I’ve been working to finalize my book and get it published. When I was literally about two weeks away from publication, I thought I’d double check a few things…including the title. I looked at it as merely a formality, as I had researched it about three years ago when I originally had the idea for the book. I considered it all part of “crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.” I did a search on Google and search on Amazon to see what else was out there…and something came up that I hadn’t seen before. It led me to dig a little deeper and a little deeper and then realized there might be an issue.
I touched base with the trademark lawyer, who advised against using the name that I’ve been using because someone has a trademark on it. While you can’t trademark a book title, you can trademark courses and programs related to a book. Since I planned to conduct seminars and teach people how to develop their personal brands, I knew I needed to be mindful of trademark issues. It didn’t really matter for the book title itself, but for the courses that would correspond to the book, the title I had chosen would be problematic.
I was devastated.
Here I was, all ready to go. I had the (which I’ve had for several years), everything designed and laid out–the works. But because of my background in branding, I knew that this could be very tricky.
So I fell back and regrouped.
With the help of family and friends, I explored a bunch of different options and finally narrowed it down to what I felt was a good title and subtitle, one that still integrated the core concepts I have been espousing without violating anyone’s trademark.
I used trademarkia.com to do my initial research. This is a super handy site if you’re looking at branding questions. You can search on words, phrases and marks that are filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Just to be safe, I hired a lawyer from legalforce.com for a 15 minute consultation. I was skeptical going into the call that it might be a scam, that she would only try to upsell me to a more expensive consultation (I had been given another quote for a thousand dollars to get advice on the exact same research). But that is not what happened at all! I got great advice quickly and was able to move forward with confidence that I was on solid ground.
I’m actually really happy with where I landed, and I think it’s even stronger than what I had before. Throughout this process, I’ve learned:
- Sometimes our setbacks are really a set up for something even better!
- Legalforce.com is a viable solution for simple legal questions.
- If you’re an entrepreneur and need to be mindful of your brand trademark issues, be sure to do your homework and triple check that you’re in the clear before moving forward!
So now the name of the book is Your Branding Edge: How Personal Branding Can Turbocharge Your Career. Let me know what you think of the new name!