SFN169: Andrei Mincov On the Importance Of Trademarking

SFN169: Andrei Mincov On the Importance Of Trademarking

 

Andrei Mincov is the “trademark guy” and founder of Trademark Factory. He earned his PhD in law and worked for the biggest international law firm in Russia doing intellectual property work for the likes of Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, J. K. Rowling, DreamWorks and more. When Andrei moved to Canada, he went from being a hotshot lawyer to a nobody. It wasn’t until he read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad that he decided to start his own firm.

In this interview, Andrei teaches us about what a trademark does, and why it’s better to trademark before you launch your company rather than later. He also shares the story of how he became “the trademark guy” and how he challenged himself to become an entrepreneur.

 

In This Interview I Ask:

  • 1:05 - How [did] you come to be the “trademark guy” in the Trademark Factory. What’s your story?
  • 6:15 - How long ago did you join the biggest law firm in Russia?
  • 15:00 - Why are trademarks important, and why are we wrong for not thinking about this stuff?
  • 21:23 - You actually did some research on whether or not the top brands and the world were following [the saying “ideas are nothing”]. What did you find?
  • 22:56 - Let’s say I’ve got a vision of building a lifestyle business, and it’s going to be $100k a year, roughly, is there any value in me going out and trademarking it if I have no intention of going bigger?
  • 24:33 - Does [having a trademark] raise my value if I’m eventually going to sell a company? Is that going to allow me to get a bigger price for my business when I sell it?
  • 27:42 - Are you educating people through your marketing on why they need trademarks or are you just doing traditional marketing in the traditional sense where you are making yourself known to people who are looking for a trademark?
  • 32:46 - What is the cost [of trademarking] dependent on, or is there a flat cost for me to go out and get a trademark?
  • 36:39 - Where can we go if we want to see some educational [trademark] cartoons?

 

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is anything that allows the market to tell your stuff apart from identical or similar products or services of your competitors.

The trademark has nothing to do with protecting the product or service itself but has everything to do with the way people identify it.

The more competitive the environment, the more important the branding becomes because everyone is doing the same thing. It’s so easy to copy those ideas so the only thing that will allow you to have the competitive advantage is to protect the brand.

“If you don’t protect your competitive advantage, you don’t have a competitive advantage.”

 

3 Reasons Why Protecting Your Trademark is Vital for Any Business

  1. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to minimize the risk of receiving a lawsuit Without trademark protection, a company may decide to register your brand as their trademark. They can then demand that you stop using your brand and rebrand yourself or pay them money
  2. It makes it easier and cheaper to go after competitors who come up with similar trademarks.
  3. It allows you to build a brand and asset for your business.

“If you’re running a business [and] you don’t think the value of the business is more than a few hundred thousand dollars, basically it’s a hobby. It’s not a business.”

 

Trademark Your Brand Before You Launch

All the big, hot startups (like Uber, Firefox, Facebook, Google, etc) filed their first trademark applications within the same month, if not many months, prior to launching. One thing that distinguishes these founders from other entrepreneurs is that they believed they could be the next big thing; so they did what potential big things do and protected their assets.

“Trademarks are all about timing. You need to be the first. Just because your trademark was available yesterday, doesn’t mean it’ll be available today.”

 

Trademarking is Not a Huge Investment

The cost of trademarking is marginal is compared to the cost of filing a patent. A patent typically requires tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life.

When determining if you should trademark or not, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you be okay with having to rebrand your business?
  • Would you be okay with a competitor using the same brand to do the same business?
  • Is there any value in the brand when you’re not doing the work?

If the answer is yes to all, then you don’t have a business.

 

How Trademarks Affect the Sale of Your Company

Whenever someone buys a company, they do their due diligence. They check competitors to see if your business may be infringing on someone else’s. They check to make sure all your logos and branding assets are protected. If everything is protected, it makes it easier for the buyer.

They’re not just buying your systems, but also your customers and the time that you invested building your brand. If they can’t take advantage of that, that’s a problem. The brand affects the value of the company.

 

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Podcast transcript:

Start from Nothing Episode 169 – Andrei Mincov

Frank: So, we’ve got Andrei Mincov on the line with us today. And really, I’m excited because Andrei you are a mover and a shaker in Russia. A PhD in law in fact, is that right?

Andrei: Yeah.

Frank: Holy Shit.

Andrei: I’m so excited to be on this show. Thank you so much for having me over.

Frank: No man we are really excited to have you. Because when I think about trademarks, I think, “Man. That’s like the least sexy thing in the world.” So, what we’re gonna talk about today is how trademarks can be sexy, and why they’re actually important. So, we’re actually gonna breakdown some really interesting stories that Andrei told me when we talked off-line about why this stuff is important, and we’re gonna shatter some of the myths that are out there about the way people normally say, “Ideas are nothing without the execution.” But we’re gonna shatter that myth a little bit and tell some stories. So Andrei, let’s give people a little bit of a sense of who you are, and how you came to be the trademark guy in the Trademark Factory. So, what’s your story? You were a lawyer in Russia, a PhD in law in fact. Tell us about that. Tell us about what you were up to in Russia.

Andrei: You know what? If somebody told me I would be doing what I do right now even five years ago, I’d probably laugh in their face. But here’s how this happened. I was living in Russia, but I really didn’t want to be a lawyer. I didn’t see law as something sexy or interesting. So, I was in law school there, I had hair up to my elbows, like really long hair, a really mean look. And I wanted to be a rock star. And the thing was that my dad was a famous composer there. And I’ve always admired him, and I always wanted to gain his approval. I was actually singing with him on stage since I was five years old, singing songs when he was doing his concerts. So, one day he caught a radio station stealing his music. They made an add out of it for Samsung. So, he called the radio station, told them that they couldn’t do that, take his music and run with it. And they told him to sit down, shut up, and be happy that they’re making him even more famous. And he didn’t like it at all, so he slams down the phone and says, “Well can somebody help me take this to court?” And it was in the middle of the 90s in Russia, and the thing was that Russia had just switched from socialist copyright laws, which really didn’t exist, into free market copyright laws, which nobody really knew. So, there was nobody who could say that they genuinely knew copyright laws. So, he had nobody to go to. He said, “Andrei, can you help me with this. You’re studying law. You should be able to do that.” And I said, “Sure.” There were three problems. One is that I had no idea what copyright law was, like at all, because most of the time I spent at law school then was just drinking and partying, right? And second, they didn’t really teach us what to do in a courtroom, because for the first couple of years in law school they were just teaching us esoteric theoretical bullshit about how law developed 600 years ago and stuff like that. Which was great, but completely impractical. And my biggest concern was there was no Google to help me figure this out. So, believe it or not, you could not go online and just search what do you do if a radio station steals your father’s music. So, long story short I figured it out. I sued the bastards. We took them to court and lost. Because they bought the judge.

Frank: I was not expecting it to end that way.

Andrei: I remember this moment as if it was yesterday. I was standing in my room reading this decision for the hundredth time because it didn’t make and freakin sense at all. Basically the decision said that the radio station infringed on my father’s rights, but they didn’t, but they did. So, they don’t have to pay. And you could read this all day long, and it still wouldn’t make any sense. And so, I’m sitting there, and my dad comes in the room, and he says, “So, what are you going to do now?” And I’m like, “I don’t know. I think I’ve done everything I should have done. I did all the right things, I said all the right words, and we still got this idiotic decision.” And then he said something that pretty much changed my life. He said, “If you’re not gonna appeal this, you should quit your law school and find yourself a different profession.” That’s the moment when I became an IP lawyer. I appealed this. I had to take this case all the way up to one instant short of the supreme court of Russia—my very first case, right? I was still having my hair long and everything. So, we won there, and it took a couple of years, and I became so passionate about it, so excited about this, that it’s the only thing I’ve been doing ever since. So, I was helping him for many years, and then I joined the biggest international law firm in Russia as an employee, Baker & McKenzie. They did all the intellectual property stuff for all the giants you can think of: Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, J. K. Rowling, DreamWorks. I can keep dropping those names until the end of the show.

Frank: OK, so it’s a big firm. Give people a sense of how long ago was this. What year did you join the biggest law firm in Russia?

Andrei: I joined them in ‘03 I believe.

Frank: So, this is 2003, and you’re working for a prestigious law firm, working with some of the world’s biggest brands.

Andrei: Yeah. I was with them for four and a half years, then me and my wife and our four-month old kid, we decided to have a five-day vacation in Prague, Czech Republic. So, we go there, and we’re blown away by how quickly the Czech Republic switched from what used to be a socialist nightmare into a modern free market economy. And basically we looked at each other and said Russia is not only not getting close to this, it’s not going in the same fucking direction. And we looked at each other and said, “Let’s get the fuck out of here.” My parents never believed that this was a decision in sync for both of us. It’s not that one of us had to convince the other. We just looked at each other and said, “It’s time.” I made that decision, did some research, realized that the only country that has English as a state language, that’s easy to emigrate to, that’s fast to emigrate to, would be Canada. That’s how the whole thing started. So, I pretty much decided to go from being a hotshot intellectual property lawyer—I was recognized as a top five copyright lawyer in the country—to being a nobody. I had to go back to law school for three more years. I did three more years of law school here and got my license. Finished up all the classes. And guess what happened? Nobody wanted to hire me. Not a single firm wanted to hire me. It’s not that I was failing interviews, I was not getting interviews. And I was like, “There’s something wrong with that.” And so, at that point I picked up the book by Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Frank: One of my favorites.

Andrei: I picked up the book, and what happened with that was, at that point I thought that if there’s one thing that I’m not made to be is an entrepreneur. I had no skills. I had no desire. I had no understanding at all. But as I was reading the book, I’m like, “Huh. Employment income is the most insecure type of income. I think he’s writing this book about me.” Because here I was coming from the big firm, making good money, having good recognition…

Frank: Went to law school twice.

Andrei: Went to law school twice—if anything I got better—and nothing. And so, in Canada—unlike the US—in order to get a license as a lawyer, after you do your law school, you have to slave away for a law firm for nine months. And then you’re allowed to write the bar exams, basically called articling here. And the thing with that is, you’re getting paid basically nothing, and you have to do whatever they tell you. And after I got that done, I’m reading the book, I’m thinking, “Shit. I’m making 30K a year.” I was spending 3 times that because by that time I had two kids. And I’m like, “If I start my firm, and I can’t make at least that much, it means I’m a really crappy lawyer. And maybe my success in Russia was just a fluke because my dad, the name and everything.” So I said, “You know what? You wanted a challenge, you got a challenge.” Because one of the reasons I left Russia was, I wanted a new challenge, right? And I started my firm and very quickly, extremely quickly, I realized that my success would have nothing to do with my brilliance and my excellence as a lawyer and everything to do with my abilities as a marketer and a sales guy.

Frank: There you go. So, did you have those skills?

Andrei: No. None. For years, I used to think that I’m the worst marketer in the world, worst sales guy on the planet. And that’s when I started going to all the seminars, all the webinars, reading tons of books, asking for advice. And if I go back to my notes, that was pretty much everything I was focusing on, how do I make this happen, how do I package what I do so that people love it? And one day, three years ago, I came up with this idea of Trademark Factory because I remember when I did something that had to do with trademarks, the clients would ask, “How much is this going to be? How certain are you that it’s gonna go through?” And I couldn’t answer them because of the way the firms would operate. And to me, til this day, trademarks are binary for clients. You either get one, or you don’t. And you can’t be better than a guy next door doing trademarks. It’s not about the quality of the service, it’s how you package it. So, I came up with this idea of Trademark Factory just before I went to my first international trademark association meeting in Dallas in 2013. And it’s basically, if you can imagine this, ten thousand lawyers who do trademarks in one room.

Frank: Sexy.

Andrei: Yeah, it was great. But my thing with that was, I can’t go there unless I have something that would shock everybody. I need something that nobody else does. So, I came up with this idea of Trademark Factory where it’s gonna be one flat fee that covers everything from start to finish. There’s gonna be 100% money back guarantee in case it doesn't go through. And I would go and meet hundreds of people there, everybody would be like, “How do you do that?” And I would be like, “Well…we just do it.” And it’s funny because a lot of people were saying how great it is, but nobody had the balls to implement this. So that was in the beginning. It was basically a marketing gimmick. And during these three years that it became a really viable business model. So, last year I actually voluntarily gave up my lawyer license, something that I worked so hard to get, in order to be able to scale Trademark Factory internationally. So, we have some crazy rules here. Lawyers have a lot of limitations as to what they can do, what they can’t do, how they can do it. And I looked at the business model, I looked at the numbers and just basically extended my middle finger toward the law society in Canada and said, “You know what? If in order for me to help more people get trademarks the way they want to get them, I have to not be a lawyer, fuck being a lawyer. I’m not going to be a lawyer.”

Frank: Full time entrepreneur now.

Andrei: I think that this moment, when I wrote this letter to the law society, it marked my transition from being an intellectual property lawyer with what Michael Gerber—the author of The E Myth—what he calls entrepreneurial seizure. I think that marked the transition from that to an entrepreneur who just happens to know a lot about intellectual property.

Frank: Alright. So, I want to get people clear on the timeline. You pretty much started the firm in Canada in 2011, came up with the idea for Trademark Factory in 2013, and then last year gave up your law license and became just the Trademark Factory, no more lawyering for you.

Andre: Yeah.

Frank: Man. So, I want to take this down two paths now. The first path is, I’m curious about your path down becoming a full time entrepreneur, becoming a marketer and a sales guy. But then the other thing that I want to talk about, and this is what we’re gonna start with, is let’s give people some information on trademarks. Because when you and I first talked, you blew my mind with a few stories about why trademarks are so important. And you described it in a way that I never heard before. Let’s go down the path of this first. Why are trademarks important? Because when I think about starting businesses, I never think about trademarks. A lot of the people that I interact with, they also never think about this stuff. So, why is this important and why are we wrong for not thinking about this stuff more?

Andrei: Maybe we should start with what a trademark really is.

Frank: Yeah, let’s do it.

Andre: A trademark, I’m gonna give you a totally non lawyer definition but something that’s totally dear to my heart, a trademark is anything as long as it allows the market to tell your stuff apart from identical or similar products of your competitors. So, the way I visualize this is, I’m thinking of a product or a service as something that is packaged in a box, right? Even if it’s a service. Just imagine if you are an account. Imagine that there’s something in a box, and it’s sitting on a shelf in a supermarket. And right next to it, there’s another box by somebody who completely ripped you off. They copied your service, they have the same quality, they’ve got the same product, they’ve got the same price, they’ve got the same features. Everything is the same. The question is, what would be on your box that would allow me, as somebody who’s passing by, to tell your products and services from somebody else? And usually it could be the name of the company, name of the product, name of the service, could be a logo, could be a tagline. And really, the trademark has nothing to do with protecting the product or service itself. But it has everything to do with protecting the way that people identify it. And today, the more competitive the environment, the more important the branding becomes because everybody does the same thing really. And it’s so easy now to copy those ideas. So the only thing that would allow you to continue to have the competitive advantage that you’ve built by being the first, by being better, is through protecting the brand. And the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, is famous for saying, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” And I always add to that, “If you don’t protect your competitive advantage, you don’t have a competitive advantage, right?” So, to answer your question, why do you do it, there's basically three big reasons why protecting your trademark is vital for any business, whether you’re big, whether you’re small. Number one, it’s the cheapest and the easiest way from one day receiving a nasty letter from some lawyer, who’s gonna tell you that their client has just registered your brand as their trademark. And now they’re demanding that you stop using your brand, that you rebrand, and maybe even pay them some money.

Frank: What? So, this is like a real scenario? Do you have any examples of this?

Andrei: Absolutely. I mean I can give you names. One of the examples was actually local to where I live. There is this company, for twenty years called Woodpecker Flooring. and they were doing flooring services for twenty years, and they never bothered to trademark it. Then some scruple-less idiot, literally across the street, less than a mile away from these guys, goes and registers Woodpecker as a trademark in Canada. And these guys thought of nothing better than to send a nasty letter to the old company, that said, “Nah nah nah nah nah nah. We’ve got a trademark.” And so what happened was, the old company was basically facing a dilemma. What do we do? Do we rebrand and just piss away the twenty years that went into building a brand? Or do we hire lawyers and fight this? So, these guys decided to fight this. And in both Canada and the US there is some limited recognition of unregistered trademarks. So, they were able to win, but I can guarantee you that they ended up $75K short after the whole thing, and it’s probably a lot more than that.

Frank: So, they had to pay up big to get that.

Andrei: Yeah, they had to pay a law firm. And then that money they never got back from the new company. That’s the position that nobody wants to be in. Nobody wants to have that letter that says, “We just got the trademark, you change your name.” And that’s the first thing. The other thing is a registered trademark makes it a lot easier and a lot cheaper, because of that, to go after somebody else who will come after a trademark similar to yours. Basically going after your competitors. And that’s exactly what the other Woodpecker tried to do, because if they didn’t register this trademark, the old company wouldn’t even have noticed them. They wouldn’t even be facing that dilemma, right? And the third thing is it allows you to build a brand. It allows you to build an asset for your business. And if you were to ask pretty much any business owner, “Do you think that your brand is at least 1% of value of the entire business?” Everybody is gonna say it’s a lot more than that, right? For some businesses, the brand is the business. But to be super conservative, almost absurdly conservative, let’s say 1%. All you have to be is a business that’s valued at several hundred thousand dollars for this to be worth protecting. And if you’ve been running a business, and you don’t think that the value of the business is more than a few hundred thousand dollars, basically it’s a hobby. It’s not a business.

Frank: So, let’s pick on this a little bit. We’ve all heard it, I said it in the beginning, ideas are nothing. Action and execution is everything. You actually did some research on whether or not the top brands in the world were following that. What did you find?

Andrei: That was something that blew me away. I was sponsoring an event, a protohack event here locally, and for my presentation I did some research to see when all the big hot startups filed their first trademark application. And that was really interesting. Uber, the $51 billion company, or is it more now? Doesn’t matter. So, they filed their first trademark application two months before they launched. Stripe, eight months before they launched. Firefox, two months before they launched. Google, same month. Facebook, same month. And what I like the best is this, Airbnb, they filed their first trademark application while the founder was still renting out his own bedroom to pay for the frickin overhead.

Frank: They’re all going early despite what everyone says about ideas are nothing.

Andrei: They all did it before they were anywhere on the map. They all did it when nobody knew who they were, nobody knew that they were gonna become something big. But there was one thing that made them different from a lot of entrepreneurs that don’t do this, they believed that they could be the next big thing. And they did what potential big things do, they protected their assets.

Frank: Break it down for us again. Let’s say I’ve got a vision of, I’m just gonna go out there and build a lifestyle business, and it’s just gonna be a $100K a year roughly. Is there any value in me going out and trademarking it, if I have no intention of going bigger?

Andrei: Look, the cost of trademarking is marginal. It’s not like a patent where you end up spending tens of thousands of dollars, and it’s going to consume years of your life. There’s still a process to it, there’s a lot of small complexities, but the cost is nowhere near what a lot of people think how much it is. Like I said, it’s not a huge investment. And the question for a small $100K business, the question really is this, first of all, would you be OK with having to rebrand the business? Would you be OK with a competitor using the same brand to do the same thing as you are? And what’s next after you decide to stop doing all the work in the business? Is there any value in the brand when you’re not doing all the work? And if the answer to all of those is, if I had to rebrand I would rebrand, if a competitor started using this I’m OK with that, and really when I’m done with this business, I’m done. Then you don’t need the trademark. But really then you don’t have a business. All you have is a hobby.

Frank: Does this raise my value if I’m eventually going to sell a company? If I have a trademark versus not having a trademark? Is that going to allow me to get a bigger price for my company when I sell it?

Andrei: That’s a great question. Every time somebody buys a business, what they do is due diligence. And a big chunk of that is intellectual property due diligence. Are you doing something innovative that could be infringing somebody’s patents? Are you doing something that should be protected by your own stuff? And the big portion of that is the trademarks. Have you trademarked the brand? No. So, let’s see who’s out there who’s using a similar brand. So, as a lawyer for Baker & McKenzie, I’ve been involved in a ton of those. And we always raise red flags as to, “OK. So, you have a trademark. That’s good, but what about this logo? Or what about this slogan that you’re using on the website? What about this? What about that?” And these decisions always influence the asking price, because if you have everything lined up, everything is protected. It’s easy for the buyer to say, “OK. At least we don’t have to worry about this.” Because what they’re buying is not just the brilliant system that you came up with, they’re also buying your customers. They’re also buying the years that you’ve invested in building your brand. And if when they buy, they can’t take any advantage of that, that’s a problem. And really good example is, just recently, a couple of days ago, I saw the news. There’s this Swedish company, the car manufacturer Saab. So, they go bankrupt, and then somebody bought them out. And the thing was, they forgot to maintain their trademarks. So, they bought basically a plant, or what used to be a brand, but now they can’t use the name because somebody else trademarked it. So, guess what? Now they have to find a different name. Instead of being able to say, “The tradition continues. Here’s the new Saab,” they would have a completely new name. And at best they can call themselves a car manufacturer formally known as Saab, but I mean can you imagine what it does to the value?

Frank: Yeah, it kills it.

Andrei: Because all the years, all the millions of dollars that were spent building up the brand, poof gone.

Frank: Wow. OK, I’m a believer now. So, what I want to do is switch gears very briefly, and for a few minutes talk about how you became an entrepreneur. So, we talked about why trademarks are important. At the end of the episode we’re gonna let people know, if they want to go and get their trademark happening, how they can do that with you. Let’s talk a little bit about how you became an entrepreneur. And the first question that comes to my mind is, when you are out there now running the trademark factory, I’m curious, when you’re doing your marketing, what percentage of your marketing are you focusing on either one of two things. So, number one, educating people on why they need a trademark. Or number two, just speaking to the existing people in the world that run businesses, who are actively looking to get a trademark. So, ultimately the question is, are you educating people through your marketing, or are you just doing marketing in a traditional sense where you’re making yourself known to people that are already looking for a trademark?

Andrei: I do a ton of educational marketing. I have three bestselling books on IP here. We launched a series of educational cartoons that basically answers specific questions. I publish twice a week, a quick answer to a frequently asked question, so I’m posting two a week. And they’re all about educating people. I’m doing a lot of events where I teach people, and it’s all about education. I love it because I see people’s eyes open because nobody’s really thinking about this. And when people ask me, who’s your best client? It’s always been somebody who’s running or starting their second, third, fifth business because they already know the value of the brand. They either got screwed the first time around by somebody who stole their brand, or somebody who they couldn’t go after, or basically a law firm that didn’t treat them properly. And then the sale for us becomes just a walk in the park. We don’t need to establish the value. I can tell them, “We can get it done, flat fee, money back guarantee. What else do you want? This is trademarkable. Let’s go.” So, that’s one part of the marketing. But the biggest chunk is educating people, showing the value. One of the strategies that I discovered, that I think is absolutely brilliant, was used by Ford. And as I analyze things, I’m seeing a lot more of this. What they did was absolutely brilliant. It’s very difficult to come up with something unique, a unique product or a unique service. But what these guys did was they had the commercials and they all finished with, “Only ford as Ecoboost Fuel Economy.” And the interesting thing was, they never once mentioned what the hell it was. They never told you how it was different, they never told you how it was better. All they told you was that they were the only ones that have it. They didn’t even tell you if Eco stood for economy or ecology. And how they did it? They just trademarked their name. They trademarked the name Ecoboost. So now, they can say they’re the only ones who have this. And the human mind is wired so that whenever you tell them we’re the only ones who do something, you automatically assume it’s got to be good.

Frank: Wow. So, even as you’re saying this out loud, I know that I’ve seen it. I also know that I have no idea what it actually means. But that’s not really the point. The point is, they say we’re the only ones that do this, so differentiating factor.

Andrei: For the sake of an argument I came up with this idea. I was trying to come up with the most boring profession out there, so I thought of mortgage broker, right?

Frank: Well, I think lawyer but…continue.

Andrei: Ha ha. They all say the same things. They say, “We’re personable, we’re responsible, we’re going to find you the best rates.” But really, nobody can remember this. So, if they were to say, “I’m the only mortgage broker in the world that uses an IHNC calculator to determine the best rates for you.” How does that sound? Sounds a lot more sexy, right?

Frank: Yeah.

Andrei: Until you ask them what IHNC stands for and it stands for I Have No Clue. But really this only demonstrates that if they did this, if they came up with a name, trademarked it, and used it in their marketing, that’s what allows you to position yourself as different. And like I said, the more competitive the environment, the more important it is to be different, to be seen as somebody who does something different. Because if you focus on your difference, people automatically assume it’s got to be good.

Frank: Can you give us a general ballpark? We talked about the cost of getting a trademark is marginal, what is the cost dependent on? Or is there just a flat cost for me to go out there and get a trademark?

Andrei: We’re the only firm in the world where you can have trademarking with predictable results and predictable budgets. So, that’s really what the whole thing was about.

Frank: And you’ve got the guarantee, right? If you don’t get the trademark you don’t get the money?

Andrei: So, here’s the thing—and by the way, just because I’m in Canada doesn’t mean we only file Canadian trademarks, we file in Canada, US, the European Union—we’re adding actually three more countries before the end of July.

Frank: Yeah, you gave up your Canadian law license specifically so you could do that, right? Go into other countries.

Andrei: So, in terms of the ball park, we have three packages. But the one that 87% of our clients go for is called “All-Inclusive.” That’s the one that has one flat fee that covers everything from start to finish. That’s the one that has the 100% money back guarantee, and that’s basically $2,000 per trademark.

Frank: Man. So, way lower cost than I thought, especially if you’re going out there and building something big.

Andrei: Yeah. And here’s how we did it, and here’s why our clients are ecstatic about the offer. We start with a free trademark search. So, you fill out the form, and our team is actually going to look at that, so it’s not an automated computer search that’s gonna tell you that Microsoft Software Solutions is a registerable trademark, because Microsoft never bother to trademark that. We actually have a team that looks into your brand and tells you that this is trademarkable, this is not really trademarkable because of this, this and that. So, you don’t have to spend any money on something that can’t be protected, right? So, we start with a free search. Then you choose the package. Like I said, most people go with the all-inclusive. And then we just do everything for you, from start to finish.

Frank: Man. So, if people are interested in either just going to get this done, or if they want to initiate a conversation with you to figure out if it’s the right thing for them, where can they go?

Andrei: The easiest way to start is to just fill out the form at freetmsearch.com

Frank: freetmsearch.com. We’ll drop that in the show notes.

Andrei: That goes straight to the form where you can request your free trademark search with us. Basically you book a time when one of us is gonna call you and walk you through the search report that we’re gonna prepare. So, that’s really the fastest way to get started. And the obvious homepage is trademarkfactory.com where you can read more about us, ask us questions. You’re welcome to call, but really if the question is, “Andrei, what do you think about this trademark?” I’ll say, “Well, go fill out the form.” Because here’s the thing, there are six million trademarks filed around the world every year, a half a million trademark applications filed in the us alone. 50,000 in Canada. Actually China is now the leader. They’re filing 2.5 million trademarks every freakin year. So, even if I somehow knew all the trademarks that were filed, but of course I don’t, but trademarks are all about timing. Real estate's all about location, trademarks are all about timing. You need to be the first. You need to go out and do it. And just because your trademark was available yesterday, doesn’t mean its available today.

Frank: Got it. So, there’s nuance that goes into it. So, fill out the form. Where can we go if we want to see some of these educational cartoons or stuff? Is that on your core website?

Andrei: They’re on the core website. We have a special URL to get you to the specific page which is trademarkcartoons.com but it’s still basically a part of the main website.

Frank: Cool. So, you guys have heard from Andrei Mincov about trademarks, about really a different way of looking at them. And I still remember when I talked to Andrei for the first time offline, he shattered my understanding of trademarks, and why they’re important, and what the leaders that you see out there in the world, what they’re actually doing versus what they’re saying. So, you guys have heard from Andrei, you’ve got the links. Andrei, it was a pleasure to have you on man. It was a lot of fun.

Andrei: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. I love sharing this, and to everyone out there, build your brand, build your business, and make sure you’re protected.

Frank: All right, you’ve heard it. Thanks.

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