What Entrepreneurial Teens Need to Know About Patents and Trademarks

My Rotary Club has a wonderful program that teaches talented teenagers all about how to start a business. It’s a weekend “camp” where teams of teens come up with business ideas, develop business plans, and pitch their idea to “investors” who judge their work. If you’ve ever seen “Shark Tank” on tv, it’s just like that. Except these are kids, the “investors” are volunteers like me, and no money actually changes hands.  [...]

The Ultimate Ted Talk: Shooting the Breeze (and some guns) with Ted Nugent

Ben and Ted Nugent It was my first ever NRA Annual Meeting, and do I ever have a story to tell! There are lots of “Rock Stars” in our industry, but there’s only one Ted Nugent... (“Thankfully!” - most of his adversaries and some fans would say – he’d probably agree – though I wish there were a thousand like him speaking out as forcefully as he does). I’m an old rock and roll fan, and play the drums pretty seriously these days. I first knew Ted on the AM radio, but didn’t become a true fan of his until after I became a gun nut and read his books  [...]

How to Search Patents

There are a lot of good reasons why my firearms industry clients and other clients want to do a patent search. Sometimes, they’ll hire me to the do the job, but I’d like to offer a reliable resource for doing it yourself. Some patent searches are too formal for do-it-yourself internet work, even by me. In extreme cases, finding the “smoking gun” patent that wins a lawsuit can be worth tens of thousands of dollars invested in a search specialist (someone I would outsource the project to). In some cases, investing a couple thousand dollars in a formal patentability  [...]

Avoiding Trademark Disaster

I love gun dealers. Gun shops are some of my favorite places, and I’ve spent more than a few pleasant hours over the kitchen table of a small gun dealer, taking delivery of a new treasure. Which is why it was so painful when I got a call for help from a gun dealer who was having a very “bad day.” He just got a scary letter from a big law firm demanding that he cease doing business under his current name, and threatening all sorts of financial and criminal penalties. I’m talking about a perfectly honest, legitimate, and honorable guy who thought he’d be making a  [...]

Are Patents Really Worth It?

I genuinely enjoy all the folks I’ve come to meet in this industry. In the dozen years I’ve been at the SHOT Show, I’ve met the whole spectrum: The superstars who have the respect of the entire industry, including their competitors; the quiet geniuses who work behind the scenes to provide some of the greatest innovations; the tough guys who love a fight (even in court – even if they’re bound to lose); the grumps who thoroughly conceal the fact that they love their work; the geeks who wouldn’t dream of working in any other industry, and one of my favorites: The  [...]

Cash for (Lawyer) Clunkers: How to Choose the Right Patent & Trademark Lawyer

A few months ago, I got a call from a Firearms Business owner I have gotten to know over the years. I met him more than a decade ago at my first SHOT show, and have stayed in touch since then. His surname is the company name (let’s call it “Bruno”), and he’s well known. Over the years, I’ve suggested that he really ought to protect some of his brand names now that his business was a growing and successful concern, but Mr. Bruno never wanted to invest in securing those patent and trademark assets. Rewind to a year or so ago. Bruno gave me a call asking about  [...]