How to Protect Your Brand with Intellectual Property Expert Steven Weigler

Episode 214

Embark on a journey with Steven Weigler, the genius behind Emerge Counsel, as we uncover the pivotal role of intellectual property in the entrepreneurial landscape. Steven recounts his own leap from the rigid world of corporate law to the exhilarating freedom of entrepreneurship. His story is a treasure trove for anyone considering the bold move to ‘fire the man’ and pursue their own business dreams, loaded with advice on the resilience and inventiveness this path demands.

Our discussion takes a deep look into the realm of e-commerce, highlighting how trademarks, trade dress, and distinct sounds can anchor a brand’s identity and set it apart in a crowded digital marketplace. Steven sheds light on the nuances of Amazon’s Brand Registry and offers strategic counsel for securing trademarks and patents that could be the difference between blending in and standing out. For those ready to protect the heartbeat of their brand and carve out a competitive edge online, this conversation is an invaluable guidepost.

Closing out our chat, Steven emphasizes the often-overlooked importance of choosing the right legal structure for your entrepreneurial venture. From aligning your business for future growth to preparing for a potential exit, he underscores the risks of ignoring legal planning. We also get a glimpse into Steven’s world outside the office, from his current read to his passion for fitness and mixed martial arts. And for those looking to reach out to Steven or learn more about Emerge Counsel, all the details await in our show notes, ready to help you take that next step forward.

GETIDA Amazon Owes You Money!   Get $400 in FREE reimbursements done for you, follow the link below.

Helium10   50% OFF first month OR 10% OFF LIFETIME subscription = PROMO CODE “FTM”

SoStocked

Start Your 30-Day Free Trial

Your 1st Month Is Free For Any Plan You Choose!

If You receive value from this content please SUPPORT The Podcast

Paypal → CLICK HERE
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
🗣️ TALK TO US ON SOCIAL MEDIA 👇

Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/firingtheman/

Facebook ► https://www.facebook.com/FiringTheMan

Website ► https://firingtheman.com/
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
💥LISTEN TO THE PODCAST 👇

On Apple Podcasts ►https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/firingtheman/id1493680004

On Spotify
► https://open.spotify.com/show/2mE9YcE5gWtMwsmZUTS84M

On Stitcher
► https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/firingtheman?refid=stpr
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
💻 COACHING 👇

Coaching


▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Support the show

00;00;24;02 – 00;00;45;01
Unknown
Welcome, everyone to the Firing the Man Podcast. On today’s episode, we have the privilege to interview Steven Wigler. Steven specializes in the protection of brand IP and other business assets. His entrepreneurial perspective, building a startup balanced by his role as senior counsel for a Fortune 50 technology company that has allowed him to develop the skills required to be empathetic legal counsel.

00;00;45;02 – 00;01;05;04
Unknown
Steven started Emerge Counsel in 2015 with the mission to provide early to mid-stage businesses sophisticated counsel at a lower price point than large law firms. Total Team is a proprietary, flat fee trademark prosecution system. He also likes to kick box ski and listen to live music. Welcome to the show, Steven. It to see you guys to kick off the show.

00;01;05;06 – 00;01;29;13
Unknown
Can you share with our listeners a little bit about your background and your path into becoming an IP attorney? Sure. So I have a pretty extensive business background focused on on things that really were fairly complicated. I started out just getting my advocacy skills as being I wanted to be a big city prosecutor. And so I actually was a prosecutor in Miami, Florida, where I learned just mental toughness and how screwed up the world can be after having been.

00;01;29;13 – 00;01;45;24
Unknown
I went to school in Colorado at the University of Colorado, and so we moved back here and I was lucky enough to get a at the time, Telecom was a huge I was able to get a job in Telecom working for AT&T Corp. And so at that point, if you notice in my career, I was really like focused on big entities.

00;01;45;24 – 00;02;03;16
Unknown
I thought, you know, working inside the system even that before that, I work for U.S. Congress. So it’s like everything was inside the system working. And I realized like, hey, inside the system you have, you’re in a lane. And if you get out of your lane, it’s not necessarily prosperous for you in the organization there. Like, you know, it’s not that different.

00;02;03;16 – 00;02;19;17
Unknown
The army or something, if you’re in the infantry, they don’t want you check it out. Well, how so? How’s the aircraft carrier? So on? You know, it’s really I found it kind of exciting that I learned so much about how large corporations handle, especially technology issues. Found it also a little bit frustrating and always having to be in my life.

00;02;19;18 – 00;02;37;28
Unknown
Anyway, long story short, AT&T got bought by Usb-c. It’s still the same brand, so that’s a good study and trademark because the company is not the same, just the name of it. I got an exit package, I took it. I started a predictive analytics company, did that for eight years and started from seed all the way to, you know, we had some bumps in the road, no doubt.

00;02;37;28 – 00;02;55;06
Unknown
But seed to a successful sale built up explaining technology, protecting technology, focusing on running a business had to raise a lot of money. So I know a lot about investor relations. Anyway, when I started that and again, it was the good, the bad and the deep and the ugly I took. My wife told me, like, you can’t sit in the basement forever.

00;02;55;07 – 00;03;16;13
Unknown
Take what you know, write it down on a piece of paper, emerge console is a combination of business and IP services focused on the early stage to mid-stage small to medium sized business entrepreneur providing I think, really empathetic if anything, services because I have a lot of business and IP experience at a lower price point than large comprehensive law firms.

00;03;16;13 – 00;03;32;26
Unknown
And so that’s who we are. So Steve, I think it’s fair to say that you fired the man. You you were working in a large organization and then you bet on yourself and and started your own business. Do I have that right? Absolutely. Twice. We have to we have to pause here and talk a little bit about that.

00;03;32;26 – 00;03;47;15
Unknown
It is the firing in the in podcast. So and you walk us through what was going through your mind, like going into am I am I really going to do this? Am I going to fire the man and go out on my own? What were you thinking? What would be some advice that you would give to that younger self?

00;03;47;17 – 00;04;14;29
Unknown
It’s kind of what I talk about in my introductory call, which is always complimentary to my potential clients because I need to get to know them as like, do they have really the grit, the ability to sell something that’s pretty hard to take that, that leap. And so I just knew that I get really frustrated when I can’t truly problem solve a corporation doesn’t generally hire you, especially, you know, I see I wasn’t C-level, but I was, you know, high enough level, mid-level intellectual management, high level attorney there.

00;04;15;00 – 00;04;32;17
Unknown
The hiring needed to solve a problem. But there’s so many guardrails to solve that problem that it’s really and there’s so many politics involved that it really doesn’t become about solving. And this is nothing against that. It’s just it’s the way a large corporation is an enterprise. You know, they don’t need you, are they? At least they don’t think they need you to reinvent.

00;04;32;19 – 00;04;49;16
Unknown
Like it’s really like, all right, well, we have this issue in this place and so I think if you have a sense of frustration that you really want to problem solve and really build something, especially flip it, you know, entrepreneurs don’t only problems how they build that. And so if you really have that that kind of drive fire in your belly that you think you could do it better.

Grow Up Fast: Lessons from an AI Startup
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Rattner, Zach (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

00;04;49;16 – 00;05;09;04
Unknown
And really if the guardrails were taken off and you got the creative space to really get from point A to point B, being an entrepreneur is an amazing thing, but there’s things that come along with it uncertainty, sometimes self-doubt. A lot of times, you know, building up, you don’t. You have to be open to building up those other skills that it takes to make your your company successful.

00;05;09;04 – 00;05;24;13
Unknown
I would say because I speak to a number of entrepreneurs, especially in the ecommerce space, you know, at least two or three times a day. And if they’re if they’re kind of closed minded, like they’re like, No, this is the way I’m going to do it. You know how this I’ll figure it out. I worked at tires plus or something, and I know what tires are all about.

00;05;24;13 – 00;05;47;10
Unknown
And then, you know, that’s really like I question that if that’s the right type of entrepreneur that can really get from point A to point B, because ultimately all we want for our clients and all we want, I think an entrepreneur wants is to grow a company either for its it could be a cash cow like, you know, they grow it, they are living off the proceeds of their, their hard work or they get to the point that they sell it.

00;05;47;10 – 00;06;07;10
Unknown
It doesn’t really matter from a this is a a well operating company, a well-oiled machine, a well a well executed business plan. And so if you did to that point that you’re looking for, that you want to get there as fast as possible or as efficiently as possible without the follicles of hair that have fallen out of my you know, so the point is, is that it’s really that’s what we’re looking for.

00;06;07;10 – 00;06;37;15
Unknown
Not that I’m just a service provider, but that’s what I’m kind of see in entrepreneurs that are successful in the especially in the ecommerce space. They’re a little open minded. They’re willing to take study about things that they don’t know. They’re willing to take advice from people that have been around the block many times or even instructors. And so, again, a good entrepreneur has to be fairly open minded but barely almost stubborn that they’re they have a viable business plan and that they have the drive and the secrets to to get from point A to point B, Okay.

00;06;37;16 – 00;07;01;26
Unknown
No, I cannot let that opportunity pass by without asking you about asking you about the firing demand day and talking about those entrepreneurs. Most of our listeners are entrepreneurs and they either have businesses were are thinking about starting businesses can you speak to the importance of intellectual property? What value does that bring to a company? Also, pretty comment on like types of intellectual property and what people should clear about.

00;07;01;27 – 00;07;22;14
Unknown
I think that the to especially focus on intellectual property because it’s it’s abstract and keeps me stimulated. And also I have a, you know, tech background and most of it is intellectual property. So the point in intellectual property, if I were an entrepreneur or I asked an entrepreneur, do you have the cure for cancer? And if they say, Yeah, I have a cure for cancer, they’re probably not a bright client for me because they need a biotech team.

00;07;22;14 – 00;07;36;15
Unknown
They need millions of dollars, they need to get a partnership with a distribution channel. The point is, is most of our clients in e-commerce don’t have the care. What is it? What is the essence of what’s going to make them? So if you looked at the point is if you have the cure for cancer, well, let’s have a different podcast to talk about that.

00;07;36;15 – 00;07;57;12
Unknown
But it’s it’s really it’s not my field and most people don’t have that. And it doesn’t no one cares what it’s called. You get the patent. You’re going to be really successful because that’s going to solve a world problem. But most of us don’t. And so what is a distinguish are why would a someone buy something of yours in e-commerce more than you would buy something of someone else?

00;07;57;12 – 00;08;16;17
Unknown
And that has to be some elements of intellectual property that make that true. The elements of intellectual property usually that are the most important are brand brand care. When you go to the grocery store and you look for cookies, you could buy a knockoff of an Oreo cookie, but most of us don’t. Why? Because we know it’s not like Oreos.

00;08;16;17 – 00;08;38;12
Unknown
I mean, they’re very tasty, but it’s not like because we immediately see them in the store. We know what they are. We know that if I close my eyes and we all close our eyes and we say Oreo, we know that we’re talking about two delicious black cookies spinoffs. But the main cookie is, you know, a black dark, kind of a really chocolaty cookie and some frosting in a metal, some funky design.

00;08;38;15 – 00;08;58;07
Unknown
That’s an Oreo cookie. And we can close our eyes. All know, even though we haven’t met, we’re not in the same city. Whatever. We all know what an Oreo cookie is. That’s great brand right? But Oreo has to protect every element of that intellectual property through trademark processes or something called trademarks to make sure that they are the only ones that can, you know, distinguish their brand through that.

00;08;58;07 – 00;09;22;05
Unknown
So if you’re starting a brand, if you’re starting up, yeah, you would be starting a brand on Amazon. It’s either going to be it’s going to be a product that has a niche usually is what I know about most by Amazon or e-commerce, you know, eBay or Shopify. It doesn’t matter, you know, out there trying to compete with Macy’s and out of, you know, a million SKUs, you have a niche and you have a identified audience that you want to identify with your product.

00;09;22;05 – 00;09;53;11
Unknown
And so that’s trademarked to protect brands. And so distilling elements of that brand now, because it’s like, look, Oreo didn’t start out with double stuff and now, you know, now it’s what was decided to start candy cane flavored. That’s how they built off their brand they started with Oreo and so you know what is what’s your minimum viable products what products do you think are going to sell And Amazon itself if you saw on Amazon, requires you to get something, you have to get on the brand registry and you have to get on the brand registry by registering a trademark otherwise, and there’s substantial benefits that come along with that.

00;09;53;11 – 00;10;11;12
Unknown
So the first thing we always kind of look at is what’s your brand? What who’s your Bible, What’s your minimum viable product, What’s your or if you’re, you know, experienced seller, what sell and what are the elements of that product that need to be protected? It’s usually going to be a name. Sometimes it’s a logo, Sometimes if you’re doing creative work, it could be sound like think about on on HBO.

00;10;11;12 – 00;10;29;13
Unknown
You know, before any HBO program starts, Deb, they’re like, it’s almost like sounds like static. And then it goes into a little tune That’s that’s trademark. And it can be what’s called trade dress and trade dresses. For example, look at the Louis Vuitton bag. Why do people buy? There’s plenty of good bags on Amazon, but people love Louis Vuitton and they’ll pay.

00;10;29;17 – 00;10;48;12
Unknown
$9 has nothing to do with the functionality. The Louis Vuitton bag There’s better bags on Amazon most likely for for quality. It’s all about the look and feel the nonfunctional element to wrap. So when we close our eyes again, when we say Louis Vuitton I can picture this brown you know I’ll be all over the bag. Looks like our little alligator that’s trade dress.

00;10;48;12 – 00;11;21;23
Unknown
And so that is protected. So trust me, Louis Vuitton doesn’t rely on their name or rely even on their name tags as much as they rely on what that trade dress is. So everyone and depending on what your category is, meaning what you’re selling. So if it’s cosmetics, if it’s handbags, if it’s we’ve done tools, we’ve done things for I mean, we’ve done so many, but everyone has like a niche and so we kind of know and that good IP attorney knows the formula kind of for that niche, that industry when word we’re coming out of trademark that’s that’s an important piece about the I’ll just whip through the other can continue our patent is

00;11;21;23 – 00;11;45;18
Unknown
a really we talked about the cure for cancer if you have the cure for cancer, pain would be a really good idea. Penn protects either inventions, substantial improvements on the invention. The problem with patent is you’re not protecting the actual product. You’re protecting the invention that’s contained inside the product. And that gets really complicated and very expensive. There’s something called the design ban, which protects, like, for example, the Apple iPad, how those are designed.

00;11;45;18 – 00;12;03;08
Unknown
It’s not that they’re you can they invented how you can ear on your headphones it’s it’s the design of the headphones the point on that and the same but the point on trademark you need a strategy like you just don’t. So I get a lot of calls live by the provisional pat that and maybe I’m not sure what will work better in the bathroom provisional patent or the toilet paper.

00;12;03;08 – 00;12;25;20
Unknown
They no strategy? No, no gate. The third is copyright. Copyright protects original works of art. You can copyright code so some of your clients have the code element. It’s it’s a really good copy. I think it’s a good cheap strategy. I mean, you can copyright your product packaging would look it does it really is a strategy that kind of fits very well into your branding strategy, really taking a look at the copyright.

00;12;25;20 – 00;12;49;00
Unknown
And the fourth is called trade Secret. So trade secret is, I think, hard, underutilized. And it really focuses on like the Coca-Cola No. One. They didn’t do any part that I know. they did some on bottles and stuff, but the point is, is Formula Coca-Cola, which is their secret sauce, they just kept their secret. So each vendor doesn’t know who like if you’re selling cinnamon, which I think is in Coke, they don’t know that vanilla is they’re not the vanilla batter they do.

00;12;49;00 – 00;13;09;00
Unknown
Things are very secret to make sure that the product, the secret sauce of the product doesn’t leak out. So you take those four things together and you integrate it into what we call an intellectual property plant. A lot of times in e-commerce, it’s not that trademark really carries some. We see some copyright and we, you know, identify some pieces of copyright and trade secret.

00;13;09;00 – 00;13;29;10
Unknown
You know, when you got it. It’s something that our identified but it’s not for every this most people it’s not a secret it’s it’s a brand really and so you have to those are the questions I would suggest that your your listeners asked and so that they can do on a free call with us and you know we can sort of set them in the right direction over the last on those bought things over the last year we talked a little bit about total time.

00;13;29;10 – 00;14;00;17
Unknown
And what I did is there’s really in my opinion, there’s one really way to, to file and and registered trademarks. There’s shortcuts you can go on goes in this filing services and there’s attorneys that say they’ll do it for $95, but you need to do it for search to see what it’s called an algorithmic search. And humans can’t even think this this clearly to see, to slice and dice what you’re thinking your brand is so minus total tabs say someone has t that might at the at the Patent and trademark office that might be violating their trademark by finding this other trade.

00;14;00;17 – 00;14;19;19
Unknown
I mean, that doesn’t sound like something that you would think about as a human. That’s something that an algorithmic search would help you lead towards. And maybe they never even filed the trademark, but you could be setting yourself up for a big piece of litigation. And the bad part about it is not that you might not win, it’s that you might not find out for two three years sometimes spot And so you’re like busy, like grow in your brand every day.

00;14;19;19 – 00;14;50;20
Unknown
You don’t do this full search. You didn’t do the process right. You think it was good because you have this trademark and the next thing you know you’re basing a cancellation proceeding in a possible court case because they had prior rights and you’re march confusing. So I can encourage you. So what we did and I can’t encourage your your listeners enough is really like we all kind of if you’re to leak the jib we all kind of do it the right way and that includes thorough placement, thorough search, really understanding what your brand is, really understanding that description of what you’re using it for, using a lot of software to do some predictive analytics, which

00;14;50;20 – 00;15;14;23
Unknown
includes A.I. and then using software to monitor to make sure that we get it through as quickly as possible and and keep the registration going, etc.. So that’s our total team product. And we priced it, you know, to be liberally fair to the entrepreneur who are like it, I found out that was losing money. So Twitter is but the idea is it’s really it’s a really good eye kind of product is the the process to do a really thorough trademark prosecution.

00;15;14;23 – 00;15;32;11
Unknown
So to follow up which are good questions. So Steven and you share the price on the podcast or do the audience members need to set up a call? Well, it differs depending on the complexity of the application. And what I say, why I say that is there’s something called it. If you’re actually using the mark, it runs about close to $2,000.

00;15;32;11 – 00;15;53;15
Unknown
I’m all in. If you including the USPTO, if you if you don’t if it’s called an intent to use, would then you have to prove use later on and that is like a multi multiple other steps so it at about 3 to 5 on out but it didn’t it just depends like if you’re like well no, I’m going to do this in two and a half years and we have to file five extension, explain each time why we’re extending.

00;15;53;15 – 00;16;26;10
Unknown
You know, it’s like a lot of, like communication that, you know, us goes up. But yeah, fair enough. So around 2000 to hire if it’s not in use and there’s more time for your or your team. Yeah. The big piece when your client listeners are doing apples to apples they might go on the internet say well, tweeted and said this person you know stone for 500 bucks the full algorithmic search most firms cost charge eight four for that because it’s like it’s number one it takes a ton it dot and number two, it’s it’s not the software itself is expensive and that outer they’re not doing that yeah I mean we can we can validate

00;16;26;10 – 00;16;44;01
Unknown
back in 15 minutes we’re just not going to and as a philosophy we’re just not going to do that because although we make a lot of money when there’s litigation, I don’t mind it. It’s very interesting. Intellectually, it’s not good, but I totally agree. And David and I have both in our personal businesses have had issues in the past with IP.

00;16;44;01 – 00;17;07;05
Unknown
And, you know, skimping on this is for this is advice for other listeners skimping out on a few hundred dollars to to to wiggle around something is not worth it for IP because years later you’re going to pay ten times or 20 times that or not be able to use the IP at all. And so I would definitely encourage the listeners to not skimp by on on IP and make sure they, they do everything they need to do on that and on the on the front side of it.

00;17;07;05 – 00;17;29;05
Unknown
So another follow up question is you’ve covered kind of like the for the four main branches, if you will, on on IP protection. And can you describe to the listeners like say they’re, you know, their e-commerce sellers, they’re just starting out, maybe they got a few products on Amazon and they don’t have a trademark. What does the road map look like for them and what would be the the steps one, two and three to kind of start protecting their brand?

00;17;29;06 – 00;17;46;19
Unknown
What are steps what would you advise? I think it’s important to have a call with intellectual property attorney to identify their brand. Usually that’s not that hard to do. I realize that it’s like the name on my sweater is our kid in Oak in sweaters. But really? And then make sure that we’re not going to see any carnage when we’re working at the process.

00;17;46;19 – 00;18;20;04
Unknown
Amazon IP Accelerator and the Brand Registry. Now, as soon as we can get this, the trademark filed, you get a serial number and you can get on the brand registry. So there’s no real competitive advantage. We do compete on price compared to on Amazon branded Stellarator were and I think we’re I mean that’s just my personal B but other the the combination is so we can do the same thing we can get the the trademark serial number within days of engaging that search takes about 2 to 3 days and identifying the brand takes next to no time and getting a search company.

00;18;20;04 – 00;18;33;06
Unknown
And we’re talking about a week and we’ll be on the brand registry for you know and I look at it like you have to look at your trademarks as phase one, Phase two, Bay Street. Phase one is just the brand. What what do you what’s your master brand? What are you going to call it? Like Adidas. That’s the master brand.

00;18;33;06 – 00;18;54;00
Unknown
Now, Adidas might have 50 brand hundred thousand brands shoes. You know, the first one is you got to get the major brand. And so you and maybe that’s and I also think that that the logo and utterly anti trademarking logo if it’s in early stage entrepreneur because I think you know this comes out of marketing but brand experience it’s changed so you have to test the marketplace a little bit out.

00;18;54;07 – 00;19;07;19
Unknown
You know we see logos change and you’re filing a trademark for what it is. So you can’t be like, you know, I changed a little that they’re like, well, that’s the hospitals. Like, well, too bad. So I said, That means you’re not using the first one that you filed that’s canceled and the second one file a new application.

00;19;07;21 – 00;19;32;14
Unknown
We want to talk about that a little bit and put it in our back pocket. But we’re really looking, you know, Tier one branding on this if it’s an initial consult. So just identifying it, getting mark on the brand registry. And then we have lots of experience on the brand registry and how to explain it to the Amazon folks if it organized the entrepreneurs not spending all the time corresponding with the brand registry, don’t yet agree with you on the benefits of brand registry.

00;19;32;14 – 00;19;55;08
Unknown
It used to be something that you would do to set apart, set yourself apart. And now if you’re a serious seller on Amazon, it’s it’s just about mandatory and to be competitive. And so I definitely agree with you there Continue our conversation about e-comm What are some violations that you’re seeing right now in the intellectual property base within e-commerce in working sellers do to avoid those?

00;19;55;08 – 00;20;25;23
Unknown
Well, we’re seeing the biggest threat we’re seeing and that’s a really big one is is knockoffs counterfeiting from China? That takes up about half of my day every day dealing with the issues. Now, there’s two ways to look at that. It’s they’re your product is getting knocked off or as bad Amazon takes groups you into a group of products that they say are counterfeiting because there’s some really big companies out there that will that are relatively ruthless, just putting down every major competitor, you know, going to the courts and taking you down.

00;20;25;23 – 00;20;54;17
Unknown
It goes back. My experience and my thoughts are it goes back to the very beginning. Identify some distinguishing you could be selling. There’s got to be some distinguishing element of your clipboard, which you can identify, which makes your product unique. Talking, speaking with experienced counsel like me, I can tell you what the potential, how something like that would be knocked off and what you can do to brand your product like maybe a keyed seal than the logo or, you know, create a creative logo.

00;20;54;17 – 00;21;09;08
Unknown
He’d seal it into the product. And then if we hit it to, to distinguish the product. And so that’s that becomes part of it just becomes that the IP plan because a lot of these the one I’m working on right now, the products were relatively generic and the next thing you know, there’s a seizure of all these products.

00;21;09;08 – 00;21;28;13
Unknown
There’s some big company said everyone, maybe seven more them at 750 infringers infringed on this product and they just put together a list, but they won’t show anyone the list. So you just have to figure out the examples I took you down. But if you can’t distinguish what’s what’s unique aspects of your product, you can’t get off that list because it looks like Amazon has a product.

00;21;28;13 – 00;21;50;06
Unknown
And I’m sorry, the person saying that you counterfeit it has a product and you have a product and they look an awful lot of light. So really distinguishing your product from the very beginning is crucial to both fending off infringers and not being on the infringer list yourself. The second thing is, you know this not when you get into this this area about like what are the issues in intellectual property is not I mean, you might say, did you get it?

00;21;50;06 – 00;22;07;20
Unknown
Thank you. I really appreciate it. Sounds like a good intellectual property attorney. I think I could do this myself, you know, And so it just started. I saw clipboards and it’s is clipboard under Smith. So, you know, go for it, you know, so they they’re like, do it yourself. This is once you get into this area, like Amazon said, I am branded or I see infringers.

00;22;07;20 – 00;22;30;27
Unknown
This is not amateur. This is like as complicated international law as it yet you know, maybe the war in Gaza or like but the point is is this is not amateur hour in on international law because you know usually the infringers in a foreign country, if you’re on that infringer list, they’re accusing you usually of operating out of foreign country or supplying in a foreign country, which theoretically a lot of my clients have done, you know, meaning they order the product from China.

00;22;30;27 – 00;22;48;26
Unknown
And so really, if you have a strategy at the beginning, it’s going to be much easier to work that out because this is kind of a mid-stage problem if you don’t, you know, we’re looking for elements of your intellectual property that could distinguish your brand and really be able to explain to a court or Amazon, which many times acts as a court, why why those other products should be taken down.

00;22;48;27 – 00;23;07;22
Unknown
We also work with partners from search companies that will can identify the extent of the problem. I mean, they can run searches that none of us can run that aren’t even Ace and related and really tell who your infringers are and initiate much more than me writing, sitting and writing, you know, 800 letters, write takedown notices and monitor counter-notice.

00;23;07;26 – 00;23;23;21
Unknown
So it’s kind of like that somebody should call an attorney immediately. It’s kind of like your heart taking it in the mouth and your heart starts murmuring, Well, you don’t go to WebMD. You call it doctor. You know, really, there’s not that you could get a lot worse, a lot quicker. It could be nothing, but it could get, you know, a lot worse, a lot quicker.

00;23;23;21 – 00;23;41;05
Unknown
And when you’re sitting, you know, in the stretcher with heart attack, that’s not the best time to say that. I should call that doctor, though. So it’s not that different. Meaning it’s like this product you start seeing like an infringer on Amazon or anywhere. You probably look at it the tip of the iceberg like there’s something going on and yeah, it sucks.

00;23;41;05 – 00;23;58;10
Unknown
We can hold virtual hands and commiserate. Happened to a lot of my clients, but it’s not the time to to shy away and hope that, you know, put your your head in your hands and hope that it doesn’t affect you. This is just an anomaly. It might be, but usually not. So that’s interesting. You said about half of your time is spent on that, that type of stuff.

00;23;58;10 – 00;24;20;05
Unknown
And so, yeah, I suspect that won’t go away. As Amazon is growing and more sellers are coming on and competition is more fierce, kind of have to battle for your real estate, you know, and then everybody is copying everybody. And so interesting I’d like to pivot into it seems like in the last year or so, every every podcast episode we talk a bit about A.I., It just it’s hitting pretty much every area.

00;24;20;05 – 00;24;35;21
Unknown
And so I’d like to pivot a little bit into A.I.. We’ve got some projects going on in our company, and I know a lot of it. I would say most e-commerce sellers are are actively using A.I. now. And so I’d like to cover a couple of topics with A.I., and I suspect it’s probably a newer ish base for IP law.

00;24;35;22 – 00;24;52;24
Unknown
Maybe A.I. is not. Maybe it’s been around for a little while, but in terms of images like in videos, those are the two main things that we’re using. We’re using it a little bit on code, but mostly on images and video and also copy. And so let’s say, for example, we generate we have an active project in our company right now.

00;24;52;24 – 00;25;13;03
Unknown
We’re generating A.I. images where a project can those A.I. images be copyright. So it’s a really good question that the courts haven’t fully fleshed out most recent guidance from. And I’m just trying to think what circuit it was. So the United States is separated into various circuits, and so like Saint Louis is a different circuit than than Denver.

00;25;13;03 – 00;25;35;02
Unknown
We’re just in. So each circuit has their own say I’m kind of this, but if it’s completely generated by a computer, the answer is no, because there’s no original. It’s not an original work of art because it was created. It wasn’t created by a person. Is is the the general guidance that I’ve been seeing out of courts, nothing modify it or you put inputs in like I want a purple dress berry to red horns.

00;25;35;02 – 00;25;53;04
Unknown
You know, if you start putting some creative human element into it, the verdict out, I think that would be considered protectable. It’s a really challenging area of law right now, not so much. So then you got to look at it like this way and I certainly do is wow, what what an amazing like, I just I get so many of the same trait.

00;25;53;05 – 00;26;09;23
Unknown
I’ll just tell my person I get so many of the same trademark questions and then so I love my whole practice is based on building real, legitimate, meaningful relationship. If you can’t build a meaningful relationship with an attorney, you probably have probably not a great experience and you probably like that. It’s a last person. You know, someone like me.

00;26;09;23 – 00;26;30;09
Unknown
I want to help someone get from point A to point B and be there when they’re at point B, And sorry to miss the end. That requires a tremendous building relationship. But still, I get the same questions all the time and it’s like, you know, I could tell I could do them in my message. So I’m using A.I. now to answer the questions and then I’m going to take them and put my own custom spin on the questions based on the information I’m getting from from me.

00;26;30;13 – 00;26;46;20
Unknown
And I think that’s how you really have to look at it. I know, you know, when you get into hard court legal there’s attorneys here in Colorado to happen in New York State. They write their briefs. And I the sites that are generated outside means like where where would it exactly say this so a court could check out if you’re not bullshitting.

00;26;46;22 – 00;27;04;14
Unknown
Well, the sites are being made up and the attorneys are getting disbarred. So I don’t think courts are particularly favorable on here. I think, you know, and ultimately they really, I guess, do matter because it’s like you’re talking about intellectual property. Who is going to decide? I think there’s going to sour anyway. So I think you you know everything with like a little grain of salt.

00;27;04;14 – 00;27;21;06
Unknown
It’s an amazing tool. It’s going to give you ideas. I look at it like the encyclopedia on steroids. It’s going to give you an amazing ideas. It’s going to be amazing thoughts. And you take those and you customize them and you make them. You’re out. And that’s otherwise you’re the market’s probably going to kill you anyway because anyone else can go and get that description.

00;27;21;06 – 00;27;39;05
Unknown
But, you know, I know I’ve been cranking away on these questions. It’s been great. Otherwise I have to sit down and think now, well, here’s what this case says about it, or here’s what the legal encyclopedia said. How do I explain that to consumer where it’s on much easier with it? I think it’s tremendous. Just take, you know, just like the next step, put your own personal spin up.

00;27;39;12 – 00;27;57;23
Unknown
So just a follow up or finish up on this piece. And I generated image or video or whatever. As long as it’s as long as you’re crafting it like inputs and you’re kind of guiding it into what you want it to create, you think that is depending on which area you live in or which district or whatever circuit, it will probably be able to get copyrighted.

00;27;57;23 – 00;28;15;20
Unknown
I think it’s the argument is no different than Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, but you know, the question is the other question is well, and this is some brain scratching question is look how much how? And it was developed. It was developed by dumping a ton of data into a down programs, and then it’s pulling from from the data.

00;28;15;20 – 00;28;31;26
Unknown
That was. So the question is, what was the data that was put in there? Was that copyrighted and that answer we don’t know. You have to do some real good investigation on that. And so part of it is was submitted to the Copyright Office and see, but part of it is those are the types of cases that are coming up when an artist is like, well, this was copyrighted.

00;28;31;26 – 00;28;47;14
Unknown
I see it in chat. And then the next thing you know, it’s like somebody used it at a chat and then the next thing you know, they’re getting sued. So you just have to be very careful. You know, it’s like this just like, why don’t price wear a price? It’s like we use really sophisticated software, too, but we don’t cut corners.

00;28;47;14 – 00;29;07;13
Unknown
That’s the that’s right. So if you’re going to, you know, this is your logo, maybe a little more combination due diligence and we can do logo searches easily customizing and using a air and an idea. But that’s I think that the issues where we’ve talked about emerge counsel at different points throughout the episode. But at what stage of entrepreneurship should people be getting in touch with you?

A Beginner's Guide to the Stock Market
19,125 Reviews
A Beginner's Guide to the Stock Market
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kratter, Matthew R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

00;29;07;13 – 00;29;28;18
Unknown
What type of clients do you work with? And if there’s any services that you offer that you haven’t commented on, could you chat about those? Actually, I have to finish it, but I’m writing an e-book about the e-book is about on everyone that starts a business has a goal and it’s really what’s here. Encourage entrepreneurs to look at what’s your end goal for this business that you know, Do you want to make $1,000,000 a year?

00;29;28;19 – 00;29;51;07
Unknown
Do you want to exit? What? What’s your end goal? And really work from the back to the beginning is like, all right, so the the the first stage is always to organize appropriately. So for example, a lot of people are like, Well, I just need to form an LLC. Okay, well, that might be true or it might not be, but your organizational structure, there’s a lot of variables and really it’s something to talk out, but you talk about kind of having an idea of what you’re at the end.

00;29;51;09 – 00;30;16;21
Unknown
And so if it’s too you need to raise money, well, don’t don’t do it. My initial advice with that build more. Don’t do an LLC like that’s going to be a nightmare. And then converting the house to do it. Operation. So really there’s various stages and various points where you need specific legal advice on certain things because that’s the time you should be thinking if you’re going to, if you think you do have the cure for cancer, and then we should be at that very early because you can release the product if you think you’re going to be selling internationally.

00;30;16;21 – 00;30;34;25
Unknown
Really talking about the international brand protection strategy early on is an important piece. If you’re talking about the you know, we talk about tiered branding, you’re talking about tier one branding, whether you would think about that at a certain time. I’m Tier two, branding at a certain time or three branding at a certain time. So anyway, I’ve outlined all these kind of steps for the business and the IP steps.

00;30;34;25 – 00;30;52;21
Unknown
And when I get that we’re an entrepreneur, which I guess like I would when I would think about that, and then the carnage that happens if you don’t think about it at that particular time. But I think, you know, organizational structure was hugely overlooked at the beginning is everyone’s like, Well, I see the state I live in. Okay, well, why do people I would like the question is, why do people do this other ways?

00;30;52;21 – 00;31;07;22
Unknown
And they do It always does. There’s tax benefits. There’s it’s going to be hard to undo that if you’re bringing out a partner. So just kind of thinking about what you think about business. Is it a solopreneur thing? Is it a unique need to raise money? Are you going to have partners? Is there that is a convertible debt.

00;31;07;22 – 00;31;27;21
Unknown
You know, all these things that we have to think about ahead, various stages. Now, there’s also a major it will just get started. And I agree with that. You know, I mean, you could sit around and what is it, you know, cognitive freeze where you’re like, well, that’s a lot to think about. So that’s the point is like even talking to an attorney or really even reading this IBO, when it comes out, you don’t have to do this all at once.

00;31;27;21 – 00;31;47;16
Unknown
It’s just kind of thinking about strategically what the issues that we see in growing a business so we can avoid. It’s much cheaper to have prophylactic work and avoid the issues kind of, but just go for it. We’ll worry about all this later, having it fix it, and sometimes it’s not fixable or it’s fixable, but it’s like threats of lawsuits and things that make it so.

00;31;47;16 – 00;32;02;12
Unknown
The idea is really get to look at, find out what kind of entrepreneur you want to be and then move towards it with legal planning. When I talk about legal planning, ultimately most of my clients want to exit at some point. And so I do some M&A and we are always thinking about what the due diligence is going to look like.

00;32;02;12 – 00;32;17;11
Unknown
At the minute. You would be one in a million if you didn’t have due diligence coming after that, give you this kind of term sheet offer letter that, you know, the valuations have been looking good, but the trick to M&A can be really tough. What it starts out at is there’s a well, gosh, it’s a $15 million valuation or whatever the number.

00;32;17;12 – 00;32;33;14
Unknown
And, you know, it’s like, you didn’t add this partner or the operating agreement and you didn’t do the distributions, Right. Well, we can’t touch something. We can you $2 million off. Wow. You didn’t protect a tier two brand in most company. We did it $3 million like you did until you, you know, it starts going down quickly.

00;32;33;14 – 00;32;50;03
Unknown
And so really, we want to start at the beginning. And that’s my I find that the most rewarding thing about my practice is when I work with an entrepreneur to get from point A to point B, B usually be in the exit without carnage. And so that’s really the the, you know, my practice and strategy. And then we package it so it’s flat.

00;32;50;03 – 00;33;06;15
Unknown
B So you don’t the entrepreneur is not worried about like prices going to the Fair enough. I’ve got a ton of more questions, but to be respectful of everyone’s time, we’re going to have to have you back on the show. Stephen, and talk about due diligence and exiting and M&A and all that fun stuff. Every show we run our guest through the ringer, it’s called The Fire Round.

00;33;06;22 – 00;33;33;29
Unknown
Are you ready? Series of short questions, quick answers. What is your favorite book right now? It’s on Sapiens. And it’s I like sapiens because it’s like why? It’s just an anthropological book about the history of humans and why sometimes we get in disputes, why, why we’re program the way we are. And it’s been really interesting to me because a lot of times, you know, like we can attorneys especially can spin wheels and it’s it’s really but you have to understand how humans are conditioned in a way.

No products found.

00;33;34;01 – 00;33;56;21
Unknown
So it goes all the way from prehistory to now. It’s a pretty easy read. I found it so profound. Why there’s religion. I mean, just a huge question. Yeah, a lot of anthropology I’ll add on to my list. I haven’t heard of the art. What are your hobbies? I love to work out, which is mostly I started kickboxing, but it’s now kind of I’m working out with mixed martial arts trainers and so just doing weights and stuff.

00;33;56;21 – 00;34;13;19
Unknown
I mean, I’m never going to be a mixed martial art party, but I’m just, you know, working out with really intense people and pounding away our weights. I love to ski and I love hanging out with my family and I love listening to music and I love the Denver Nuggets. Awesome. What is one thing that you do not miss about working for the man?

00;34;13;21 – 00;34;30;21
Unknown
Don’t miss the worst part about my job. It was if they said like at the time, at a young family and if they said go. But there’s a meeting in Minnesota tomorrow morning at 9:00. There was no debate. You were just going to drop what you’re doing and get on a plane. You’re really like, you’re not captain to your own ship.

00;34;30;21 – 00;34;47;29
Unknown
Many of the times, of course, I found it a very congenial, nice people. I’m still friends with a lot of them. But as far as like your life being your own, it just wasn’t that was really it got to really trying to the point where they thought it in Minnesota, they thought I did it. I mean, I’m from the Midwest, but I’m not moving to Minnesota.

00;34;48;03 – 00;35;07;14
Unknown
Typical. Fair enough. So yeah, controlling your own time that that is. Yeah. Controlling your own time in your own destiny. Last one. What do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or never get started? I’ve thought about this question a lot. It has to be focused. A focused entrepreneur usually is can get from point A to point B.

00;35;07;14 – 00;35;28;10
Unknown
What does that mean? That means they create their own systems that doesn’t have to be someone else’s system, but own ways of keeping to the task at hand, overcoming issues. So it’s really a tenacity slash focus that I see in these types of entrepreneurs. Sometimes it can be the more mellow ones, like they can let things brush off them, but they are focused on the goal.

00;35;28;11 – 00;35;42;21
Unknown
They’re not running off and saying, Hey, you know, this is going pretty well. I’m thinking about going sell my movie in Ecuador. You know, they’re there. I’m really super focused on the task at hand. They have long term goals. They have short term goals. They’re focused. Steven, I want to thank you for being a guest on the Firing Man podcast.

Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Leonnig, Carol (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

00;35;42;21 – 00;36;09;27
Unknown
If people are interested in getting in touch with you or emerge counsel, what would be the best, right? Sure. So again, we offer consults because we want to get to know people and and their business plans and see if we can help them. It’s WW w e m e rg emerged Counselor SEO Yuan has ELLE.com and my email is s w e aig l here at emerge console and you either I’ll send you a link or on the website you can set up a console.

00;36;09;27 – 00;36;18;04
Unknown
Well, very nice and we will post links to that in the show notes even. Thank you so much for your time today and looking forward to staying in touch. A pleasure you guys. Happy holidays.

Why Do We Say That? 101 Idioms, Phrases, Sayings & Facts! A Brief History On Where They Come From!
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Matthews, Scott (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)