As you know, we continually get questions from aspiring, new and experienced life coaches. We get questions on coaching strategy, business concepts and marketing.
Today’s question is from a new life coach. She’s actually taking our Coach Mindset Elite Life Coach Training and is in the process of developing the brand for her own life coaching practice. She had a great question, and I thought I’d share it with you!
Today I have a question about trademarks, copyrights and patents—-where does all this fit in with logos for my life coaching practice and it is necessary? And if so, which one should be the focus? Thanks!
Here’s my response. Now I will remind you that I’m not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to be one. But I’ve been an coach and entrepreneur for over 10 years, and we’ve developed a number of products over that time. So I base my response on that experience. It would probably be smart to consult a trusted attorney if you still have questions on this, but wanted to share my thoughts with you. I hope they help!
Great questions! Okay, here’s the quick legal skinny on all of that.
Trademarks are for things like logos. Copyrights are protecting things like content (book content, etc.) and patents are for protecting ideas (light bulbs, specific technology).
So when it comes to logos and your branding, we’re talking trademark.
Now, whether you should be focused on protecting your logo or your brand with full legal trade mark protection is up to you.
To have a lawyer walk you through the process will vary from between $500 and $2,000 depending on who you work with. Again, you can decide on whether you want to make that full investment now, later or never.
BUT something you can do in the meantime is put a “TM” by your logo… right now.
You may have seen a “TM” by a lot of things and wonder what that is. You may have also wondered how that was different from the little “R” that you see sometimes too.
Well, the “TM” stands for “trademark” and you use that until you get the full legal protection of a trademark and have the legal paperwork in hand.
Then you can switch that “TM” to “R.”
BUT… by putting a “TM” by your logo and tracking the date you started using it, that actually has some legal protection that comes with it too. Because you can say when you started using it as a logo and that you intend to trademark it. (Again, it’s up to you when and if you want to officially start that process.) But by having the “TM” and the date you started to use it, you can defend your Trade Mark some day if someone says they had it first, etc.
Now, nothing is better than actually having the full legal protection that a registered trade mark affords you, BUT in lieu of a full investment in that legal step, starting to use the “TM” right from the start can really help.
TECH TIP: If you use Microsoft Word software, when you simply type ™, the software will automatically reduce the size of the “tm” and raise it.
Now, just to offer a little perspective. Personally, we have walked through this complete trademark process with our game series (www.doyouQ.com), because we invested in this heavily and wanted to make sure it was fully protected. But we have not invested in this with some of the other logos and brands that we have developed. Again, the decision is yours! But I hope this helps!!
We hope this helps you as you start to think through branding for your own life coaching practice.
Lastly, if you’re just getting started in the process and you’re wondering whether becoming a life coach would be a good fit for you… then we invite you to check out our 5 Critical Questions mini-course. This no-holds barred mini-course is free and it will ask you the 5 questions I wish someone had asked me before I got started in life coaching! Plus it will help you to make the decision on whether life coaching is for you! Click here to sign up for the free course.
Keep dreaming big and helping others to do the same,
- Life Coach Training: the biggest questions people have about becoming a life coach (trainingtobealifecoach.com)
- Training to be a life coach: Do I actually need a life coach certification? (trainingtobealifecoach.com)
- Training to be a life coach: The Truth about life coach certification (trainingtobealifecoach.com)