I want to share my story in hopes that it can be a lesson for those of you with blogs or small businesses. I recently received a very harsh cease and desist letter from an attorney representing the company Presh Inc. (I almost hate to even link to this company but I want you to know who they are so you can steer clear of them). Receiving this letter was a really frightening feeling for me and I was worried I could get into big time legal trouble! I also panicked because so much time and effort had been poured into building my brand, and the thought of having to delete it all was gut-wrenching.
Get professional advice!
I decided to share my situation on Facebook, which turned out to be very beneficial! A concerned friend put me in contact with a former copyright lawyer who thankfully offered to help guide me through the sticky case! *If anything like this ever happens to you-- seek professional help!!
My attorney and I believe that if we would have fought the case, we would have won. The fact that my company name was different from hers ("Pocket of Presh" vs "Presh Inc") meant that I had done no wrong by using the word Presh. I want to make it clear, that I would NEVER in no way intentionally infringe upon anyone's trademark. This case was not infringement (even unintentional).
To avoid the stress and money that a legal case would involve, I made the difficult decision to change my brand's name. The only problem was, their company was extremely aggressive and wanted everything changed immediately. My attorney was a major help in drafting an agreement that would allow me more time. After a lot of back and forth (and some extremely unnecessarily rude and condescending phone calls) they finally agreed to let me have 1 month. This was still a fairly short amount of time, but it was better than 1 day!
Money Money Money
The current price of a trademark application is $325 per classification. If I continued to do both clutches and pillows, this would count as 2 classes. The $650 does not make sense for my company at this stage, but maybe one day. In addition to that price, it is a good idea to hire a trademark lawyer to do an extensive research of your trademark and help guide you in the application process. This fee can vary but I was quoted around $600. Learn more about trademarks and their fees here. Having an attorney is important after you are granted your trademark, because you are at risk of losing your trademark if you do not protect it.
Good to Know:
-Browse the current trademarked names to be sure your new blog/shop name is not trademarked.
-Arbitrary words can not be trademarked on their own as long as you use it in another way. For example, you can name something "Pink Hearts" even if "Pink Flowers" is trademarked.
-Also, note that you can use the same exact name if your company falls under a different classification. For example, Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets are ok because they sell 2 different things.
-Also, once you have established a company, no other company can take your exact name even if you are not trademarked. This prevents people from searching for successful companies who have failed to get trademarks and stealing their names.
I hope you entrepreneurs have found this post somewhat helpful. I of course am no expert, but I've recently had to do a lot of research on the subject. Thanks for listening. I hope this stressful situation never happens to any of you!