Simplifying Entrepreneurship

It’s Time to Protect Your Intellectual Property - with Devin Miller

May 17, 2022 Season 3 Episode 21
Simplifying Entrepreneurship
It’s Time to Protect Your Intellectual Property - with Devin Miller
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Peter Mohr and Devin Miller talk all things Intellectual Property. Devin explains the difference between the subtypes of IP, plus when & where you would want to use each. He lays out when patents, trademarks, and copyrights can bring value to your business, and how IP can be both an asset and a defensive measure. 

Here are a few things we cover

 

·         Protecting and promoting with IP as an entrepreneur 

·         When Intellectual Property is a valuable investment 

·         Regional marketplaces & local small business advice

·         Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights 

·         How to Defend Inventions, Creative Content, and Branding

Notable passages:

4:00 Figuring out which type of IP benefits YOUR business

7:20 How to know when your business actually needs IP

11:15 Worldwide vs regional IP protection

15:38 Actionable steps you can take today for your IP strategy 

 

Reference Link to Devin:

 Website: www.strategymeeting.com

 
For more entrepreneurial wisdom and quick tips, follow Pete on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/petemohr_coach/

Support the show
Devin Miller:

You know, you always have more things to spend money on than money to spend on HR, you have hiring and firing, you have product development, you have marketing and sales, you have rent, and you have legal that all these things are competing for your dollars. And so one of the things that typically gets pushed to the back and I get why it's illegal stuff, because you're saying, Oh, wait, we'll wait to that down the road. Getting a strategy in place is better. In other words, if you've maybe you can't do it today, but you say, okay, when is our deadlines? When do we have to have these things done? And then let's work our way backwards to say, Okay, now we know we have to have these things. We don't can't do it today. So let's get that strategy that roadmap. And I think that that one more than anything else, if you can get that idea in place of hey, in six months or a year, when we hit this mark, this is what we're going to do on this run. When we hit a year and a half, or we hit this myself, and we have this much brand rep value and reputation, we're going to do X, Y and Z. That alone is going to probably scare people more heartache later down the road because they get things done rather than missing later on.

Pete Mohr:

Are you making every decision in your business may be feeling a little overworked and overwhelmed? Do you ever wish you had someone to go over the big decisions and entrepreneurial choices you had to make? Well, maybe this sounds familiar. Your partner at home doesn't want to hear about business anymore. And your friends don't know what the heck you're talking about. And maybe your team at work well, even though you have an open door policy, they're not always as open as you'd like them to be. Well, there's good news. I have room for two more one on one coaching clients next quarter. And, you know, here's how it works. We'll get together on Zoom either every week, or every second week to discuss the strategies and frameworks that will clarify your thinking and advance your business and entrepreneurial life. It's all about the five P's, your promise your product, your process, your people and your profit. Once they're better aligned, you'll enjoy a better life and business. Remember, you own your business and it shouldn't own you. It's time to reduce the frustrations and increase the freedoms. So if this sounds interesting, go to simplifying entrepreneurship.com forward slash Call to book a freedom call with me and we'll see if we're right fit. Hey, it's Pete and welcome to another edition of the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast. We're helping you cut through the chaos of running a business and transforming your frustrations into freedoms. And today, I had the opportunity to speak with Devin Miller. And Devin is a lifelong serial entrepreneur that started several businesses. He's also a lawyer and in fact, an IP lawyer. So we're going to talk IP, your intellectual property as well as what's the difference between a patent and a trademark, we're going to get into all the ideas about why you want a patent or a trademark or if you need one. So it's a great conversation. If it's been something you've been thinking about, you maybe don't know enough about it, or you're interested in learning more. We'll dig into it here on the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast today with Devin Miller. Devin Miller, it is great to have you here today on the simplifying entrepreneurship Podcast.

Devin Miller:

I'm excited to be here and always a pleasure. We haven't had this conversation

Pete Mohr:

on the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast, but it's an important one. And I'm excited here today to talk about all things around IP, and trademarks and patents and all of that good stuff. And I know that's where you live and your your zone of influence basically, around that. So excited to have you on board here today. So you know, one of the questions that I know, I've worked with patent lawyers and stuff as part of my coaching side of things in the past, but I know one of the questions that often comes up with entrepreneurs is what's the difference between a patent and a trademark?

Devin Miller:

Yeah, I would take it as even one step further as what is intellectual property. And then what is a patent trade. Intellectual property is kind of an umbrella term and incorporates patents, trademarks, and copyrights. So a lot of times when people say IP, or intellectual property, they can be framed to one or all of the above, because it's kind of that umbrella term. So if you're gonna think of Patents, Patents really go towards inventions. So something that has a functionality it done, something you created, it can be software, it can be electrical, it can be hardware, any or all the above that it has to kind of have that functionality of products solves a problem and it does something the trademarks are gonna go towards more of a brand. So if you're an anything that's really towards branding, so if you have to think of a name of a company name of a product, a logo, a catchphrase, something of that nature that goes towards your brand falls on their trademarks. And then copyrights are kind of the last one and copyrights are more on the creative side. So I think it's kind of that more creative nature. So if you think of a book your picture sculpting, painting, a movie a television show, a podcast Any have any or all the above, it's going to be under more of those creative nature's gonna go into copyright. So that's kind of always the first step is to get a better understanding of what each of each one's of those are because they have different purposes, and they fit your business differently depending on what you're doing.

Pete Mohr:

Yeah, I know like for me, we own some shoe stores and with our culture utopia, and we have a brand around that, and a logo around that and everything. And we have that trademarked and it's an important piece of our intellectual property with regards to our, our brand and our store and owning that, right. And there's value behind that, too, for the future, if you ever do want to sell it.

Devin Miller:

Yeah, no. And that's kind of get to know most the purpose of intellectual property and kind of is, you know, first of all, you have to figure out which one is valuable to your business. But then you do that, they're kind of two reasons why you generally get intellectual property, whether it's patent trademark, or copyright kind of the same purpose. One is a defensive posture, hey, I want to, if somebody were to come along there to rip us off, copy us knock us off, or otherwise, we want to have some way to fend off competitors. So if we put in all this time, money and effort, whether it's creating the next best widget, the next best smartphone, or creating a great brand, or you write the next best Tom Clancy book, or whatever it might be, you want to be able to protect that. And then the other one is you want to do that as an asset, which is the talk touched on and you know, most people to say, well, it's really for protection. But it can also work as an asset, because now you're able to encapsulate and capture as an activity in a tangible asset or as intellectual property, something that, hey, we put in a ton of time building this brand. And we really want to be able to have those. And so you think of some of the biggest companies in the world, and they have a ton of money tied up in their brand, you think of Pepsi, coke, Apple, Samsung, Nike, Adidas, and whatever. And they think, hey, those are really name recognizable, they put in a ton of marketing effort, and they build a brand around it. And that's when you're in castling. So becomes an asset for same thing with if you don't think of all the, you know, whether it's an iPhone, or a Samsung Galaxy, or whatever the widget is, or the thing you're looking at, they put in a ton of research development, time and effort to build that. And so they want to encapsulate that as an asset for the business, not just as for protection, but as you mentioned, is an asset that you can purchase, you can sell, you can license and you can do other things with

Pete Mohr:

you know, Devin, a lot of our podcast listeners are small business owners, and they're thinking themselves, Well, why don't I need a patent? Or why do I need a trademark? Or why do I need to protect my IP? Why don't you give us a couple of reasons why people who are either just starting up, or maybe have been in business for a while, and are at that level where they're kind of contemplating, but they don't really know if they need to, and all that sort of stuff?

Devin Miller:

Yeah. And I would say, you know, the first question is whether or not you need it, some, some people don't need it, generally, the people that don't fall in any of the categories, and I'll walk you through the quick categories of what they are. But if you're a mom and pop shop that in nothing or against them, I think they're great, they will, they are serving the local community, they just have, you know, a single location or a couple of locations that are serving the, the, you know, the few blocks surrounding him, you probably don't need any of them. Because you're not you don't fit in that, and it doesn't provide you the value, but where you're really looking at is, so if you're gonna go for a patent patent, or generally, hey, I want to I'm going to put a lot of time, money and effort to develop a great new product. And you were saying, even as a startup, because a lot of businesses, yeah, they get bigger and later on and they continue on. But you know, as a startup you're really looking for, we're going to create the next great best product and whatever industry you're doing, and that requires one investment dollars, that requires a lot of time, money and effort in there, you know, that r&d that goes into it. And so the patent is really there to say, even as a startup, you're really saying, I want to if we're going to invest all this time, money and effort, we want to have something that is protected, and gives us that ability to keep that proprietary or talk to us. And so that's where you start out as a as a startup or small business. And the other thing a lot of times, especially for patents, as you're saying, hey, if we're gonna go out and do a venture capital, we're gonna do venture capital angel investors, we're gonna go out and do a fundraising round or multiple one. A lot of times a patent gives you ability to get it at a higher leverage your valuation at a higher valuation, because now they're saying, hey, these aren't just ideas, we've actually gone to the routes of protecting them. And this is now something that's tangible or investable, that they can secure their assets again. Now, if you're saying, Hey, I'm not creating any great widgets, I'm not doing that I'm just creating a brand, I'm going to do the best customer service, we're going to really just make it a good experience we're going to do we got a great marketing team, we know social media, or SEO or whatever that might be, where does the brand so we get you probably don't need a patent. But what you do is as you're building that brand, if you're starting out small, and you're saying hey, we're just going to you know, do a little brand and it's going to be a fun little side, hustle or business probably doesn't make sense. But if your goal is you're going to build a business, you're going to invest in it. You're going to build a reputation, you're going to do all those marketing dollars, all those type of things even when you're small. You're saying if you're investing all that what you don't want is some else do as you now build a brand as you now grow, come along, and one either find out that somebody already owns that brand, and now you're infringing theirs. And now you're gonna redo all of your branding, you're gonna, you know, review all your logos, you're gonna do a rebrand everything, not fun and this expensive, or to you find out we've put all this time, money and effort, we build the great brand. And now we got all these copycats that want to leverage and come along and otherwise, write our coattails to leverage our brand in order to build their business. And you're saying, Hey, I don't care if you build your own business, but don't let don't take our brand and use all of our time, money and effort. So those are kind of why you're starting to say even as a startup or small business, that's really when you're going to consider it isn't so you can, whether it's building a brand, or building a widget or whatnot, that you can protect is what you're doing such that you can capture that value and make sure that others aren't leveraging the value of all the investment you put into the business.

Pete Mohr:

Yeah, I think, you know, that was definitely one of the reasons why we went the trademark route was utopia. I mean, as we're gaining traction online, and as we're gaining traction within our marketplace, and all that sort of stuff is like, we don't want other people and I'm in Canada. So, you know, we took out a Canadian trademark with regards to that. You know, there are some utopias in the States, but that wasn't as big of a concern. So even from that perspective, talk a little bit about your regional trademarks versus worldwide trademarks, for those that are interested in that sort of stuff

Devin Miller:

isn't really anything as such as a world whether it's patents, trademarks, Comm, you can't get it worldwide. Now. You can get them in each of the individual companies, but there's, you know, we'll get people to come in their offices, I just want to protect this worldwide, it's gonna blow up and be the best thing and everybody's gonna want to buy it and every country as they will, there isn't a worldwide copyright, there isn't a worldwide trademark or patent. So what you can do is you can file it at each individual country.

Pete Mohr:

This episode of the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast is brought to you by shoe topia.ca. I've owned shoe topia now for over 12 years, and we're always looking to ensure our clients look great and feel fantastic. Like when you look in the mirror, and you say, Ooh, I look pretty good. And when you close your eyes, and you say, Ah, those feel fantastic. That's when you know, you've found the perfect pair, whether you come for visit in person, or visit us online at shoe topia.ca. Our goal is always to make you feel like family and provide an experience you'll remember, our clients are at the very heart of Utopia, visit us@utopia.ca. Currently, we're only shipping to Canadian addresses.

Devin Miller:

Just to give you a warning, even the biggest companies that I've worked for, and I you know, prior to starting my firm, I worked for an Amazon and Intel and others, they didn't do it in every country because it gets exorbitantly expensive, and it doesn't have a return in every country. In other words, if you go and get a trademark or a patent in Madagascar, you can do it. But unless you plan on selling your product in Madagascar, it doesn't make sense. Nothing gets Madagascar example. So that's why when you're looking at whether it's patent trademark or copyright, and really kind of falls in the same gear, or same boat, you're looking and saying, first of all, identify the value of your business, are you a product company and you need a you know, you're creating and you're doing technology or other things, you need a patent there, you made something new, or your brand company need a trademark, or you creative and you're writing and doing a great book or a great movie or something that you're on the copyright. The second thing you do is you look and say where's our marketplace? In other words, they're saying, Hey, 90%, of where we're going to sell is in Canada. And yes, a small percentage will be in the US, but 90% in Canada, then I would say spend your time and money and effort on making sure you have it locked down in Canada. And then maybe if you have that other 10% of us and you grow out and you build into the US. On the other hand, you know, we have some clients that are in the medical device arena. And they are saying they have to big markets us is a huge market because by by NFR, the US Air spends more on medical devices and medical equipment than any other country. But then the second one is they're saying Europe is another one because Europe has different standards for how you can get a medically approved device. And so they're saying we have needs in both or both locations. So we go and get some things in the EU, we get trademarks and patents in the in the US. And so it's really more focused where your bulk of your cells are and where your customers are, and protected there. And then if you're saying, hey, yeah, we have two cells and Medicare 2% of our cells are in Madagascar. But it doesn't make sense to investor because the return isn't there. So that's kind of how you're you start to delineate out between the various countries.

Pete Mohr:

Yeah, I mean, I think that's, I think that's interesting, because a lot of people when they start to think about it, they think that it's going to be a worldwide one. And that was that's something that a lot of people Oh, I didn't know, you know, from from that side of things. So it's interesting to to really sort of work around the framework of where you do business and understand that you want to own it there more than anything else, at least to begin right

Devin Miller:

Yeah, I mean, eventually you might get there. And there are worldwide products even look at Apple for a long period of time. They didn't they weren't in China, like they didn't want to deal with knockoff, they weren't in there. Now they are. But for a long period, they were one of the biggest companies were a name store necessarily worldwide for quite a period of time. And so just because you think eventually this might be worldwide, start out where you are reasonably going to be in the next few years, make sure you get that protection locked down. And then if you continue to grow, and you enter new markets, then worry about at that point,

Pete Mohr:

cool. You know, one of the things that we like to do on simplifying entrepreneurship podcast is give people sort of something they can do, right, as soon as they finish listening to the podcast. And if you were to sort of nail it down to one or two things that they can do, regarding this whole idea around, you know, the trademarks, the copyrights, the patents, what would they be, so that they can really get to work soon as they finish listening here? Yeah, I'll

Devin Miller:

give a couple one is in one bit of a shameless self promotion, but it's really not self promotion, because it's what I would recommend anyway, which is, I would get a strategy in place. Because most of the time, a lot of times, especially if you're startup or small business, you know, you always have more things to spend money on than money to spend, you have HR, you have hiring and firing, you have product development, you have marketing and sales, you have rent, and you have all these things at hand, you have legal that all these things that are competing for your dollars, and you never have enough money to spend on all of them. And so one of the things that typically gets pushed to the back and I get why it's illegal stuff, because you're saying, Oh, wait, wait to that down the road. And getting a strategy in place is better? In other words, if you've maybe you can't do it today, but you say, okay, when is our deadlines, when do we have to have these things done. And then let's work our way backwards to say, Okay, now we know we have to have these things. We don't can't do it today. So let's get that strategy that roadmap. And I think that that one more than anything else, if you can get that idea in place of hey, in six months or a year, when we hit this mark, this is what we're going to do on this run, when we hit a year and a half, or we hit this micelles, and we have this much brand rep value and reputation, we're going to do X, Y and Z, that alone is going to probably spare people more heartache later down the road because they get things done rather than missing later on. Now, you can do it on your own. And I you know, definitely get when you're in startup mode, you have to do it on your own because you don't have the money. But one of the other things I would recommend, and that's why I say it was a shameless plug is I would go and even get a free consultation free strategy meeting. And that's what we do, spend 1520 minutes at least get an understanding of what you need to do for your business. And even if you can't get started today, get that strategy and roadmap. So if they wanted to do with us, then go to strategy meeting.com, that links right to my calendar, and then grab some time, and we'll have that strategy session. But even if you don't do with me, make sure you do a Strat or sit down and strategize are amongst yourself, then the other thing I would do is do your research, and figure out is is what you're doing or what you're creating actually worthwhile. You know, the ironic thing is, is I'll have people that come into my office more, more than I, you know, that they may care to admit, and they'll say, I've got this great idea, and it's gonna be earth shattering. So you know, it really seems like I've seen that before, you know, did you happen to do any homework or see if that's on the market? No, but I'm you know, but I'm sure it's not. It's a great idea. And so why don't we spend five minutes? Let's just look it up? And then we'll, we'll spend about two minutes early and say, so is this the we had Mike? Oh, yeah, that's what Yeah, well, you might have a problem with it's already out in the marketplace and selling, you're gonna have to figure out what your strategy is to out compete with them. So do your homework first, see if it's something that's worthwhile to invest in, and then assuming it is, and you're building a business or getting going, then get that strategy in place.

Pete Mohr:

Love that. Love that. So other than that, if people want to reach out to you, what's the best way, Devin as we wrap this thing up here today?

Devin Miller:

Sure. Yeah, I'll give three different ways depending on what they want to reach out to you. So the one we've already hit on strategy meeting, that's kind of a one on one consultation, where we sit down strategize for your business, it's not going to be an end all be all of answering every possible question can happen, it gives you a pretty good basis for making a decision and getting that roadmap in place. So strategy meeting.com, to grab some time, if they just want to grab, you know, come check out our website, they want to learn more, we have a ton of material we have our own podcast is completely different than this one. We have a ton of videos, we have content, we have articles, we have just about every way you can consume because we're really here looking to help startups and small businesses. So they can go to law with Miller all one word law with miller.com, check out our website. Then the last one is I'm a huge believer in LinkedIn, I love to connect on people think I don't really use much of any other social media platform, but I do like LinkedIn. So they just gotta meet miller.com that dirt goes right to my LinkedIn profile. So meet miller.com If you want to connect up with me on LinkedIn law with miller.com for a website, and strategy meeting.com If they want to chat with me.

Pete Mohr:

Well, thanks so much for spending some time. I think there's been a lot of great useful information here today, around all of the things IP and such an important piece of businesses as we grow and experience that growth. We want to make sure we're protected right? Absolutely. All right, man. It's been pleasure having you here on simplify Entrepreneurship make it a great day.

Devin Miller:

You as well. Thanks for having me

Pete Mohr:

on. Thanks for spending some time here today with Devin and I and think about how you can apply this whole concept of intellectual property. Your trademark, do you even need one? And if you do, have you started with it yet? Are you a creator? Is it something that you've designed that is maybe unique enough to put a patent through, or copywriting things like in my coaching business, you know, the idea of copywriting tools and different creations that I'm creating, you know, all of those things, what are you creating? What do you need to protect in order to protect your business because ultimately, as most of the listeners of this podcast, we are entrepreneurs, and we need to protect what we're growing here, because that's a huge and often the biggest investment that we have going for our lives and our future, you lead your business, and it shouldn't be leading you. So remember that clarity creates confidence and confidence ignites momentum. And if you're not feeling confident about your protection within your business, then this is something you need to pursue a little bit so if you'd like the podcast, please share it with your friends, and subscribe to our simplifying entrepreneurship YouTube channel. I'd love your feedback in the comments section of YouTube and will personally respond to each one. I'm interested to hear about future topics you'd like me to cover or future guests you'd like to hear from. And you can help me out by subscribing to the podcast on Spotify or Apple and rating and reviewing the episode on Apple by leaving us up to a five star review. If you'd like the podcast and would like to support it, I have a Patreon at patreon.com/pete Mohr where you can support the podcast at whichever level you like, connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. The links are in the show notes. And kind of like Devin was saying I'm a big person on LinkedIn. So that's where you'll find me most often. And last of all, you can check out my website at more dot coach that's mo HR dot c o ACH and until next time, make it a great day

Unknown:

an ironic media production visit us at IR O M IC K media.com.