At the first meeting with a potential client, they often (somewhat shamefacedly) say, “I’m not really sure if I need a trademark or copyright or something else. I guess that I don’t know the difference.”  They say it like of course, they should know the difference. Why wouldn’t they know? I mean everyone but them knows, right?  But, of course, we know that is all a bunch of hooey.  This stuff is not on everyone’s “Things I Know” list.  I mean, we have a lot of other important things to remember, like all of the words to a 1990’s TV show theme song.

So what do we expect you to know if not that?  Well, the stuff we can’t know such as: 

  • What are your pain points?
  • What are your goals?
  • What is your budget?
  • What constraints do you have?
    • Is there a time line?
    • Do you have the right players? Do you need some referrals?
    • Are there prior agreements that limit your actions?
  • Whose buy-in do you need? 
    • This may be the decision maker or it may be the implementors.
    • Do you have their thoughts or a plan to get them?

Believe it or not, all of these can help us figure out what it is that you need – even if it is a trademark, a copyright, or both.  Often, when that client comes and says they might need one of those things, the answer is that both could happen, but we need to know which is best for them at this time.  And sometimes the answer is neither.  Sometimes the answer is they need to get ten other things done and ready before a trademark or a copyright matters.  Like creating an LLC or putting together an independent contractor agreement or assignment.  And we need to know the answers to the questions above to best help.  So don’t worry about what you don’t know but we do when you call us. Focus on what only you can know and help us understand that.  We’ll worry about helping you understand how those answers impact the legal options.  It makes us feel good about spending all that time and money at law school.