Legal Q & A for Creative Entrepreneurs - Brittany Ratelle - Live IG replay
Hello. Everyone. I Brittany rotelle here I'm gonna try to jump on Facebook. To, to. Get, on and go live as well. But. Happy, Wednesday, sorry. It's been a few, weeks oh hi everybody. But, with holidays, I'm sure I just kind of got off track and was spending time with my family but anyway um I want to get back back, in the saddle I'm, trying, to still trying to play around with times in terms of what's the best time to jump on because, I'm rearranging my childcare so I'm still experimenting, so thanks for your patience, um but, as I, will let you know when I know for sure when the next one will be and I'll post in my Instagram, so thanks. So much for joining me today I'll do a brief introduction, and then get into questions cuz I got a couple beforehand, and so we'll get into that my. Name's Brittany Ratelle and I am, an attorney licensed here in Utah and I, help out creative, entrepreneurs, with their businesses, so I. Think. So so put in the comments if you want to tell me where you're from and, what your business is because, I love knowing, more about who's jumping on here and how I can help you guys and know about more of your business and, but. A lot of the, clients I help run creative businesses, some have our, service, based some our product based some are completely online in that, space and. A lot of them have very similar, concerns, in terms of they, want help with their strategy and formalize, their businesses, protecting, relationships, protecting, their content, and their brands, and what, they're offering and making, sure that as they move forward that all that's in line so that's, kind of what I help with and, I try to get on every week and do these I take I took a break over the holidays but. I try to jump on every week and do a little free, Q&A. Question, and answer so, that you have a space to get, some of your business, questions, answered, um I will, give my disclaimer, that while I am a, business. Attorney oh and by the way don't mind the mess you can see in my facebook, the. Nest behind me but that's my office that's real life for. A while I'm an attorney I'm not your, attorney unless, you want me to be so, please. Don't, consider this a fish legal, advice or an attorney-client relationship. Anything. I talk about today is just for education, or informational, purposes only so if. You have any questions about what I've talked about or what that mean for your specific, facts scenario, your specific business please, reach out to an attorney license in your jurisdiction in. The area of practice that we talked about so and. I'm happy to give some recommendations. Or referrals if I can't or some tips in finding a good attorney and a good business attorney who could help you with what you have questions about so with. That I'm gonna go ahead and, you. Know answer the question that I had that came up so, and. The one that someone submitted beforehand, was Britney. What's. Legally, too close to name and business we're trying to name something - did an online search and, there's a business like in Ireland a foreign business with a similar, name, we're, just she was just wondering kind of the ramifications, of naming something that's the same as a foreign company and, what. That means in terms of when you're trying to pick your business name and this is a great question because this is something that I think all too often people think, about. Really. Far down in, their business growth when, it's they've really invested, a lot in their brand in marketing. And you, know they have the fancy business cards, and the QI shirts and, you, know signage. And of you know put all this effort and money into their brand and then start thinking about wait is this something I can actually protect, and this is too close to something else so um if it's, a foreign, company I'm usually, not too concerned I would, really only be concerned if your growth, strategy, involved. Being, an international, company you know if you were planning on launching a product to start up and you're really your dream was that it would be a global brand and that you'd want to be able to protect it little extra property wise in. Other countries, then, maybe you know you might not want to directly compete with another company um if that's not in your vision or you, know not at least for a long long time down the road then I wouldn't be worried about a foreign company um in terms of, a company in another state, what. You want to think about is are they. In a similar field, meaning. Like are they in a similar industry or offering a similar product so because.
There Are people who can have the, same brand and actually can even trademark. Their same brand. You know there's a couple you know I'm sure there's an Apple company that has Apple in it and then there's obviously Apple, the tech company but, Apple the tech company is very clear that they're offering a different products at someone who actually sells. An Apple you know Apple company is in like the protists the fruit and, so, because, they can distinguish, it and there's, it's not going to be a likelihood, of confusion for, the consumer, they're able to trademark that in that particular sphere so for. Example if you have a name of you. Know fizzle and pop and that's what you know and it's a clothing company um and that's, see that's your fun name that you found maybe, what you probably started, with is did a Google search and that's a good place to start in terms of looking, online is there anyone else in that sphere who's, using that name and. So. Maybe you don't find anyone there good that's a great first step the, next step I would take is to look in your state where you're planning on registering, your business and see is there, anyone in your state, that has that same name um and it's, not in your same state then, that's, great - that's a good like step number two the third step I would take is looking, in the trademark, database and this is called the test system so it's a trademark electronic search, system, and, you, want to look in there to see is there someone in this database that is actually trademarked fizzle, and pop or something, close to it so you, want to be careful about the trademark searches that they. Don't actually have to have the exact, same words if it's something that sounds, similar even phonetically, if it's something that's pronounced similar or if it's fizzles. Pop, or, maybe. It's fizzling, pop or you know what I'm talking about something that's close enough um that sounds close enough that'd be confusing especially, if they're in the same space then it might be hard. To trademark so I wouldn't what we call a strong trademark, and you want a strong trademark, that's ideal, you want to pick something and the strongest trademarks, are words that you make up on your own that's why you have words like Google and, Vivint. And. You. Know what's another good one. You know Omniture, these, are names that people made up that they are kind of reminiscent, of real words and kind of a brand identity and maybe an idea but, people, it's. Not a word that you find in the dictionary and because of that it's a lot easier and it's a lot stronger too trademark because it's. Gonna be likely that someone else does not come up the exact word especially in your same class of goods or your same category industry so hopefully. I'm then answers your question in terms of naming and kind of what you want to think about there and strategy, but. It's a great question because a lot of people think that if you can find the donate name and the social media like handle, for it then like oh it's, fine I'm gonna be good to go and while those are important. Parts of your search those are not the end-all to be all part of your search that should just be the first one of the first steps that you take in terms, of branding, and investing, in the brand name of your business because. Just because you can get the donate name does not mean that that's the name that you can protect that you can trademark, and that can really grow depending, on what you want to do with your business so hopefully. Answers that question um the, next question I got was, um, what are the legalities. Of using another company's plane like, a white background or no background product. Photo and. The, legalities, for that kind. Of regardless of what the background is anytime you're using someone's, photo when. You take a picture, the, automatic, copyright. Is with the person who takes a picture with the photographer, unless you've taken other steps to, splice out and divvy up what the copyright is and then in any kind of intellectual property we talked about a bundle of sticks and so, if you take a picture of something meaning if you take a product photo of a.
Pacifier. Whoever. Takes. That product. Photo is usually the copyright owner now most companies obviously they, hire photographer. To, take that product photo and then they say that's part of it I own that copyright so, say, I'm a brand who manufactures. And sells pacifiers, I probably, hire someone to take the product photo now I own that photo because that's part of my brand because we probably have that in that contract if you didn't have a contract that's, something else we need to talk about because that's, a that's a big mistake is, to not make it clear who owns the, ultimate copyrights, and into photography especially if it's something is important. As a product photo so. If you're a brand who now owns that and you put it up on your social media or it's, in your product, description, or on your shop or some other way it's available to the public the. The. Assumption, is that you are not okay with people sharing. That photo um it's, it's tricky because of this online world most people think that sharing, is carrying and of course someone would want me to, share, a photo of. Theirs, and how could that hurt them especially if I'm giving credit and a shout-out I'm not claiming that it's mine so, a lot of people ask you know don't really have to ask permission and, technically. The answer is yes. Anytime, you use a photo, that you do not have the, ownership up that you don't have clearance, to use the rights to you so ever you want to phrase it it, doesn't belong to you the copyright you need to ask written, permission that, doesn't mean you have to send along like Civil War s key mail you know do. Your company I would like to know if, I can use you know a direct, message is fine and email is fine email is probably better because it's easier to save an archive if there's ever an issue you could say look you can be permission here's your email right here but, if you do direct message to screenshot, it keep it in your business file somewhere on your you know phone keeping your notes and your Dropbox or something but. You want to get written permission from someone that's really ideal and, you, also want to give credit to someone that's actually usually a common courtesy and a professional, thing to do is to give credit to the brand and also to give credit to the photographer, if you know or you can find out who that is so. Those will be the steps that I would take in terms, of if you want to use someone else's, picture. So I know that kind of seems like a lot of work and you're like well I'm.
Just You know I'm helping these people out can. I just throw it up there and the answer is yeah, you probably can but, you're always taking, a risk that, there can be a problem that a company, wouldn't. Like the way that you're using their photo they maybe wouldn't like the endorsement, or the implied endorsement and. Really. The burden could fall with them in terms of if you haven't made it clear if there's any relationship, between you two you could actually kind, of have a FTC. Issue an, FTC disclosures, mean that if there's any kind of commercial relationship, between an influencer, or a third party and a, business, that. You need to disclose, what, that is so if you have sponsored, content of any kind or you've. Received free product, or discount, code or, comped. Airline or, hotel stay, or anything that. You need to disclose that relationship, you need to disclose that when you're talking about a product obviously. When you're talking about your own product, on your own product, page you know if I'm selling. You'll go back to my fizzle and pop shirts, on fizzle, and pop Instagram. Page that's, okay people know that that's a commercial account and they understand, that that's what I'm my. Speech is going to involve me as the owner of that brand what's not clear is if, you, know. Frolic. And fun you, know Instagram, blogger talks about like oh my gosh I just found the cutest shirts these are amazing, they're so soft and, they fit me just right a boyfriend, style or she puts out a cute flat light um what's, not as clear is it's just she does, she honestly just, like these shirts and she's just talking about them as like a favorite, find on her Friday or did. She get these shirts for free or is. There a relationship, where she gets you know 10% of, all t-shirt, sales so. That's what you need to disclose is any of that stuff that's going on so and. You could do that by using clear, hashtags, as long as they're not buried you can use that and, using natural language, hashtag. Add is one, that the FTC has said that it's very clear or add you. Know things like hashtag. Collaboration. Or thanks, to or partnership, with are not as clear and, if you have more questions about this specific, stuff about FTC disclosures, I have a free course on my website at Brittany Ratelle comm it's, free it's, and it's an hour long that's, all it takes you you can you know split it up and a couple different chunks if you want to and it's a video course that walks you through how do you disclose, how do you do it correctly and make sure that you're covering your back okay your CY main if you are brand or if you're an influencer, of any kind if you do any kind of content, creation for other people and, you, want to make sure that you are doing. Correct disclosures, and the different platforms meaning. Do should I do audio, do I need to do a visual just something need to come up on the screen how, does that look like I give examples, and walk you through all the steps so please, go sign up for that if you're interested and. That, could be super helpful to you okay, those are the two questions that I got beforehand, but I'm going to open it up for, a few more minutes if anyone else has any other questions and I can answer you. Just drop them in the comments and if I can help you I'd be happy to. Um so. And hope everyone had a great holiday I know I think great holiday I hope, everyone, if you're not signed. Up for my newsletter my podcast, those are also in my website as well Britney rotelle comm and they, can help you out and answer a lot of other the similar stuff I'm talking about okay Cecilia.
Says If I purchase a custom logo made from Etsy from my website in building do I need to get it trademarked even if it might be for too long. So. You. Don't trademark. Is a little usually a little bit more expensive investment. So if you don't plan on using it too long or you don't plan on it being something that you grow in your business a big part of your brand it might, not be worth it to trademark so, I usually. Quote, most, people kind of a basic trademark package the packages, around $1000 for, like one class of goods so you, can do it online for cheaper but there, I have a lot of people who have problems with that because it doesn't involve a really good search and it doesn't involve office action reply is meaning if the trademark office comes back and says we have a question about this assist in this you. Don't know how to respond to it or you don't respond to it in the right way and then you've just wasted money and the claim dies and, all those filing fees just get wasted so what. I would say is if you are buying, something over, Etsy. Meaning like someone is doing it for work over you for at sea I would, make sure that you have some sort of agreement or, contract in, writing about, that, you now own the rights to this and that they can't sell, the same logo to someone else okay because, that's the only issue I see sometimes when people use discount. You know graphic designers or someone online they, use like Fiverr or. You. Know a freelance, kind of graphic design website, and. I, just, I want to make sure that it's really clear that you are paying them for this specific, design that. You now own the rights to this design and they are no longer able to use this design for anything else so um and if you have if. You want more questions you can email me about that that's. Something that you like help with writing I could probably give you a good deal on that anyway um but that is something I would just keep in mind I know people who have had who, found people because they can get a great deal on the website designers, or graphic design and, then have found out after the fact you know sometimes even months months later that, that website that, was not original, and now they can't use it because someone, else is now going after them and claiming. Copyright infringement, saying look that's my exact thing and, they could be right and if someone else's TRAI taking steps, to trademark it now you could be liable for damages so you. Don't want that to happen so you, know do a little research on your designer and make sure your guys are on the same page okay crunchy, mamas asked can I put my logo on any brand a shirt or only apparel bought from dealers, is, that too random yeah. You, can put your logo on any kind, of shirt you. Mean. You could get one like if you go to Fred 421 and buy a cheap t-shirt like you could put your logo on that on top of it so there's, doesn't have to be a specific kind of like wholesale, dealer, in terms of t-shirt um I imagine, you probably would get a better deal that way but I guess, the question is if there's already some, sort of artwork on it could you like add your logo, to it and I don't see a problem with that I guess. The only question would be if if your if it's licensed, material, and now you're reselling it but I think you should be the, first sale doctrine, usually says that you can take things and kind, of recycle them and, license, them the only the, only caveat I would say with that as if it is some sort of license like if it's a Mickey Mouse shirt, you.
Might Have to be careful in terms of how you're advertising, that you probably can't sell. That as like Oh Mickey, Mouse Disney shirt or something because they. Usually owned the rights especially a big company like Disney, I know this comes up a lot for people who run Etsy shops that have like sports apparel you, know if there have a Ravens, hoodie they, have to be really careful about how they market in terms of using, that language because you, know if you own the Ravens all of that content is licensed in terms of their logo their, artwork their colors sometimes so, um if that's. An issue I would just say be careful about that you might need to look into that a little bit more so um okay, someday, find a great deal I'm always worried about that it would be a blank slate sure then yeah you should be fine if you find a great deal like you can totally resell anything, that you find t-shirts, so no you don't have to have some this and be happy from a dealer you don't have to find it on Alibaba, or something if you find Qi shirts go for it and make, them your so that's, the luck okay. Um. Let's. Say did we have any other questions. I probably have like two more minutes so if someone else has a quick question they want to jump on, I'm. Happy to answer, um. Oh. Yeah. But I just realized I never actually went live on Facebook so it says click here to begin the live broadcast, whoops oh oh well, for Facebook so I don't I don't get off Facebook that much anymore I only get on for business stuff do you guys get on Facebook I just I guess, something had to give and sorry it was Facebook like I know you know we've had a long term relationship since, college but yeah. Sometimes, you just you gotta move on I think so, okay. Hey, I'm, gonna give you like 30 more seconds if anyone else has any other questions to jump on otherwise, we'll wrap it up today I will, let you know that I post. These on my Facebook, is my bread and butter okay, well awesome that's that's, great yeah you don't use Facebook either I just it's. Just this too much of a stream of consciousness come you know for people I use groups on Facebook I do think those are really helpful um so I belong to a lot of groups but like terms, of going on and actually like reading my feet I just I just don't do that anymore so yeah, this is not my deal so, I'm. Gonna post this to my, account so do you want to watch, it again if. You want to send it to a friend if you think that there's something else, um yeah, too much to sort through exactly there's something else that you think it could be useful for a friend please, pass it on I you, know I'm I'm, I've, been working, as an attorney in this field for a few years and helping businesses, but I will admit I am an amateur legal. Marketer so I'm still learning in terms of how to find my people, you people and all your friends who are business owners in terms of helping you out and I'm, really trying to make myself available as a resource so anything, you could do to pass the word along I'd really appreciate it, I'll. Tell you about my newsletter again if you're interested it's Brittany Ratelle comm slash, newsletter, I have a free you, know legal checklist, guide that you can download when you sign up to be on my newsletter that, kind of walks you through some of the bird's-eye view of things you should think they think it would be things you should be thinking about in terms of setting up your business legally, I also, have a podcast so, you can find that Brittany retail comm slash podcast, called lawn wit those. Episodes come out on Friday and it's um the podcast is all about creative. Counsel, for entrepreneurs, so I have a Nick so interviews, with guests. People who are experts, in different creative, entrepreneur. Elements. People who have built their own businesses, or otherwise. Work, and advising businesses in. The kind of creative online field and then, I put, some I drop some legal kind of tips and tricks in there for you too so I give you kind of a mix of that and, then, my, newsletter comes out every week and I try, not to waste your time I try to make it funny and entertaining and, bite-size, little, digestible content, for you cuz I get that you're busy I'm.
Busy I'm, a mama for I'm, a naptime attorney, and I, don't I don't have time to waste your time so and I don't I don't take that lightly your time either so thanks. So much for being here I really appreciate it, and I hope you guys have a great week and I'll. I'll, let you know next week when I'll pop on it'll probably either be money or Wednesday I'll have to take a look at my schedule and see what works so anyway, have a great week and thanks, so much for being here bye.