LaunchHER Law :: Tell the Copycats to SCAT!

LaunchHER says ::  Again this week, we are thrilled to share LaunchHER Law with you!  Today’s feature is part three in our series by Kara Jensen Zitnick, Esq.  A seasoned small business attorney, Kara’s advice in Week One and Week Two was spot-on!  Already looking forward to next week!
Tell the Copycats to SCAT!
By
Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq.
Jensen Zitnick, P.A.
JensenZitnickPA@gmail.com
Twitter :: @launchherlaw
The material contained herein is meant as general information only and should not be taken as legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of merely reading this article.  Should you require legal assistance, you may inquire further via email at JensenZitnickPA@gmail.com.
            Understanding the basics concepts of copyright law is essential whether you are a blogger, researcher, author, photographer, or anyone who publishes their own creative works.  Primarily, you should have a basic understanding of copyright law in order to protect your own legal rights.  Secondly, a working knowledge of copyright law will guide you on how you can lawfully use someone else’s work – whether you are summarizing that work, quoting from it, or reprinting.
What Copyright Covers
            Copyright law is a federal law which covers a broad spectrum of creative work, referred to as “works of authorship,” protecting almost all creative work that can be written down or otherwise captured in a tangible form:
·         Literary works (any prose or any other form of “words-only” creative work)
·         Musical works (covers music and lyrics)
·         Dramatic works (plays and accompanying music)
·         Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works (any kind of two- or three-dimensional art)
·         Motion pictures and other audiovisual works (any kind of multimedia; television shows, YouTube videos, movies)
·         Sound recordings (a separate copyright protects a recording artist’s rendition of the above music and lyrics)
·         Architectural works (blueprints for buildings)
Copyright Ownership
            Owning a copyright gives you the exclusive use of that work.  You hold the exclusive right to publish, copy or otherwise reproduce that work; whether to distribute the work; and to display or perform the work. Ownership also gives you the exclusive right to prepare the original work in a new form, “derivative works,” such as making a novel into a movie.
            Acquiring a copyright for your creative work is very easy. Really, you do not need to take any additional steps beyond creating the work for a copyright to exist.  Publication of the creative work is not a requirement.  Attaching a copyright notice or registering the work with the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress isn’t required, either.  The only requirement, under the law, is that the copyrightable works be “original.”
So Why Register Your Copyrighted Work?
            My previous two articles for LaunchHER have both emphasized the importance of any business endeavor to consider what their intellectual property consists of and what their value is to the business.  During the course of those discussions we’ve touched on copyrights and mentioned how the legal protections that copyright law offers should be given serious thought to. But if your work is copyrighted upon completion, why copyright, you may ask?  Great question.
            Because a copyright is part of that field we’ve talked about called “intellectual property,” a copyright, just like the other intangible property that makes up IP (trademarks, patents and trade secrets), can be bought sold, given away, licensed to others and bequeathed at death. For example: an author’s contract with a publisher is a license; the copyright is held by the author, but the revenue of the book is shared with the publisher when the author gives the publisher permission to edit, print and distribute the work.  Freelancer writers, especially in the newspaper realm, often sell their works outright. If, as part of your employment, you create copyrighted works, ownership of the copyright most likely belongs to the employer as part of your relationship.
            Copyright law grants the holder five exclusive rights to control the distribution and use of the copyrighted work.  The 5 exclusive rights are:
1.      The reproduction right;
2.      The derivative work right;
3.      The distribution right;
4.      The performance right; and,
5.      The display right.
The importance of formally registering your copyright and depositing a copy of your work for possible collection by the Library of Congress as required by the federal copyright statutes, attaches when you feel a copyrighted work of yours is being/has been infringed upon.  An owner cannot sue for copyright infringement until the copyright is registered.  In the event you discover what you believe to be infringement, in order to bring suit and recover statutory damages as well as attorneys’ fees, your copyright must be formally registered.  Monetary awards in copyright infringement cases usually consist of damages, profits, and statutory damages.
What You Can Do
            To afford your creative works the full extent of copyright protection, you may want to consider formally registering and depositing copies of the work with the Library of Congress.  In doing so, not only are you adding another protective layer to your creative venture’s assets, you are also telling those would-be copycats to scat.  A formal copyright registration and proof thereof is another tell-tale sign of the intelligence behind the creativity of your brand.
©2010 Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq. All rights reserved
No part may be copied or reproduced with express written permission from the author.
Jensen Zitnick, P.A.

New Sponsor :: J & J Inspirations

Welcome new sponsor J & J Inspirations!
J & J Inspirations had makes everything – from Fancy Aprons, Dress, and Custom Creations!  They use only quality fabrics to hand make each and every design!  This mother / daughter duo makes a great team… combining over 50 years of seamstress skills!  A LaunchHER favorite – amazing products, and an incredible business!  Check them out!!
Follow J & J Inspirations on Twitter

You too can be in good company! {All advertisers on our blog receive a 220×100 spot plus a blog post! Contact us at hello@launchHER.com to reserve your spot!}

Freshly Launched :: Alicia Shulman

Freshly Launched ::  Alicia Shulman
Launched ::  Alicia Shulman, designer

LaunchHER says ::  That’s it.  Our Christmas lists are done. Looking at Alicia’s creations has us dreaming of these luscious jewels and incredible pieces day and night. When you enter Alicia’s site, you see the phrase… “What began as innocent flirtation with stones quickly turned into a full blown love affair.” As the designer, she has captured exactly how we feel about her pieces – in love!

Not only is the Alicia Shulman jewelry line extraordinary, but more importantly – so is the woman behind the business!  The developement of her business from a creative passion to a business idea to a thriving enterprise is inspiring and motivating to the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us!

In HER words ::

One might ask how does a girly girl find herself on an HBO boxing ring shooting world championship fights, in the trenches of the ultimate boys club … And how does this same girl re create herself launching a jewelry line?  That was me.  From the ring to the bling, from the world of Don King to the world of Kate Spade where my first styles sold out nationwide for three years. 
The common thread for all things creative for me has always been color and composition, probably my strongest natural instincts … be it a photo, or in this case translated to another vehicle, jewelry.  Having stumbled upon some stones on a trip, I came home and started playing round with them and just loved the tactile aspect versus the photography I was used to … and I like to say: what began as innocent flirtation with stones quickly escalated to a full blown love affair … and business. 
My inspiration most always is water, the lush color stories I see in the Caribbean, and nature …and that can take shape in an organic piece made from aquamarine stones or an enameled cuff studded with Swarovski crystal .. reflecting the two sides of my personality and hopefully speaking to women’s different moods. 
The brand has come to represent the resort lifestyle with clients including:  The Breakers, Las Ventanas, The Cove, Parrot Cay, Montage Laguna, Calypso stores. 
The line has enjoyed press in many publications and television shows incl: Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Lucky, Oprah, Travel + Leisure, Hamptons, Zink, The Today Show, Tyra Banks Show, Entourage … and has been seen on many great women from Sharon Stone to Joss Stone and Kelly Ripa to Kelly Rowland. 
I love the creative process, and look forward to the day when I can move this little business forward to where I’m able to focus on creating and promoting, and working towards expanding into beach bags, hair accessories, and caftans/sarongs … it will be a natural and exciting progression. 
It’s a wonderful feeling that something I created becomes part of a woman’s  wardrobe, something she chooses to wear to express herself in a positive way to the world and hopefully have fun wearing, perhaps even handing down to a daughter.
Just for LaunchHER readers ::  Shop a Alicia Shulman and receive 20 percent off with the coupon code LAUNCHHER, on purchases over from 100.00.  Good thru 10/31/2010.

LaunchHER Law :: A Brand With A Plan

LaunchHER says :: Last Wednesday, LaunchHER’s own small-business attorney, Kara Jensen Zitnick, Esq, shared with us an incredible post entitled Trademark for the Indiepreneur. We are now THRILLED to offer the second in her series.  Stay tuned for more regular articles, geared specifically toward the entrepreneur!

A Brand With A Plan
By
Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq.
Jensen Zitnick, P.A.
JensenZitnickPA@gmail.com
Twitter :: @JensenZitnickPA
The material contained herein is meant as general information only and should not be taken as legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of merely reading this article.  Should you require legal assistance, you may inquire further via email at JensenZitnickPA@gmail.com. 
In my post last week, Trademark for the Indiepreneur, I shared with you important considerations when naming your business and introduced the basics of trademarks to you.  Today I’m going to pull back a bit and talk big picture when it comes to your Intellectual Property (IP).
A Brand
Your brand can consist of a variety of components:  the business name, the logo, colors, font, a “look” and “feel,” all of which work together to form your brand’s identity. 
The term “brand” isn’t limited just to a business with tangible products. The “brand” could be YOU.  If you are a consultant, YOU are your brand.  The “brand” could also be a blog.  Perhaps you don’t sell a thing, and you aren’t a consultant, but you’ve created a pretty spiffy little blog, posting regular writings that garner quite a bit of traffic, comments, and reposts. 
In each of these three scenarios, you have created a brand.  And you’ve put yourself out there with a domain name, website, name and logo.  And you’ve worked darn hard just to get to the point of having an on-line presence. But as you were burning the midnight oil getting your name out there, you forgot one crucial consideration:  how will you protect your brand?
A Plan
So often it is easy to get caught-up in the day-to-day workings of your business.  Especially if you are just starting out, you are the CEO and chief bottle washer, and everything in between.  In order to keep everything running smoothly, I’m sure you’ve devised plans, procedures and strategies:  steps that guide you in handling the nitty gritty of running business.  From strategies to expand or improve your current product offers, to procedures for customer inquiries, you’ve got it all.  Except, ,maybe, a plan that not only protects your brand, but includes brand cohesiveness.
A Strategy for Brand Protection
In order to make your branding and your IP work for you, you need a strategy for brand protection and cohesiveness.  So where to begin?  You need to step back and take a look at anything that identifies you, your business, your product – the intangibles. Intangibles that are unique to you are the core of your IP and your brand and can include the obvious (business name and logo), but don’t overlook trademarks, domain name, trade secrets or written materials.  All need to be protected.
After you have identified the intangibles, rank them in order of importance to your business. This will give you a clear picture of where your brand protection efforts should be concentrated.
By identifying your own valuable intangibles, you are taking the first step toward brand protection and cohesiveness. 
What’s the Point?
And, why should I care? is probably what you are thinking.  It’s quite simple:  one of the best ways to garner value for your business in the early stages is using IP law (trademark, copyright, etc) to protect your creative work as soon as you reveal it to the world.  Ideally, before you issue the first press release, open up the merchant account, tweet your first tweet, or announce your presence to the world.
In the event you’ve already issued the press release, your merchant account is on fire and your number of twitter followers grows each day, your next smart business decision should be to make a plan for your brand.
If you know you need a plan and a strategy for brand protection, but don’t know where to start, I offer flat-fee IP/brand assessments specifically for indie businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.  You may contact me at JensenZitnickPA@gmail.com for further inquiry.
©2010 Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq. All rights reserved
No part may be copied or reproduced with express written permission from the author.
Jensen Zitnick, P.A.

Freshly Launched :: Francesca Joy Palm Beach

Freshly Launched :: Francesca Joy Palm Beach
Launched :: Artist-Designer Elise Francesca

LaunchHER says :: 
We are simply wild for these hand-painted and hand-crafted pieces.  The vibrancy of these products is contagious… and we are thrilled to be caught up in this world of color!!  Without a doubt, Elise is an artist to watch.  So excited to feature her as she’s just getting started!

In HER words ::

Going to sleep at night thinking in design and color, I always wish to translate these ideas into patterns and abstracts of all sorts that people can not only appreciate- but also wear. As the artist-designer behind the lifestyle brand Francesca Joy Palm Beach, I give life to paintings and fine art through apparel and home décor.  
FJPB was born entirely on the basis of art fused with fashion. Using the word “fashion” in accordance with FJPB is tricky, as fashion trends go in and out, but designs and color schemes can be around forever. As an artist, I’ve found paintings are both unforgettable, and inspiring in one way or another. To take this into the fashion/home decor world on the lifestyle brand path, seemed the most appropriate, as I wish to create sophisticated and timeless pieces that all ages can enjoy, for a very long time.
With Palm Beach as our home base, this setting ignites the lush, coastal vibe in the colors and designs- from everything to our tote bag collection to our table runners. Whether an abstract pillow based on one of my paintings, or a traditional, nautical anchor with my own spin on it, there really is something for everyone.
We are definitely a “women owned” brand. My business partner, Carolyn Roy, is an interior designer based in Palm Beach, and my mom, Rhonda Fargnoli, is also an artist. One of my best friends, Alexandra Picerne, a design student in Chicago, is also a partner. We feel very strongly about products made in America. That’s why, I so proud to say that FJPB is entirely made in the USA. In the future, I hope to give artists the opportunity to be able to paint, and be paid for their talents!
As a 21 year old designer, I feel as though my designs and paintings are never paralyzed–the work is honest, and never jaded. Youth is my biggest inspiration by far. Everyone wants to feel youth- and in the spirit of color, the vibrancy is undeniable, and also very contagious.

Keep up with this incredible artist through her website, or via Facebook!

Just for LaunchHER readers ::
Through September 20th, take 20% off all tote bags, table runners, and pillows.  Contact Elise to take advange of this offer, or to order a custom product!

LaunchHER EXCLUSIVE :: A Weekend in the Life of Casi Densmore-Koon, cupcakeMAG editor: New York Fashion Week Edition

LaunchHER EXCLUSIVE ::  A Weekend in the Life of Casi Densmore-Koon, cupcakeMAG editor: New York Fashion Week Edition 

LaunchHER says ::  We are thrilled beyond words to share this EXCLUSIVE New York Fashion Week report from LaunchHER fav and the owner of a fabulous woman-owned business… cupcakeMAG editor, Casi Densmore-Koon!  CupcakeMAG is THE spot to get your fashion fix and the hottest news from the runway.. as well as giveaways galore!  More than that, Casi Densmore-Koon is a sponsor, supporter, and great friend of LaunchHER.  And, let’s face it – the fact that she has met Rachel Zoe, among others, makes her practically a celebrity to us!

Enjoy the behind-the-scenes-glimpse and the photos GALORE!  And then be sure to stay up with the latest by following Casi and cupcakeMAG on Twitter and Facebook

In HER words :: Guest post by Casi Densmore-Koon!
A Weekend in the Life of Casi Densmore-Koon, cupcakeMAG editor: New York Fashion Week Edition

It’s Fashion Week mayhem in New York… which means my days just run together. It’s 3:47 am on Friday, September 10th, and my alarm is going off at 5:30 am. But yet I’m still emailing my cupcakeMAG team their schedules for the big week, along with working on things for cupcake not just surrounded by New York Fashion Week. I sleep for 2.4 seconds and I’m up (OOTD: BCBG Tunic, Forever 21 Leggings and Naya Knee High boots) and getting ready to head to the big city for the fast paced chaotic weekend. Grab Starbucks, and on off we go! We have a 4 hour trip… you probably think I will sleep right? Nope! I take out the MacBook Pro and work on our latest celeb interview with Khloe Kardashian (edit, grab images, etc) and get up-to-date on pre-fashion week coverage. Basically, I work until we hit Tribeca. We rush to check in at the hotel with only a few minutes to spare before our first show, Michael Angel… followed by non-stop shows and events for Fashion’s Night Out.



In 3 days we will cover 45 shows. In 8 days total we cover….eight times that! BCBG, Ports 1961, Betsey Johnson, Alexander Berardi, Nicole Miller, Lacoste, Cynthia Rowley, Jill Stuart, ADAM, Yoana Baraschi, Vivienne Tam, Mara Hoffman, Nicholas K, Whitney Port, Charolotte Ronson, Zac Posen, Christian Siranio, Venexian, DVF to name a few! 



We also get to take in offsite presentations and events: Alice + Olivia, Saks Fifth Avenue, QVC with The Kardashians, Callula Lillibelle, Victoria Beckham, and many more. And just think… it all starts over in February for the Fall collections! Keep in mind I had one of my assistants, Dwayne Knight, and Fashion/Beauty Director, Shasta Moczulski, with me to take on the city.



Day One :: We begin with 3 fashion shows before starting the night’s events for Fashion’s Night Out. OOTN: Rebecca Taylor Sequin number, Fendi heels and Elaine Turner bag. First stop is QVC Live with The Kardashians, Rachel Zoe, Anna Wintour and so many more!



Next stop is off to meet Caroline, Dina and Lauren Manzo at Bloomingdales and watch them sing karaoke followed by the grand event for QVC with Anna Wintour, The Kardashians and more!



Then off to the meat packing district for a pop-up shop opening and a chat with Kelly Cutrone. The face to face interview with Kelly Cutrone turns into an amazing convo between us – no longer a interview. Genuine, brilliant and just wow describe her presence.

We finally get to eat but it is only McDonalds (only thing open at 1am!!), which we take back to the room. We discuss the days events and work until about 4am. The alarm goes off way to soon.


Day Two: Up bright and early at 8am thanks to my darling hubs calling with a child dilemma!  Once again rushing around to get ready! First stop Lacoste, followed by Cynthia Rowley, Jill Stuart, Prabal Gurung, and Adam all at Lincoln Center. OOTD: Forever 21 Chiffon Top, DVF Leggings, Velvet Angels Stiletto Sandal, Marc Jacobs Bag and David Yurman jewels. Now onto Vivienne Tam where we have a backstage interview with the designer. Backstage we spot Kendra Wilkinson and Serena Williams checking out the collection. After the show we grab a cab to head to an offsite presentation of Callula Lillibelle – one of our favorites of the day! We finally get a break to head back to the hotel, grab a late lunch and get ready for our event of the evening.

Back to the meat packing district we catch-up and sit down with Caroline Manzo again at the exclusive showing of The Kardashians Beach Bunny Swimwear collection. We take in the atmosphere at our reserved booth and front row seats. The event is fabulous, and who doesn’t love a free cocktail! We hail a cab back to Times Square to our hotel, the Marriott Marquis. Just as we arrive I get a text from Caroline asking for us to come back to meet a friend who works for Elle Magazine. Well, we can’t miss this opportunity so we jump in a cab and tell him to hurry for double the tip! He gets the job done. Rush back in grab Caroline and chat it up with her friend.

Hour later we head back to Timesquare for dinner at midnight. We order almost everything on the menu – its basically our first meal of the day besides the almonds in our purse. Head back to the hotel around 2am and finally hit the pillow around 5am.

Day Three: Wake up at 8:30am and head down to get tea and cough drops. I woke up with a fever and feeling like I got hit  by a truck (a total hot mess!), but I know I still have a day of work to do… so I can’t stop. And it looks like rain in the city, which is just never fun in heels!

First stop is the Belle Parish Fashion Show, which is Ali Landry’s collection. We meet with Ali backstage to see the collection before it walks the runway. We meet and greet with The Real Housewives of New York, Alex McCord and Denise Richards. The energy at this show is just amazing!


The celebrity models and real-life moms will be walking down the runway with little girls – how sweet! We grab our seat, front-row next to Simon Van Kempen (Alex’s husband) and his two sweet little boys! After the show we grab a cab back to Lincoln Center to finish off the days show before catching our car back to DC at 10pm. A few from the cupcakeMAG team stay back to finish the weeks shows as my motherly duties at home call. We finally arrive to my house a little after 2am. Sick and exhausted but so worth every second of the weekend!

So many ask me about the reality of my job and how I do this each and every day … but really it is about being ambitious, going after your dream, having that passion and drive will get you anywhere in life. You have to believe in yourself to be successful and make it happen. Like Tim Gunn says, “make it work” — anyone can you just have to find your passion and drive to make it – all about good karma too and kicking out the negativity. I have learned one thing – don’t let anyone get you down – brush it off your shoulders and don’t get consumed with drama. That would be my advice to anyone in this industry or in any industry.

At the end of the day it is all about those around me who support me. My fan club – husband, three girls and my close knit family and friends. I also can’t forget my second family – the cupcakeMAG team. Without them I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today. They are always there through the chaotic mess of things, the drama and the front-row seating. However, they never complain and work their asses off. My life may be a constant chaotic whirlwind but I wouldn’t change a thing.


LaunchHER says :: Don’t forget to stay up to speed with Casi and cupcakeMAG on Twitter and Facebook!  And for fashionable treats for chic-moms and their babes, head to Casi’s other incredible site – Sprinkles!

Freshly Launched :: Tri Originals

Freshly Launched :: Tri Originals

Launched :: Patti Fortune

LaunchHER says ::  Earlier this year, I completed my first Triathalon.  It was a HUGE accomplishment in my life – my own personal Mt. Everest, if you will… So, when Tri Originals crossed our path and we checked out Patti’s incredibly encouraging and inspiring products, we said – “YES!”  We are absolutely enthralled with these unique, handmade pieces.  Perfection, Patti! Love, love, LOVE!!

In HER words :: 
Tri Originals is a celebration of my life as an artist and an athlete, a reminder of my goals, my dreams and my accomplishments.

It would seem that one way or another I am always trying to come up with something new and share my enthusiasm with others. My love of sports and art came together when I wanted to “wear the feeling” of crossing the finish line of my first triathlon. I made a bracelet with the time and date of my race and I wore it day and night. A few months later I began to train with friends for more events and making jewelry for each of us to help inspire us to keep going.  Before too long I was making special pieces for everything we were doing.

I love that when I finish a piece it makes me happy. What a great thing to be excited about making something for someone that is personal and unique and at the same time bringing me such joy.

I made the jump from celebrating triathlons to celebrating life with inspirational painting. Being creative, active and caring for the people that I love and admire, is for me the greatest expression of all that I am passionate about. It is my desire to create unique jewelry and gifts that celebrate the success of what we do in our lives and that can be an inspiration to be the best we can be.

As one thing leads to another in my mind, I am often drawn to the colourful world of children’s art. I love the colours and the whimsical characters. When I think happy thoughts… I paint in bright colours.

Tri Originals is about the excitement and positive energy of life every day and a reminder to enjoy the moment. Whether you are celebrating a race or celebrating life… I truly believe that you can if you tri!

Stay in touch with Patti through her Blog… and be sure to visit her online store!

Just for LaunchHER readers ::
Enter code LaunchHER and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order, now through December 3, 2010!

LaunchHER Law :: Trademark for the Indiepreneur

LaunchHER Law :: Trademark for the Indiepreneur

By Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq.
 
The naming of a business is much like that of naming a newborn.  Entrepreneurs mull and fret over every angle of a potential name for their venture not unlike the naming process new parents go through either during pregnancy or soon after giving birth.  And the comparison is just, since starting a business from the ground up is so much like raising a child, nurturing a newborn. Usually “the perfect name” is identified as such as soon as it passes the lips of the speaker.  So in the business world, upon hearing what sounds like “the perfect name,” we quickly run off to check if the domain name is available. And when we discover the name is, indeed, available, we snap it up, breathing a sigh of relief in the belief that we have just secured our business name and it is now OURS.  And protected.  And will forever be.  Not so fast.
 
Trademark law
In the legal world, intellectual property (“IP”), is a protection on an individual to share their works and ideas with others and the world.  Through IP law, individuals secure rights over creative works for a limited period of time. IP law is commonly comprised of patent, trademark, and copyright law. 
Trademark law exists to protect the investment a company has made in their brand and its goodwill.  If there has been no investment, there is nothing to protect.  Which is just a confusing way of saying that in order to secure a trademark, you must actually have something to protect in order to register it.
 
What can be a trademark?
Any indicator of goods or services can be a trademark.  Common items that can serve as a trademark are:
  • Names (company names, product names);
  • Domain names (if they label a product or service);
  • Images;
  • Symbols;
  • Logos;
  • Slogans or phrases;
  • Colors;
  • Product design; and,
  • Product packaging (knows as “trade dress”).
Other types of trademarks are possible – the key element is that the word, phrase, symbol or design element act as an identifier for goods or services.
 
DIY Trademark Tips
When you find a business name that is beyond a generic mark or descriptive phrase and is “distinctive,” you are ready to secure that name for yourself.
1.      Google search – search for the business name within the stream of commerce.  If you don’t find the particular name in the Google search, the odds of that name being used in the stream of commerce are slim.
2.      Domain search – search the availability of the name and grab it right away if it is available.
3.      Professional search – there are search firms out there whose sole business is to search business names for availability.  Searches usually cost around $250 and are well worth the money.
4.      Register the mark – file a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
 
Reasons to register your mark
There are those business owners out there who do not recognize the value and intelligence in registering their trademark.  Some believe that because they own the domain name and have been using their business name in the stream of commerce, they “have the rights” to that name; thus, erroneously believing their mark cannot be infringed upon or registered by someone else.
By registering your mark, you give your mark a presumption of validity should you ever be in the position to enforce your mark against someone else.  This presumption of validity can go a long way in stopping future potential litigation in its tracks.
 
Special consideration for indiepreneurs, artisans, designers and the creative community
So many times, when in the newbie start-up phase, I hear people talk about “trademarking’ their business as being on their “to-do list.”  And that they will think about registering their business name as a trademark “when the cash flow is more steady” or whatever benchmark you want to insert here.  While registering a trademark can seem costly, especially at the start-up phase and in comparison to other start-up costs, by NOT registering your mark and securing legal protection for your business name, you are placing your entire enterprise in jeopardy.  When you delay the trademark registration process, you open the door to the possibility of finding yourself in the unenviable position of either defending your unregistered trademark (good luck to you with that) or surrendering “the perfect business name” you searched high and low for to the savvy business person who did not delay in registering their “perfect business name.”
While you do not have to hold a law degree to file a trademark registration, why not leave this all-important task to the professionals? Smart business people outsource those tasks which require specialized knowledge and expertise beyond their capability so that they can concentrate on what they know and what they do best – running their business.
 
 
The material contained herein is meant as general information only and should not be taken as legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of merely reading this article.  Should you require legal assistance, you may inquire further via email at Kara Jensen Zitnick at kara@launchHER.com.  
©2010 Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq. All rights reserved
No part may be copied or reproduced with express written permission from the author.
 

Freshly Launched :: Lil’ Cupcakes Design

Freshly Launched ::  Lil’ Cupcakes Design

Launched ::  Candice and Chelsey Dokkebakken

LaunchHER says ::  First things first… sisters marrying twin brothers, and then starting a business together?  We’re immediately intrigued!  Their delicious blankets make us want to snuggle up with our own little ones.  Yummy!

In HER words ::

Hello!  We are Candice and Chelsey… the owners / creators / domestic goddess extraordinaires behind Lil’Cupcakes Designs. I’m sure each of you are asking the exact same question… “Who are these incredibly cool chicks?”  Well… wonder no more. Not only are we total BFF’s, but we also just happen to be sisters.  And, not just any sisters, mind you.  We are a crazy, fun-loving pair who met and fell in love with two hunky twin brothers.  Our fairy tale continued, as we  got hitched and made two RIDICULOUSLY CUTE baby girls.

We love coffee, coffee and more coffee! When we’re not creating, we’re obviously drinking coffee and hanging out with our favourite lil’ girls.  And, of course… talking about our company!

So why Lil’Cupcakes Designs? Well, remember those ridiculously cute baby girls we mentioned earlier? After having these lil’ ladies, we were very frustrated with the lack of creative and unique products available.  We especially wanted items that we could feel confident putting in the hands of the most important people in our lives. 


So that’s us! Tell us a little bit about you and let us match the perfect creation with your perfect lil’cupcake!  We’d love for you to check out of Etsy Shop or to follow us on Twitter. And stay tuned, new friends… our new website will be coming very soon!

Just for LaunchHER readers:
Enter “LaunchHER” at checkout and receive 10% off of your order! Now through 12/31/2010.

Freshly Launched :: Ettarose

Freshly Launched :: Ettarose

Launched :: Etta Merryman

LaunchHER says:  We first came across Ettarose when searching for the perfect pocketbook for favorite five-year old. (Read about the search here!) We’re frantic about felt!  The durability and creatvity of Etta’s products are simply perfection!!

In HER words:

I grew up on a smallish, touristy town on the Olympic Penninsula in the state of Washington, focusing my extracurricular activities on painting and performance production. Throughout my teen years, I frequently made new purses and bookbags for myself and gifts for friends. After graduating from high school, I moved to Seattle and became a nanny for a few wonderful children.  This experience allowed me to continue to be creative and crafty at work… and prompted the idea for Ettarose!  The kids I nannied also were more than happy to test out some wallets and barrettes for me. So, when I say that my products are “kid-tested and kid-approved…” they really are!!

In April 2009 I opened my Etsy shop, selling the products that I had been making for years, for friends and family. I specialize in brooches, wallets, barrettes and camera cases, made out of 100% pure merino wool felt. Although I tried out synthetic felt briefly, I found it would not stand up to every-day use.  After my sister introduced me to 100% wool, I never looked back! When stretched, wool felt doesn’t fall apart or lose it’s shape. Again – kid-tested and kid-approved! 

Recently, I  moved across the country to Richmond, Virginia for some adventure, some continued education, and well… a bit more sunshine and a bit less grey skies! With the move came a larger home, which provides much more creative space. I sew nearly every day, always testing out new ideas and designs. I love the feeling of creating something that is not only visually appealing, but can hold up to the every day use from everyone from a preschooler to an adult.

Each item I create is a one of a kind. Matching the colors of the felt, the cotton embroidery thread and buttons together is so much fun!  I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to work on my creative business full-time.  I’m stocking up to expand my Etsy shop, as well as participate in upcoming local craft and Holiday fairs. 

So, what’s next?  I have recently expanded to include International customers… at first it was intimnidating, but I’m excited to share Ettarose all over the world!  Soon to come… Ettarose paper goods! 

Be sure to check out Ettarose’s Etsy Shop!  Stay up to date through her Facebook page! 

Just for launchHER readers ::

Enter “launchHER” at checkout on Etsy and receive a surprise gift with order!