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He waited too long… and it cost him!

He waited too long, and it cost him…


Getting the legal stuff done can be intimidating, and it can seem expensive… but I’m here to tell you how waiting to get things squared away cost one client  big!

Hi, I’m Gordon Firemark, The Podcast Lawyer™ , and I help creatives and business people in the podcasting industry cover their legal bases and protect themselves and the things they create.

True Story

So this is true story, about a client I’m currently working with… trying to solve a problem that wouldn't have happened if he hadn’t waited too long to get some legal and business stuff handled.

Imagine how you’d feel if this happened to you!

This client, (whom I’m not going to name because of confidentiality, and I don’t want to cause him any embarrassment. ) This client is an award-winning podcaster.  He was podcasting from the very beginning of the medium.  One of the original crop of podcasters.  He started his show something like 14 years ago, and came up with a really great title.  It’s distinctive. It evokes a really great sense of the energy behind is subject, and it’s gotten millions of downloads.  A truly successful podcast.

But here’s the thing.  He never bothered to register a trademark for his show title.  At least never until he discovered someone else starting up a podcast using a very similar title.   That’s when he called me.  “Let’s register my show title for trademark protection”.  

So, I looked into it, followed best practices, and ran a trademark search… and discovered that not just this one other show was using a similar title, but there was another one.  AND… they’d already applied to register their title as a trademark.  The marks are not identical, so we decided to go for it and register..

Examiner suspends application

Now, trademark law is all about preventing any “likelihood of confusion”.  So when  the examiner at the trademark office saw that other application she  concluded that they’re too similar, and  suspended our application, while the other one was pending.    And the application has basically been in limbo ever since.

We’ve been trying to negotiate a deal with the other mark holder, so both podcasts can co-exist.  We’ve been trying to persuade the examiner that my client has priority because he was using the title first, all those years ago.  

And it’s slow going.  We’ve been at it over a year now, and there’s a pretty good chance  that my clients’ application will be rejected. 

“No trademark for you”

Now, does that mean he has to stop using his title?   Probably not.

But he will then have to deal with the fact that there’s another show with a confusingly similar title out there… and forever be associated with it.  

So much for having a distinctive brand that sets you apart from the rest, right?

And.. all this year-long legal wrangling?  It costs… 

The part where I say “I told you so”

None of this would’ve been a problem if he’d just made the relatively small investment in registering the trademark back when he started.

So, the moral of this story… don’t wait too long to get your legal ducks in a row.  Take the steps to protect yourself, your business, your brand sooner, rather than later.

Yes, legal stuff costs money.  But waiting?  That’s bound to cost you much much more.

If you’ve found this information useful, please share it.  Like, comment, follow, subscribe.. you know what I’m talking about.

And if I’ve inspired you to stop waiting and take some action, by all means reach out to me.  I’m here to help.

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