Hey, I’m Cheryl Hodgson.
I’m a trademark attorney, and have served as Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and litigated dozens of cases involving theft of Intellectual Property.
Over the years, I’ve represented authors, publishers and consumer brands…
I’ve been the legal muse for entertainers, fashion brands, coaches, trainers, even companies in technology…
I’ve recovered domain names from hijackers, protected big ideas and defended federal court cases involving anything and everything…
Some people even call me the “lawyer’s lawyer” as other attorneys turn to me for advice.
And I’ve had my fair share of bumps and bruises in my own life and business…
I’ve learned the hard way that what you don’t know to think about, creeps up and takes a chunk off your behind.
Brand protection nowadays works exactly the same way:
Social media, the Internet and the rise of the many online marketing channels, have shifted the world of trademark registration completely. Protecting your brand assets is a journey, not a destination, one that continues for the life of your brand.
I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer here…
But the bricks to clicks revolution has brought many brands, businesses and startups to their knees, in an instant.
Because if you start using a name or even a logo to sell a product or service, without securing a registered trademark, you’re taking a tremendous risk of:
Industry Competitors start using a similar name — legally piggybacking of your marketing and brand name & forcing you to switch if they file first.
Industry Competitors start using a similar name — legally piggybacking of your marketing and brand name & forcing you to switch if they file first.
Becoming the prey of cybersquatters, domain poachers and thieves who steal your idea and brand assets — leaving you powerless to stop them without a registered trademark as your weapon to do so.
These are just a few of the threats that can destroy an entire business with the click of a mouse…
…in instances where traditional legal principles simply haven’t contemplated yet.
You see, my career as a trademark & copyright attorney is filled with stories of smart clients who didn’t seek or find proper guidance, or who didn’t think it was important.
Some lost protection for their big ideas — scooped up by third parties.
Others got sued for using a name they failed to clear.
Others had rights, but no way to prove it without spending a fortune, since they lacked the benefits of a registered trademark and the legal benefits that come with them.
And most live in a gray area, unsure if their business is built on concrete or quicksand.
This is a true story of what happened to my client Mario…
Don’t get me wrong:
Starting your new business and brand is a momentous occasion for every ambitious individual.
But if you think that you can just pick out a catchy name for your business and set sail, get ready for some rough waters…
Trademark law is a vast, unpredictable, shark-infested territory, made more so with the advent of online marketing for millions of business’ around the globe.
Case in point, I’d like you to meet Mario…
Back in 1998, Mario launched a new company providing web design and computer networking services, naming his business based upon the name of a well-known river.
He also registered a domain that included the name of his company. (Can you guess where this is going?)
Mario picked the name because at the time, it seemed like a great metaphor for the jungle that was the Internet.
What Mario didn’t know was that his business would later be destroyed.
Because of what he didn’t now…
Namely, the simple steps to bulletproof his brand name and stake out his claim to exclusive rights to use the name for the services he was providing to his clients.
You see, Mario wasn’t thinking in terms of building or protecting his brand.
He didn’t understand the importance or value of registering a trademark (that eventually came back to haunt him).
Because the same year Mario launched his business…
Another tiny startup began selling books on the Internet — coincidentally choosing the same name as Mario did.
Fast forward to 2005, and the little online bookstore had turned into a billion-dollar behemoth — Amazon.com.
That same year, Mario started receiving threatening letters.
A large Los Angeles law firm demanded that Mario turned over his domain names while changing the name of his business immediately.
There were no offers, no buyouts, no warnings.
Just a hardcore shakedown with threats and intimidation.
I know, because I defended him.
When our reply wasn’t an immediate “Yes, sir!”… Amazon.com sued Mario for everything he had…
…falsely accusing him of trademark infringement and unfair competition.
Mario was officially the “bad guy” branded “cyber squatter” a term unheard of prior to the Internet.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Mario was the first to use the name for services that were unrelated to those of the startup bookseller, and he had valid legal rights in the name. But, he made a fatal mistake…
A mistake that would cost him his business.
Mario failed to do what the big dogs do:
He failed to mark his territory and stake out his claim, by registering a trademark for “Amazon” in order to protect his business from trademark bullies.
Without a registered trademark to prove his exclusive rights, Mario couldn’t defend his business…
And like most young companies, Mario didn’t have at least $100,000 to prove his rights against a well-funded public company. In today’s dollars, the cost would be 10 times that figure.
So, he was forced to give up his domain names for a pittance, leaving his business crippled.
A modest investment when he launched would have saved his business six years later, or led to a fair buyout of his rights.
Mario’s story demonstrates the importance of staking out your exclusive rights to use a particular brand name to sell certain goods or services but securing a registered trademark. A registered trademark would have served as legal evidence of his rights in the AMAZON for the services he sold, and more. A registered trademark can be a matter of life or death, for your brand. vIt’s like a vacinnation against an unexpected bug that can cause illness or death.
A registered trademark vaccinates your brand against a host of ailments that can destroy brand value.
You can protect your business, and you will win in court as long as you take advantage of well-established PRINCIPLES of trademark law.
But registered trademark doesn’t just come in handy in the case of trademark infringement…
It can be the difference between building a lasting legacy brand or losing rights to the product, service or business for good.
Entrepreneurs often need outside help for investors to get things off the ground…
But before an investor backs their idea with funding, they’re going to need much more than a good idea.
They’re going to need evidence that you value your ideas, by securing your intellectual property.
And as often portrayed in the winning series The Shark Tank…
Several “sharks” have always ask about IP protection with bullish determination.
Strong, weak, or non-existent IP assets can play a significant role in any investor’s decision to invest.
The smart entrepreneurs seeking investment capital.
When faced with the question…
… are able to reply with confidence that their IP and trademark is protected, smiling ear-to-ear. Securing your mark not only protects your business assets, but adds figures to your business valuation and chances to succeed.
Here’s the catch:
While a registered trademark has never been more important to the life and legacy of your business…
It’s never been more complicated because there is a pile of misinformation floating around online.
How do you know the fact from fiction, who to trust and how to find them? It’s a jungle out there!
So where do entrepreneurs like you go to learn about protecting their brand without having to pay a fortune?
How can you find the right legal advice when you need it…
…or defend your business from attacks by trademark-bullies…
… and understand the essential steps you must take before you even think of filing to secure a registered trademark?
And how can you safeguard your brand and business so you can bullet proof your brand, and your business?
What is a trademark and when should you seek to register your brand names?
The types of brand names that qualify for a registered trademark, and which do not.
The process to successfully secure a registered trademark.
Reasons your application will be refused and ways you can avoid rejection.
How to avoid being misled or scammed by dishonest opportunists.
How to side step bad advice and find an expert you can trust.
In your copy of the Owners’ Guide you will learn the exact brand protection philosophies, principles, and strategies that hundreds of my actual clients have used to:
Defend their business against unexpected threats & trademark bullies
Create a memorable brand they can market safely to make a greater impact in the world
Leverage wealth and create a sustainable business legacy by using IP and securing the rights to legally protectable assets
You will learn how to use registered trademarks as a cost-effective way to immunize the life of your brand against today’s many cyber threats.
At last, you will understand how to choose a brand name worthy of legal protection, how to successfully navigate the registration process, avoid the scams and rip-offs plaguing trademark owners seeking to register the names, and how to find expert advice when you need it.
That’s my intention — to help you create a holistic strategy to stand your ground against trespassers, and stake your claim when your IP is hijacked… by developing and implementing a plan to secure your brand assets using registered trademarks as an essential tool in your arsenal.
You will also learn to use Intellectual Property to add measurable value to the value of your business, leverage wealth and build a legacy brand, exactly the way the big brands do.
Most important, you will learn to avoid the reasons your application will be refused, and how to avoid the pain of rejection by following my proven 3-step process to bulletproof your brand assets:
Every single week I speak with business owners who confide in me that they… picked the wrong mark.
This is why the first step our asset-protecting journey is “Select.”
It is vital that you choose a mark that intersects with legal protection, since making the wrong choice can send your hard-earned money and time down the drain.
It’s a common mistake, filing for a registered trademark before doing your homework before filing for a registered trademark. Protection for your brand begins with a plan, and that begins with Step 1, Select. I sometimes say, “Vax Your Brand with a Plan.”
Selecting the right mark is simple once you understand the basics I reveal in my book:
The single most important word for escaping the struggle of trial & error seeking protection for a brand name — ignoring this mean your mark is incapable of being registered or enforced. Page 18
How competitors hijack your brand name and steal your traffic with Google’s blessing — and how you can put an end to this practice once and for all. Page 26
The “fool’s errand” phrase companies use that sends their trademark application straight to the trash — and ways to get yours approved. Page 17
Does your company sell products and services online worldwide? Here’s an inexpensive inoculation process to prevent any brand afflictions that plague brand owners online. Page 19
The easiest and cheapest way to stop domain hijackers without the need to file a full lawsuit — without THIS, the costs and time requirements skyrocket. Page 26
Caution: Your trademark is up for grabs on all social media platforms — complaint procedures are useless when trying to stop infringing use unless you have secured a registered trademark to establish your rights. in page 27
Why “Chinese carbon copy” products will soon rule the world. One way to stop them and save your brand is by enlisting the Customs and Border Protection to prevent the fake goods from being imported into the US. How to ensure their cooperation (This alone can save you millions in others wise lost sales, by the way) on Page 28
How Apple survived one of the biggest legal fistfights in trademark history (Understanding why is pivotal for your business). Page 44
And many more…
Once you’ve selected a brand name that’s memorable and legally protectable …
How will you vax your brand with a plan for protection using a registered trademark?
The trademark registration process can be a mystical and unnerving path for the uninitiated, full of traps and roadblocks.
But imagine knowing exactly what to do, having the roadmap in place to show you how to proceed and what to avoid…
THAT is the power of the foundational principle #2, Secure, which will help insure that your trademark application process is seamless, and greatly increase the chances that your application will be approved, and your registration will issue.
On page 75 of my new book, I reveal the three ways you can file to register a U.S. trademark.
But that’s not all…
You have to start selling products and services before you can file for trademark, right? WRONG! There’s a sneaky — but completely ethical way — to “reserve” your trademark in advance of the first actual sale. Works like a charm for startups, too. Learn exactly how in page 77
The unfair but totally legal loophole in U.S. law which allows foreigners to file without proof of actual use of the trademark. Page 79
When Trademark Examiners wrongly refuse your trademark application! Here’s a crafty solution I guarantee 90% of your competition is neglecting. Page 81
Filing a trademark without doing THIS is like walking into a dark and crowded room without turning on the lights. How to eliminate chances of rejection on page 85
The #1 trend marketing and advertising teams get dead-wrong… causing an almost certain refusal to a trademark (This can hamstring years of company growth). Page 88
The “Genericide” infestation that plagues brands. The main symptom? Loss of trademark… which are buried in the trademark graveyard along with other lost trademarks like cellophane, aspirin, cellophane, and yes, even the zipper!
What if you woke up one day and realized there’s a replica of your site in the Netherlands offering your same training certification program in Dutch? Happened to one of my clients. Learn the remedies for domain infringements. Page 69
And many more…
With proper pre-filing planning, correct filing, successfully overcoming rejection, you will one day receive the good news:
“Your application to register a trademark is approved.”
You will soon be the proud owner of a registered trademark for your brand and business.
Are you protected now? Yes, indeed you are, AND…
the work is just about to begin.
Brand protection is a process and journey. Your registered trademark is the beginning, not the end of that journey, one that never ends!
Now, you are required to monitor and police your rights you fought to secure, lest those rights will be lost over time through neglect.
That means monitoring the market against infringers, or companies who offer goods and services too closely related to yours, as well as maintaining registrations in good standing.
What happens if you never change the oil in your car or do some routine maintenance to keep it in good running condition?
The car eventually stops working.
It’s the same with a registered trademark.
The good news is…
Your journey to a safe and secure brand does not need to suck up your time…
Once you apply Step 3 of my proven process, you’ll see how this game is played and how you can rise as the victor.
You don’t have to struggle through the woods on your own. Inside, you’ll find…
The tested 5-steps to follow to monitor your trademark rights and eliminate the risk of theft loss of brand equity. Page 99
Personal Branding: How to use the power of personal brand so you can get paid for who you are, not what you do — for the long term. Page 67
Can you protect your brand if a hater buys the domain “yourbrand.sucks”? Yes, you can! Learn how on page 100
WARNING: Many small business owners never get control of their trademark. Those that don’t can fall prey to threats and intimidation from trademark bullies, giving up rights for no good reason! Here’s what you should do to sleep safe and sound. Page 109
Why using discount fillings services like Legal Zoom, Trademarkia or Trademark Plus to file your trademark can result in filing for the wrong mark, or the wrong goods or services, and give you a false sense of protection, when in fact your registration is all but worthless. (Hint: They don’t use actual attorneys and you are filling out the form for the Trademark Office anyway!) Page 107
CONGRATULATIONS, your trademark is approved. Now, it’s game’s on… Learn how to fend off any trespassers and police your mark and build your legacy. Page 98
Hiring a family lawyer to protect your brand is like visiting a foot doctor for a heart transplant. Save time, effort and ensure the health of your business by hiring the right valuable partner during the brand protection process. Page 113
The truth about finding effective trademark guidance. How can you find a capable attorney? Key questions to ask before seeking help to save you thousands of your hard-earned money. Page 114
And many more…
I wrote this book in simple, layman’s terms to empower entrepreneurs and business owners like you to sidestep trademark bullies, online poachers, money scams and rip-offs, and to build a legacy brand that adds currency to the value of your company.
You won’t find any legal jargon inside.
Just valuable information with what you need to know about safeguarding valuable brand assets…
…with a good dose of legal horror stories so you know exactly what to avoid.
Regardless of the fact that Registered Trademark became an international best-seller in its first week in the marketplace, it’s not for everyone. . Building a valuable portfolio of Intellectual Property requires a certain mindset.
If you don’t want to invest time and funds into safeguarding your brand and business, this book is not for you.
If you are in business for quick profits and you’re jumping from idea to idea without caring about building a memorable brand, this book is not for you.
Or if you love generic descriptive domain names which are the antithesis of a memorable brand, this book isn’t for you
But if you’re ready to…
Make a modest investment of time and money to protect what’s rightfully yours
Side-step a growing number of online scams, rip-offs and cheap alternatives that trade dimes for dollars
Build valuable Intellectual Property that increase the bottom line and helps ready your business when potential investors and buyers come knocking.
Use your Intellectual Property wisely to grow your business and create a legacy for your business and your family
…Registered Trademark is going to take you there.
Here’s a big mistake entrepreneurs make…
They hear the message about protecting their assets, but then they do nothing about it.
And when cybersquatters, domain poachers and thieves show up in their yard, they’re exposed and incapable to stop them…
Or when a potential investor asks them how they protect their IP, they look at them like a deer in headlights…
Whether you choose to go it alone, or use a trusted adviser, I implore you to enhance your brand and product by registering a trademark.
So if you’re thinking…
“maybe I’ll move forward out in 6 months or a year from now”…
Hear me out. Read this book, take action and avoid any rude awakenings.
Every moment without the concepts shared in Registered Trademark could be costing you business opportunity, revenue and growth. The best time to file for trademark was yesterday.
The next best time is now. This book will flip a switch in your mind so you can finally ensure the safety of your brand and hand you the keys to unlock greater business and financial success.
You know why I wrote this book?
Because since I entered this industry, I’ve heard and witnessed too many horror stories.
Brands that lost their value overnight. Businesses that closed up shop for good. Entrepreneurs who’ve lost what they’ve worked so hard to build.
So I’ve made it my MISSION to get this integrity-driven guide into as many people’s hands as possible because frankly, this is much needed.
Most business owners struggle because they’re basing their asset-protecting efforts off incomplete — and downright inaccurate — information. They lack a clear path to move forward that shelters their brand and business leaving them liable.
When they do attempt something, it’s often done the wrong way, as the trademark they filed for does not cover them, doing their brand more harm than good.
Worst of all, many business owners fall prey to cyber squatters, trademark bullies and online scams, giving up good money and brand equity for nothing.
This all ends today with Registered Trademark. I believe this should be mandatory reading before anyone even starts their business or sets out on a new venture because it sets you up to win.
So if you’re ready to harness the power of asset protection, and reinforce the image and value of your brand, get your copy today.