Wow, United States Patent and Trademark Office. WOW. I am just… so pleased.
I did my first successful freelance martial arts gig about a week ago, and I was passing out cards with the name of my operation, but I haven’t trademarked it yet. I googled “trademark,” and the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) came up. And hey look! They had an instructive video for noobs! How sweet. I’ll bet it consists of some plain woman walking around some dismal office in a pant-suit and shoulder pads (circa 1985), listing in a thin monotone while vaguely gesturing to the cheap bullet points that appear next to her as she lists all the boring shit I’ll have to read and fill out to get the process started. Her hair will be the most entertaining visual aid, and her tobacco-stained teeth will resemble the linoleum in my bubbie’s kitchen. The image will be grainy. It’ll look like some shitty high school project. Someone will walk by near the water cooler and engage in some jerky, awkwardly informative dialog with our host, then mercifully slink away, allowing her to once again focus on us, her victi-I mean viewers, with her dead gorgon eyes.
Yes, my expectations were good and set. I’ve been putting off watching this video for a solid couple of weeks. Well no more! If I must watch it, then so be it! My little one-woman company must must forward! To the future! To the trademark office! To the educational video!
About ten seconds into this video, the collective weight of all my nasty assumptions imploded upon itself like a dying star. The USPTO has apparently created an informative video in the guise of a mock news channel, complete with graphics, anchors (with names like Mark Trademan), a well-designed newsroom (completely digitally created), and even a little ticker along the bottom and feeds “United States patent and Trademark Office – Search on TESS – File on TEAS” over and over. Not exactly informative, but it lends a sense of authenticity to have scrolling text meander across the bottom 5% of the screen.
It’s called TMIN (Trademark Information Network), and boy am I impressed. Let’s watch!
Holy shit, it’s the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, live via satelite! How did they swing that? CNN’s been trying to nail that guy down for weeks! And the Deputy Undersecretary! The Undersecretary explains quite clearly what the differences between a patent, trademark, and copyrights are.
Too bad he’s stuck in that totally unfurnished office. At least he has a nice view of the autumn colors until the cleaning crew arrives to let him out.
Now it’s up to the Deputy Undersecretary to really thrill us with her stunning delivery of the process of trademarking, etc. Take it away, Sharon!
Woah, never mind! Grab a nap, relax, maybe stop having that seizure first.
Wait, is that “reporter” in a Radioshack? I thought this was a news room.
But enough chit-chat with the higher-ups. It’s time for a 3D graphics display from an incredible, entirely fabricated piece of machinery, followed by a sit-down interview with OH MAI GAWD it’s a pant-suit! And shoulder pads! We found them, and they were here all along! They were hanging out with the awkwardly informative dialog! Yikes, it’s almost like she’s wearing camouflage of some kind.
This guy just said we can use trademarks without registering them with the USPTO. Wtf? Oh wait, I need to protect it somehow. Damn, never mind.
Wait! This lady just said that the people who enforce this protection is the trademark owner. So if someone tries to use my logo on their stuff, I get to use my ninja skillz to stop them? And that’s legal? Who knew the USPTO would encourage street justice? I’m seriously diggin’ this video.
Bearing in mind that this thing was written by the guy who plays the head anchor, it really wasn’t half bad, especially given all I’ve retained about trademarking. There are ten videos on his page. My weekend is shaping right up.
Patents are usually for inventions of some kind, things like machinery. Trademarks are business-oriented, and protect brand names, slogans and logos. Copyrights are often “entertainment oriented,” and protect books, movies, paintings and music.