Episode 88 - Understanding Intellectual Property with Brad Hartman

Season #3

Learn all about intellectual property law with lawyer Bradley P. Hartman, including how creative small business owners can navigate trademarks and copyright. 

Do you understand intellectual property law?

If the answer is no, you’re not alone by any stretch. There’s a reason why lawyers specialize in this particular area of law—it can be really complicated. For artistic souls like us, it can feel overwhelming to just think about copyright or trademark law, let alone try to do anything about it. 

But we’ve got your back! On our latest episode of Paper Talk we chatted with Bradley P. Hartman, an intellectual property and corporate lawyer at Hartman Titus. Besides being very knowledgeable about IP, he was able to explain copyrights and trademarks in a way that is easy to understand and very applicable to creative small business owners like us. 

We can’t possibly summarize all of the amazing information he provided, or explain it as well as he did. You’ll have to listen to the episode to glean all of those insightful details. In the meantime, though, if you feel intimidated about calling up a lawyer for help, Brad talked to us about what to expect when working with a lawyer and how you can make the process as smooth as possible. 


Choose the Right Lawyer

Lawyers specialize in different areas of law. Search for someone who is an expert in the field that you need—for copyrights and trademarks, that’s going to be an intellectual property lawyer. There are websites out there that will let you search by specialty.

Another thing to consider is location. Most intellectual property law and filing is done on a federal level. That means that an IP lawyer from any state can help you register trademarks, help you understand your legal options, etc. If you do end up filing a lawsuit because of copyright infringement or if you are writing up contracts, you will want a lawyer who is local to the applicable location. They will best know the intricacies of local law and be better able to help you. 

When you call up a lawyer’s office for the first time, they will also make sure that they are a good fit for you. A secretary, paralegal, or sometimes the lawyer themselves will ask for some basic information—what your issue is, who the other party is, etc. They’ll check for conflicts of interest and will let you know if you should find a different lawyer. Don’t worry—they legally have to keep any information you provide confidential.


Understand the Cost

Right up front, make sure you know what a lawyer charges for an initial consultation. Some, like Brad, provide a free consultation. He’ll listen and determine if it’s something that he can help with before charging anything. Some lawyers will do these consultations for a flat fee and a block of time. Ask up front what they charge for the initial consultation.

After the initial consultation, lawyers charge in different ways. Some will provide a flat fee for a certain service. Others will give a ballpark number. Some will only quote an hourly rate. Before signing on as a client, make sure you understand how they charge.

Many lawyers are also willing to work with you on the cost issue. You can ask them what you can do to make things more affordable—for example, if you provide very clear evidence up front of a copyright infringement so that a lawyer doesn’t have to spend time digging through someone’s website. You can also ask about putting a cap on the total cost. Once the lawyer reaches that dollar amount, they will stop and let you know.  


Be Prepared

This is Brad’s advice:

“The most important thing when you finally do talk to a lawyer is to be prepared. Go to the meeting knowing what is the information that’s important to share, what is it that you’re concerned with, and what is it that you want to accomplish.” 


Because lawyers usually charge by the hour, you don’t want to eat into your time with them by getting off track or providing information that isn’t useful. If you go off on a tangent about how you started your business, you’ll literally end up paying for it in the end. Save that stuff for your Instagram followers. Have everything ready to go before meeting with your lawyer and be succinct. 


Now for the nitty gritty details about intellectual property, listen now to the podcast. Our discussion was absolutely jam packed with information that will help you navigate IP. Seriously, your business needs this IP 101 crash course. 

Here’s what you’ll hear when you listen to our conversation:

  • What copyright and trademarks are.

  • How to protect your tutorials and workshop materials from being resold.

  • When to use copyright or trademark symbols.

  • How and when to register copyright and trademarks.

  • What you should do to protect your intellectual property internationally.

  • Advice on choosing a name that can be easily defended legally if needed.

  • Bonus tips from Paper to Profits about Instagram and shadowbanning.


To make things even better, you can join us and Brad on Clubhouse to ask questions and get even more amazing advice on March 25 at 7pm PST/10pm EST. You won’t want to miss out!


Also remember to join our Facebook group where you can share, connect, and grow with us, and please consider supporting us on Patreon for even more great content like this.


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