Expert Mentor Session Part 9: When Should You Consider Trademarking?
[Sunny Smith]: Michael H. Cohen is the founder of Cohen Healthcare Law Group.
He’s a former professor at Harvard medical school and a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The author of over a hundred articles in law reviews and peer reviewed journals, as well as six books, including four published by an academic presses like Johns Hopkins University Press. Michael’s a thought leader who pioneers legal strategies and solutions for clients in traditional and emerging health and wellness markets. In doing so, he advises many physician clients in a variety of businesses and practices. Michael and his attorney team have a wide range of knowledge and he’s glad to have this chance to share some of it with us today.
[Sunny Smith]: So when do you think that someone should consider trademarking?
Is it like, do you get successful and then decide to trademark?
Because what if you change your branding or something? Or when do you-
[Michael H. Cohen]: That’s the thing. If you get your driver’s license and you decide that you’re only going to test going on the road, but you’re not going to wear a seat belt or have a horn that works or have brakes until later until you’re really more experienced, because after all, you’re only driving from here to this door, you got to take it seriously.
Look, it’s a very weighty thing. It can be very consequential.
So I’ll give you an example. From the FDA side, a client was a clinician. She had some kind of device in her practice, actually more than one client. And the manufacturer said our device does such and such. I don’t know what it does. Grows hair, removes wrinkles, helps you get rich, makes your life better, whatever, the device does such and such.
And so they sold the device on our website happily, guess what? That was a claim that they couldn’t make.
It was a 510K device. And it wasn’t in the 510k.
And the other example, it could not be substantiated.
It could not be proven the device did that. Did the distributor get in trouble?
No, the clinician got in trouble.
Why is FDA picking on this little clinician somewhere who’s not even making money and is struggling to pay this thing off? Life is not fair, but the point is, you’re going to put something out there, you got to be aware of what you’re doing. So you got to have insurance. You got to have a lawyer. You got to have an accounting.
You’re wise to have a coach. You’re wise to have a coach who has lawyers, who has accountants. You want to model those things. Those are the things that are going to help you be successful. I speak as a born again entrepreneur, I’m a born again entrepreneur. I was a service professional, and what I’ve discovered is, and I don’t mean to make light of it, but I literally had to reinvent myself professionally to understand that there’s a separate hat that I wear and that it requires, literally, it blows your mind, the things that you know, and the things that you think a year later that you didn’t think a year before.
And that’s what’s exciting about being an entrepreneur. To me, you become the person because let’s face it, the boundaries of science are infinite as are the boundaries of law.
And yet there’s a method, right?
It’s circumscribed in a certain way, right?
There are things that you learn about yourself and your business is a projection of yourself in a different way than your professional practice. It’s everything, the pictures on the wall behind you and what they represent, right?
[Sunny Smith]: Yeah. I’ve had those for 15 years, but then now that I’m a business person, I’m like, that actually represents my business. I actually go there for my business.
[Michael H. Cohen]: There’s no accident, right?
[Sunny Smith]: I mean, you think I just bought them, but yeah, it does.
My website and my podcast and everything is a projection of me and who I am as a person.
[Michael H. Cohen]: Exactly.
[Sunny Smith]: Whether my coaches show up on time, for instance, or no show my clients, that’s all on me. Whether they showed up or not, that projects on me.
I would definitely recommend. I needed direction regarding the FDA and how the rules would affect my business. Responsive, accessible, and knowledgeable.
Impressive credentials are only overshadowed by their clear awareness of practical strategies to help Physicians navigate modern healthcare and achieve successful outcomes.