bungee cords, you could sell them across multiple marketplaces but if I created bungee cords that were specifically for kayakers, to tie down a kayak and it was especially designed one for that yeah it could be used for other things but it's designed for them.

So I think that it's something that's worth doing when you’re building a brand and strategically like you said.

[00:35:27] Steve: Yeah and we recently had two trademark filings on that very point. It's very difficult for an entrepreneur to not think that, to limit their brand into a specific like we're going to do this because the world is your opportunity. I agree with you. Brand focus is really crucially important and we help with that when we're writing the trademark application because again we want to maximize the filing and boost up the potential of the brand.

[00:35:51] Scott: Cool, this has been great. A lot of great information and I love it that you were at a conference talking to Amazon people and in kind of the transparency program which I think is cool. So I appreciate you sharing all that stuff. How can people get a hold of you and your company and get a ten minute counsel if they want to know where they are as far as trademark and all that stuff?

[00:36:14] Steve: Sure, the easiest thing… Number one we are willing to talk to anyone about this concept and also do pre-knockouts searches. So please don't hesitate and think oh my God, this guy is on the clock. We have a substance trademark package that we offer our clients but you have to make sure that that's a right thing for you and we're glad to get to see where your brand is. So if we contact us at 188aemerge0 or at sweigler@emergecounsel.com and also we're going to have a, we're doing a series of how to’s on our trademark on our total TM trademark podcast which we'll share with you.

[00:37:06] Scott: That's awesome. And what I'll do is I'll link everything up in the show notes because I know a lot of times people they're driving or they're running so what I'll do is I'll drop these in the show notes, all the links and if there's anything else in the meantime that we need to add, Steve we'll go ahead and we'll do that for everyone. I think this is a really important topic and it's not sexy but it's really sexy if you're going through it and you want to get it fixed. So it's going to be top of mind.

[00:37:31] Steve: What Katie and I were saying is as we were preparing for this, we were it's the interesting side of boring.

[00:37:37] Scott: Yeah, exactly. And I don’t think we wake up and we go oh, let's talk about trademark, this is going to be so fun. But if you do it and you don't have to go through this or if you've went through it and now you want to prevent that you can rest assured and feel more confident your brand moving forward and knowing also like you said and I want to stress that is that when you're doing these precautionary things as well you're putting things in place that are also assets in your business that when you do if you ever do decide to sell it will be more attractive to the buyer because you went across and did all of these different measures to help protect the brand and actually have something that is finalized in a sense and it's legit and legal and that just feels good to a buyer or to an investor.

So just keep that stuff in mind. So Steve I just wanted to say thanks once again, this has been awesome. I know I'll probably have questions and I know other people will probably have questions. So I'll link everything up, the show notes, people can get a hold of you and yeah I just want to say thank you and I'm sure we'll be in touch in, I might have you come back on and give me some updates after you get done figuring out some more stuff. I know that you’re always figuring out stuff because when you're dealing with client work there's always something that pops up and you're like wow, we got around this and here's how.

Well maybe you can share that stuff with us in the future.

[00:38:54] Steve: Right. Keep your brand focused and protected.

[00:38:57] Scott: Great. Thanks a lot Steve. Take care.

All right, so there you have it. Another great conversation that I had with one of my new friends. Steve and yeah, you can hear how you can learn so much just from a conversation. Imagine yourself being at an event of some kind or networking party, whatever it is and being able to have these types of conversations to me that's game changer stuff. Again, little reminder, little selfless plug here, if you are at all interested in hanging out with people like that and you want to surround yourself with likeminded people then I would definitely suggest checking out our brand accelerator live which is happening in 2019, September of 2019. I am fired about that and if you missed all of the details there, you're definitely want to go back and check out that episode.

And that episode is 559. So theamazingseller.com/559. I had my good friend on, Kevin Sanderson which also by  the way I met him at an event and one thing led to another and now he is organizing this event and he is the brains behind the event and he is helping me and my team make this a fantastic event that I'm super super excited about. So if you are interested in grabbing tickets and discounted tickets depending on when you're listening to this then you’re definitely going to want to head over to brandacceleratorlive.com or theamazingseller.com/live and you can get all the details there.

Like I said, I am extremely fired up for this event. A little nervous. I'm not going to lie but it's going to be amazing and I'm super excited. And that also brings me to another little reminder for you is that if you have not went through the free training PACE, the PACE method, is your business on PACE?

[00:40:58] Scott: It's a good place to start. You can really evaluate where your brand is or even if you're in the starting phases of your business, you're definitely going to want to check out the PACE. And I broke that down, myself and Chris Shaffer. We went through, we did five episodes of the podcast and I also did four videos on YouTube outlining this exact method but also the four pillars that every successful business is pretty much built on. And that is also what we're going to be expanding on at our live event but also all of the training that I've been creating.

All of the different things that I've been discussing all fall into one of these pillars in PACE. So if you’re listening, you're like Scott what the heck is PACE? Go to theamazingseller.com/pace. And that will give you all of the details. Like I said, this here is giving the exact four pillars that we believe build a successful brand and everything that we look at whether we're working with people in our inner circle and we're privately working with them in their businesses, we're overlaying this PACE method. So extremely valuable, something you should be considering and you can look at on an ongoing basis inside of your business.

So definitely check out PACE.

All right, so guys, the show notes can be found at theamazingseller.com/561. Grab everything over there, definitely go check out Steve's Resources that he has linked up for us and yeah that's pretty much going to wrap it up. So guys, remember as always, I'm here for you, I believe in you and I'm rooting for you. But you have to, you have to… Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.

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One Comment

  1. Mark Piscopo

    I would like to add some information regarding the transparency program and how the stickers work. Each sticker has a unique number which is assigned to a specific product. People wouldn’t be able to copy your transparency stickers since they’re unique numbers – there’s only one instance of each number (think serial numbers for your products). Since they’re unique serialized numbers it does require additional work to track and manage. The part I like most about the transparency program is the ability to add branding and content to your products, accessible through the transparency app (instructions, link to your support site, nutrition information, spec sheets, etc.). You can download the transparency app, then do a Google image search on “Naturewise transparency” and try app on the QR codes in the images (some images don’t work, so try a variety of images). This company has some really good content in transparency and is a great example of what you can do to leverage it.

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