The Brand Formerly Known as Smarty Pants
Decisions at start-up companies are made at lightning speed.
In former corporate gigs, I'd watch as decisions were endlessly ping-ponged for months in meetings.
Now I own a small business and tough decisions (like changing the name of said business) are made over the course of two days.
Two stressful days of constant jaw-clenching. But two days.
Like the decision to change the name of my company from Smarty Pants to Smarty Girl.
Legal Mumbo Jumbo
When I had the idea for Smarty Pants seven months ago, I looked up the name in the trademark database.
Here's what I found:
And that's only the first page of results.
Surely I'm not the only one who's confused.
What should you do if you're confused about trademarks? Hire a trademark attorney.
Instead, I did some amateur research and decided to wing it. Bad idea, you guys.
Since launching a month ago, I've made good sales and am starting to feel like a legit company.
I figured it was time to hire a professional.
Well according to him, using the name Smarty Pants means I *might* get sued years from now.
I considered taking the chance.
My mother-in-law, who works at a law firm, quickly squashed that terrible idea.
Bottom line: I don't want to worry about potentially losing a brand that I've built from the ground up.
It's scary to make business decisions quickly and often on my own.
It's what I've been doing since I first had the idea for toddler girl leggings with "boyish" designs.
And it's also how I got into this trademark predicament.
But it's what I'll keep doing to move the Smarty Girl brand forward.
Though I'm sentimental about losing the Smarty Pants name, a lawsuit sounds like something best avoided.
Even with my business degree and marketing background, entrepreneurship has been a trial by fire.
I'm just glad it won't be an actual trial. With, like, a judge and attorney fees and stuff.
Yeah, let's definitely avoid that.
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