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WEEKLY MINUTES: ADVICE FROM A PATENT AND TRADEMARK EXPERT an interview with Dr. Christal Sheppard

On this episode of Weekly Minutes with Brandon Williams, we get to sit down with Dr. Christal Sheppard, Director of the Midwest Region of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

One of the goals of the office is to make sure that the innovation economy understands the world of patents and trademarks. They want to provide resources and information for people to educate themselves.

You don’t necessarily need to hire expensive lawyers to get started. Dr. Sheppard give two pieces of valuable advice to get you started.

  1. Educate yourself
  2. Know the basics

Go to seminars, research resources or go to uspto.gov to learn more about what might be needed in regards to copyrights, patents, trademarks and more. It’s important to educate yourself as much as possible, prior to hiring a lawyer (you may not even need one).

In addition, and really this links directly with educating yourself, know the basics. Do a trademark search at uspto.gov before you start spending money on signage and making business cards with a business name that you love. You may not be able to use it? And a simple search can save you a lot of time and money.

The USPTO has a large library of resources and information to help entrepreneurs. Check it out here: https://www.uspto.gov. They provide an easy search function and a wealth of valuable information:

  • Basic information about patents and trademarks
  • A patent and trademark search
  • Description of the process to obtain a patent and trademark
  • Information on the fees and payments associated
  • News and current information about patents and trademarks

Here are two additional articles directly relating to patents and trademarks from some of our favorite sources:

What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Patents by Inc.

What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Trademarks by Forbes

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