Discover how trademark, patent, and software law can help small business, entrepreneurs, and inventors. Check my blog for questions and answers.

Patent & Trademark Job Interview Question: Mock Client Meeting

You are now an associate working in my office. You have received three new emails from three potential new clients. Select one to meet with:

To: Mr. Attorney
From: Pat Potent
RE: my idea

Hi Attorney,
I have a very valuable idea and I need to get a trademark as soon as possible. I’m worried that China will compete with me and under cut my pricing. This bag helps keep food warm. The shape of the bag allows up to three pizzas to be inserted at the same time and sealed along one side using a strip of velcro. This will revolutionize the pizza delivery industry.
My initial sales are very slow, so I am worried about the cost of a trademark. Can you help me? I had to buy out my partner and former best-friend-forever, because, while he thought of the idea first, he ran out of money and refuses to support the business further. I am the inventor, and, I want to make sure that he has no legal claim to my business.

Pat Potent

To: Mr. Attorney
From: Tom Thompson
RE: stole my name!

Dear Attorney,
I have been in business for 35 years. My former employee started a new company in Arizona using the name I have used for 35 years. I never registered the name and I am a sole proprietor. About 6 months ago, I moved down the street to have cheaper rent. This former employee moved in my former space and put up a new sign using my old name.

I sell pet food and so does my former employee’s new business. Lately, people have been calling me on the phone complaining that their pets are getting sick from food that I allegedly sold to them. However, these complainers are not listed as customers in my computer. I think they are buying food from my former employee. It would be just like him to cut corners and sell cheap pet food that makes pets sick. I fired him because he hates pets and is allergic to them too.
The name of my business is “BEST PET FOOD”. I noticed that my former employee filed a trademark at the US Trademark Office, will he be able to force me to change my name? What do I do?

Tom Thompson

To: Mr. Attorney
From: Adam Appman
RE: I got an app for that!

I am one of the best iPhone app designer, developer, engineers, programmers, and stuntmen in the world. I’m absolutely brilliant. And charming. People love me.
Other people like me so much, they helped me write the program, over the Internet, almost for free. I had help with the graphics and screen designs from a guy in Arizona. My girlfriend helped with some testing (but we broke up). There is another girl from India or Europe (or somewhere) that wrote a calculation engine that performs some dark-magic stuff that I don’t really understand. I have never seen anything like it before (and remember, I am brilliant) -- I’m sure it doesn’t exist anywhere else. But don’t worry, about a year ago I paid the overseas girl $100 for all of her rights, so I own it. Everyone else knew they were working for free or a small percentage of the company, whatever I decide later. Hopefully, I won’t need to pay anyone else, will I? How much do you charge for a copyright?
Also, I heard that there is a common-law copyright, I mean, that I get a copyright for free without doing anything. So, why should I pay you, either? Oh, I’m about to upload this thing to Apple for approval at 3pm today. Let me know if I need to do anything before then.

Anticipatingly yours,
Adam Appman

Kid Invents Suction Tires

Patent & Trademark Job Interview Question: Mock Client Meeting