What a Trademark Is & How to Register One in the USA
Feeling a bit confused by trademark registration? You’re not alone. Whether you’re a small business owner, a solo entrepreneur, or part of a growing start-up, it’d be worth your while to learn about trademarks now rather than later. In the end, it probably isn’t as confusing as you think and it could even help out your brand in the future.
Below you’ll find some information about trademarks and the registration process as well as how to keep tabs on your trademark.
What’s a Trademark?
A trademark can be a mark that represents your business. It’s a form of intellectual property that can take the form of a brand name, logo, design mark, or expression. A telltale sign of a trademark is a superscript TM symbol right after a brand name or logo. This is how it looks: ™.
A trademark can belong to a business or a personal brand that is run by just one individual. You see trademarks regularly on the packaging, websites, or corporate documents. Those two little letters let you know that this is a piece of intellectual property, something that the brand invested in because they believed in what they were doing.
The Importance of Securing a Trademark
If you’re serious about your business, then it’s in your best interest to secure a trademark. The same applies to anything related to your business.
If you went through the administrative struggle of setting up your business, creating a brand with a unique selling point, designing a logo, and attracting valuable talent, wouldn’t you want to protect your intellectual property? That’s why a trademark is important.
A registered trademark can include your company name, slogan, specific services, and/or logo. The peace of mind that comes with having a trademark, as well as the clout that it gives your business, is worth the investment.
It’s easy for smaller businesses to write it off as something that’s nice to have but not necessary. This attitude could end up biting them later on as they are leaving their companies open to infringement. They say that mimicry is the greatest form of flattery but as a business person, you don’t want anyone trying to operate under the guise of being your company.
If others were to pass off their goods and services as yours, what kind of effect would that have on your clients? You would probably lose their trust or, at the very least, confuse them. Consistency is key in business and that means keeping a regular brand image in your marketing, products, and interactions with customers. Infringement can seriously mess that up.
That’s where a registered trademark can help. With a registered trademark, you have the power to take legal action against anyone who tries to use your business name as their own. It can be the difference between securing your reputation with customers and becoming just another muddied small brand in a saturated market.
Registering a Trademark
When you decide to apply for a USA trademark, you’ll need to do so by adhering to the legal process set forth by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). You can hire an attorney to represent you or you can go about the process on your own.
Before you can register a trademark, you should be able to precisely identify your business’s purpose, including the nature of its products and services. You should also be sure that the name you’re choosing to apply with is not already in use by another entity. Mistakes such as these can delay the application process, which is why some businesses choose to hire an attorney.
Once you have decided which name(s), logo(s), and/or service(s) you wish to trademark and you’ve checked the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System, you can review the registration timelines and fees. Timelines will vary depending on what kind of company you are and where you’re filing from.
Fortunately, all of this is laid out on the USPTO’s website. As for fees, the initial trademark filing fee ranges from $225 to $400 depending on the class of goods. You’ll also be required to make your payment at the time of filing so come prepared. The application can be done online too.
If your business is not located in the United States, then your application process is going to vary. First of all, you will need the support of a U.S trademark attorney to serve as your representative to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. These applicants will probably need to show additional documentation and they have the choice of using the Madrid Protocol (an international trademark system that includes the U.S.) or an attorney to file.
Things to Remember
This may be a lot of information but it’s important and it’s better to learn it now than discover it later the hard way. Now that you know more about how the trademark registration process works, there are a few more details that you should keep in mind.
Once the application procedure is complete and you have had your trademark approved, you can set your focus on monitoring your trademark from time to time. You don’t have to check on it every day but a monthly review will let you know if anyone is trying to register your trademark as their own.
By searching through the USPTO’s trademark database, you can see the company names that are currently going through the trademark application procedure. New names that enter this database can be disputed for 30 days, including yours when you file. This means that checking the database every month will help you keep ahead of any infringement risks.
Hopefully, these tips helped to clarify trademark registration and its importance a bit more.
How to Construct a Paystub
Pay stubs are vital for tracking employee wages and any related payments, as well as keeping a full record of how your business has been paying employees in general. Of course, like any part of your payroll processing system, it takes time to learn the specifics of how to create them.
How do you build a paystub from scratch, and what kind of tools can simplify the work? More importantly, how can you ensure consistency between paystubs?
What do paystubs usually contain?
Pay stubs are records of employee information relating to their identity and their payments. This means that a paystub contains things like the employee’s name and address, the business name and address, their net and gross earnings, and any relevant insurance details and/or deductions.
These can get very complicated as more and more information becomes relevant. For example, a typical paystub might also contain things like back pay and overtime, sick leave, hours worked, employee contributions, and also any taxes withheld.
These serve as records and payment documents, giving them two distinct purposes in the workplace. This, understandably, also means that they are incredibly important, and getting them right is vital for making sure that your payroll system is operating as it should be.
How to construct a paystub from scratch
Creating your first paystub is not as simple as it sounds. There are specific steps you need to take, and if they are not taken then it could lead to problems.
The first step is to always create a consistent format. Paystubs do not necessarily need to all be consistent, but it makes them much easier to read and compare, which can be important if they are being used as records.
Beyond that, information from the payroll system also has to be gathered. This is also very important – while most businesses will have their payroll information readily available, it still has to be checked for accuracy and kept available so that the paystubs can be produced.
From there, any relevant information is added in and/or calculated. While this is an oversimplified breakdown of how it works, the truth is that a large portion of paystub creation comes down to the manual inputting of payment data, which can become increasingly difficult in larger companies.
Automation through paystub creators
Manual creation of paystubs can be incredibly slow and monotonous, which is why many businesses and companies use automated software instead. Good paystub creators, such as the PayStubCreator software, can be used to partially automate a lot of the hard work.
Not only do these tools make it incredibly easy to put together a lot of paystubs all at once, but they can often provide much more streamlined systems for assembling paystubs as a whole. This includes things like quickly mass-producing paystubs, or ensuring that they all use the same format.
Paystub generator tools are a great option for making paystubs quickly, and are often a preferred method over doing it manually, regardless of a business’s size and number of employees or contractors.
Learn How to register a corporation in the US in just 300 words
Registering a corporation in the United States typically involves the following steps:
- Choose a state for incorporation: The first step is to choose the state in which you want to incorporate your corporation. Each state has its own set of laws and regulations governing corporations, so you’ll need to research which state is best for your business needs.
- Choose a business name: Once you’ve chosen a state, you’ll need to select a business name that complies with the state’s regulations. Most states require that the name be unique and not too similar to existing business names.
- File Articles of Incorporation: The Articles of Incorporation is a legal document that establishes the existence of the corporation. You’ll need to file this document with the appropriate state agency, along with a filing fee.
- Obtain any necessary licenses and permits: Depending on your business type and location, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits before you can operate your corporation. These requirements vary by state and industry, so you’ll need to research the specific requirements for your business.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN): The EIN is a unique identifier assigned by the IRS to businesses for tax purposes. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website.
- Create corporate bylaws: Bylaws are the rules and regulations that govern how the corporation will operate. They establish the roles and responsibilities of the directors, officers, and shareholders.
- Hold an initial meeting: Once the corporation is formed, you’ll need to hold an initial meeting of the board of directors to adopt the bylaws, elect officers, and issue stock.
This is a basic overview of the process of registering a corporation in the United States. It’s important to consult with a lawyer or accountant to ensure that you’re complying with all legal requirements and making the best decisions for your business.
Navigating International Newsroom: How To Set Up And Coordinate A Remote Media Team
Countries from around the globe are connected by a network of journalists and media outlets that share developing news stories throughout the land. The public thrives on political, educational, environmental, and inspirational news that can help them in their daily lives. It’s a complicated business to run a publishing company that spans the globe; it takes patience and planning.
I am Tetyana Fomina, Editorial Operations Manager at AmoMama. I have been working with AmoMama since its inception in January 2017. Since 2017, I have developed skills and experience in building processes within vast projects run by people in multiple time zones thousands of kilometers from one another. If you’re trying to start your own publishing company from the ground up, I have some important tips to share with you.
AmoMama is an entertainment media publishing company working under the international IT company AMO. The AmoMama cooperates with over 120 people who write and develop stories for an audience around 40 million people per month in the US and Western Europe. Content is distributed in four languages; French, German, English, and Spanish.
Cooperating Conservatively For A New Business Venture
While your business idea is still formulating, consider it to be in “test mode.” At this point, you don’t yet want to hire a large team. First, you should concentrate on hiring journalists to investigate and write new content.
As your media outlet idea becomes viable, meaning that your content is starting to drive traffic, you can expand your team of journalists and add editors and proofreaders. As your company grows, you can continue investing in your written content’s quality.
How To Properly Scale Your Team
Pay attention to the workload of everyone. When the staff is overloaded with work, it can create bottlenecks in your publishing process that could be costly and create terrible working conditions for the team.
For each new job vacancy, you open up for hire, think of the entire team as a whole. Hiring a new journalist will mean that more stories are being written that need to be edited, designed, and so on. If you focus too narrowly on one portion of the team, you run the risk of creating an unbalanced workload throughout the entire team.
How To Set Up Processes When Your Remote Newsroom Is In 11 Time Zones
If you’re going to dabble in international publishing, then you’re going to have to learn to navigate all the time zones that you cover. This is both a blessing and a curse because although it can be a difficult and delicate juggling act, you can end up with a workforce that literally works around the clock for your business.
At AmoMama, we will cooperate with people from different time zones and schedule them so that they only slightly overlap during the working day, typically by 1 or 2 hours. The rest of the time, they work autonomously, taking turns replacing each other.
Make sure that the entire functional unit is working in the same time zone or at least on the same schedule. For example, if we start working with a new journalist who has a night schedule in a specific time zone, we have to find a content analyst, editor, moderator, and designer to work with that person simultaneously. Otherwise, you create a broken system where hours are spent wasted while someone waits for approvals or tasks to be done before they can move on with their own work. Ideally, you will have one of these functional units working in each time zone that you need to cover.
You may end up with more people working day shifts in your most popular time zones. If that is the case, you can create smaller evening shift teams and distribute training documents and skill builders to teams with lower workloads.
Streamlining Operations In An International Editorial Office
We work for the audience in the United States and Europe. Different countries have different standards for what constitutes fair use, protection of personal data, and other issues that could have legal complications. You have to keep track of all the laws that regulate your business in the areas you work and the areas you publish content.
In order to have better control over an international office, we have moderators and editors roles that are responsible for content approvals. They are also responsible for doing a detailed review of all content for compliance with the laws for each area.
As little as three years ago, we had journalists approving and publishing their own content, but that model was not sustainable in the long run. Having these checks and balances in place reduces the risk to the business and makes things flow more smoothly.
If your content doesn’t comply with rules and laws, then you can be removed or banned from social media platforms or be subject to fines and other penalties. This is precisely why we implemented a multi-step verification process at AmoMama.
Managing Expectations With Remote And International Teams
As you can imagine, we don’t have team members working around the clock in different time zones within a single office building. We cooperate with people that work remotely, and there are some interesting challenges in running a remote publishing team.
Many of the people we cooperate with are used to having a flexible schedule with minimal controls. Some can adjust to a more structured work environment, while others cannot. Make sure to set the expectation from the very first interview that your publishing company is fast-paced and has strict deadlines.
Make sure new people know that professionalism is a must, and they should be able to complete agreed tasks, participate in conditioning interviews and meetings if needed.
Finally, you must be able to find a way for people from very different backgrounds to come together, by collaborating on the same project. Things like manners, and communication can vary by culture. In some cultures, people are very organized in their work process, while in others there is a more relaxed system. Usually, you can overcome these differences by setting plans from the start with agreed rules and collaboration expectations for things like project timing and task completion. It can also help to collaborate with people with great multicultural communication skills to help coordinate the process.
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