It’s been a fun ride.
I was a lawyer for over 20 years.
After being a lawyer in Russia for 13 years, I moved to Canada in 2007, and went straight back to law school. After four more years, I became a Canadian lawyer and a registered trademark agent, and started my own law firm.
In Canada, only trademark agents can represent clients before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Trademark agents are also authorized to file and prosecute U.S. trademarks for Canadian residents.
Interestingly, lawyers who are not licensed as trademark agents in Canada, may not file trademarks in Canada on behalf of their clients. In other words, trademark agents who are not lawyers may file trademarks in Canada, but lawyers who are not trademark agents may not.
As of June 30, I gave up my lawyer license and continue running Trademark Factory International Inc. with my trademark agent license.
I didn’t suddenly lose passion for the law of intellectual property. I still I care deeply about it, and I still love Protecting Your Ideas and Covering Your Assets®. In fact, every time I'd tell my story that I've been a lawyer for 20 years, people would say that I don't look like someone who's been a lawyer for 20 years. And my answer was always, “Well, it's because unlike most lawyers, I don't hate doing what I have been doing for the last 20 years.”
Why am I giving up my license then?
There are many arbitrary rules that regulate what lawyers can and cannot do. These archaic rules were making it unnecessarily difficult for Trademark Factory® to provide our clients with the level of service they deserve. Despite the pretense that these regulations are designed to protect the public in their dealings with legal professionals, they only benefit big-firm lawyers and the regulators themselves.
These regulations would have me do business the 19th century way, while, to the delight of our clients, I am intent to provide alternative, result-oriented legal solutions. As I've always said, “If you are looking for a traditional lawyer to charge you in 6-minute increments every time the lawyer, their paralegal or assistants sneeze on your file, there are plenty of such lawyers around. I just don't want to be one of them.”
The first tagline I used for Mincov Law Corporation was "Outside The Box Legal Solutions," and I've always been pushing the envelope to provide business owners with legal services they were looking for. Recently, I realized that I don't even need to be in the box to provide solutions that lie outside of it.
I know for a fact that my clients didn’t choose me because I had a laminated piece of paper from the Law Society that graciously allowed me to call myself a lawyer. They entrusted me with their business because they like and trust me, because they like the way I do business, and because they like the results we are consistently delivering.
My mission with Trademark Factory® is to forever change the way the world does trademarks. My goal is to allow businesses and entrepreneurs from around the globe to register their trademarks anywhere in the world with a free trademark search, a single all-inclusive flat fee, and a 100% money-back guarantee.
While I am an expert in trademark laws, because of the Law Society regulations, I cannot fulfill my mission while carrying a license of a practicing lawyer in Canada.
With the license no longer tying my hands, we will be able to:
– expand Trademark FactoryÃƒï¿½Ã‚Â® to other jurisdictions (who wants a European Union trademark for a flat fee with a 100% money-back guarantee?);
– pay referral fees to those who spread the message about Trademark Factory® (we'll be making a separate announcement on that but feel free to inquire directly); and
– get involved in complementary businesses outside of trademarking services.
You cannot imagine how much your support means to me.
THANK YOU! read more…
If you came to a restaurant and asked if they could make a good steak for you, and the waitress told you that they’re not sure but they are sure going to try very hard – what are the odds you would order it?
If you asked the waitress how much the steak is going to cost, and she told you that it costs $10 to place it on the grill and then the chef is going to charge you by the minute depending on how difficult it is to cook it to the perfect temperature – how likely would you be to order it?
If – not being convinced that they are any good at steaks – you then asked the waitress if they would offer you a refund if the steak would not come out right, and told you that there would be no refunds because they would have invested a lot of time, products and effort trying to the best of their abilities – would you ever order it from that place?
Below is a typical response that a business owner would receive from the vast majority of law firms and trademark agents in Canada to the question how much it would cost to register a trademark in Canada and whether or not the firm would provide any guarantees:
With regard to approximate costs, we attach a copy of our latest Schedule of Fees for your reference. For your convenience, we highlight the approximate costs of preparing and filing a single trademark application as $XXX plus official fees of $XXX. If the trademark application proceeds directly to allowance, the fees applicable to registration of the trademark application will be about $XXX plus official fees of $XXX.
If an adverse examination report is issued during examination, we will docket such response and report to you with our recommendations to overcome the objections raised in the adverse report as well as the approximate costs. The prosecution costs for the matter will vary depending on the nature of the objections raised and the hourly rate of the lawyer preparing the response. The writer’s hourly rate is $XXX. The approximate cost of reporting to you will be from $XXX. Complex objections requiring submission of evidence are subject to highly variable cost.
Most applications take 14 – 18 months from the date of application to achieve registration if there are no significant delays, but if the application is ultimately unsuccessful, we do not offer a refund.
No wonder most business owners are terrified of registering their trademarks in Canada. A low-cost application fee is simply a bait to get the customer in the door to then bill and bill until the application is either registered or refused. What business owner would not agree to pay a few extra hundred dollars after investing a thousand already? And then just another few extra hundred dollars here and there?
Don’t believe me? Call any law firm in Canada and ask two questions:
1. Can you guarantee a fixed flat rate that would cover the entire process from start to finish, including responses to all office actions that may be issued during the process?
2. Do you guarantee that the trademark will be registered, and if the application is ultimately unsuccessful, will I get my money back?
Now compare their response with the answer you will receive from the Trademark Factory:
We charge a flat rate of $2,000 + tax + government fees for one trademark application in Canada (the total comes to $2,690). This amount covers everything from the initial search of registered trademarks, drafting and filing the trademark application to unlimited follow-up correspondence with the Trademarks Office, responding to all office actions, filing the declaration of use, and obtaining the registration certificate.
We guarantee that the Canadian Intellectual Property will approve your trademarks. Otherwise, you get all of your money back, including the fees you paid to the government.
If you use a remarkable name, logo or tagline for your business, the Trademark Factory™ is the perfect solution to register them as trademarks in Canada.
As I’ve just mentioned, Mincov Law Corporation has just celebrated its first birthday.
Not only do I have tons of great friends among founders and co-founders of Vancouver tech startups, I know the challenges surrounding running a startup firsthand.
For many startups the cost of getting a trademark through a trademark agent may be prohibitive, so they end up without a trademark or with a poorly drafted trademark application.
I want to extend a helping hand and announce that throughout September of 2012 Mincov Law Corporation will be offering its most comprehensive trademark registration package valued at $3,500 + HST to any business that has been incorporated for less than 2 years in Canada for only…
Become the next , or for half the price in September!
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I have been fighting against unauthorized use of other people’s music, software and movies for more than 18 years.
However, I also am very much aware of the ease with which one may download pretty much anything today – for free and often more useable compared to the legitimate copy (greetings, DVD menus and advertising).
Once you’ve been using a cracked or a ripped file without any issues, it is very difficult to force yourself to shell out hard earned money for something that would not result in any positive change in how we use the software, listen to the music or watch the films.
I also know that most people would prefer to own legitimate copies of the stuff they have on their computers if somehow miraculously they didn’t have to pay for it, at least to the extent that their user experience wouldn’t be worse off compared to what they’ve had with the file they leeched off a torrent.
Financial incentives are often more convincing than words.
This is why it is my pleasure to announce that starting September 1, 2012 every new client of Mincov Law Corporation will be receiving Anti-Piracy Reward Certificates.
The idea is simple:
1. become a client of Mincov Law Corporation;
2. receive valuable legal advice and outstanding customer service;
3. get a reward certificate;
4. buy legitimate software, music or movies;
5. receive a cheque from your lawyer.
The certificates may be regifted.
And think of it, doesn’t it sound great: “I just got my lawyer pay for my music”?
Please comment and share if you like the idea.
On July 12, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its reasons in five copyright cases: Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), Re:Sound v. Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, Entertainment Software Association v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, Rogers Communications Inc. v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, and Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Bell Canada.
The results, while quite predictable, are very disappointing for someone who values individual rights, freedom and capitalism.
Howard Knopf in his post, A Proud and Progressive Pentalogy Day in Canadian Copyright Law has provided a brief outline of what the five cases stand for. It’s a good summary of what the cases stand for, but I squarely disagree with Mr. Knopf on his conclusions. My issues with his position start with the title, namely the use of the word “progressive”. I trust that the use of it is intentional and is in reference to the progressive movement. You may or may not agree with Glenn Beck, but the important question to ask when using the word progressive, even outside the political context is, “what are we progressing to?”. In my opinion, we are progressing away from a system where interests of the individual trump interests of the society and towards a system where interests of the “society”, expressed by whoever has the power to claim to be in position to represent such interests, trump interests of each particular individual making up that “society”. This never ends well.
Leaving the technicalities for a future post, I have three big problems with the 5 decisions.
My biggest problem is with paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Bell case, where the Court unanimously held that:
 Théberge reflected a move away from an earlier, author-centric view which focused on the exclusive right of authors and copyright owners to control how their works were used in the marketplace: see e.g. Bishop v. Stevens,  2 S.C.R. 467, at pp. 478-79. Under this former framework, any benefit the public might derive from the copyright system was only “a fortunate by-product of private entitlement”: Carys J. Craig, “Locke, Labour and Limiting the Author’s Right: A Warning against a Lockean Approach to Copyright Law” (2002), 28 Queen’s L.J. 1, at pp. 14-15.
 Théberge focused attention instead on the importance copyright plays in promoting the public interest, and emphasized that the dissemination of artistic works is central to developing a robustly cultured and intellectual public domain. As noted by Professor David Vaver, both protection and access must be sensitively balanced in order to achieve this goal: Intellectual Property Law: Copyright, Patents, Trade-marks (2nd ed. 2011), at p. 60.
This is exactly the problem with the current trend. I strongly believe that interests of the public should be completely irrelevant to copyright laws and copyright policy. Whether copyright laws provide any benefits as a “fortunate by-product” or they actually hurt the public does not really matter. What matters is whether those who create something that had not existed before have a chance to offer it to the public on THEIR terms, rather than being forced in a situation where they should either not disclose it to the public or expect the public to dictate such terms.
Notice the difference between a situation when the market forces a manufacturer to lower prices not to be squeezed out by the competition (as in copyright owners voluntarily adopting new models depending on granting access to their works for free) and a situation when the government adopts laws that say that those who really want or need to use the manufacturer’s product are entitled to steal from the manufacturer, but no more than 20% of the manufacturer’s total output (as in the government telling copyright owners they cannot sell their works because the public should have the “user right” to use them for free).
No matter what the Supreme Court of Canada says, copyright is not about access. It’s not about dissemination. It’s not about the royalties. The only thing that copyright is about is control. Take away control and you have slavery, because then the author is in no position to decide on which conditions to offer the results of his work to others. Whether it’s the public, the government or the collective society that decides it – it’s not the most important person in the equation, the author and the copyright owner.
My second big problem is that all five cases regarded copyright in the context of tariffs. Based on the false premise that copyright is about royalties, the Court seems to have used the following logic: “We have all these tariffs. If we decide that this action involves the use of this right recognized by the Copyright Act, then it would mean that it would fall under this or that tariff. Would that be a fair result?”
I understand that the cases WERE about tariffs, and that tariffs are an integral part of the copyright regime in Canada, but tariffs are merely an extension of exclusive rights that authors are supposed to voluntarily delegate to collective societies. Just because a collective society adopted a tariff royally approved by the Copyright Board does not create or destroy exclusive rights.
In Supreme Court’s reasons, however, the underlying assumption seems to be that the only purpose of authors’ existence is to provide an opportunity for the collective societies to apply tariffs.
This goes back to the priority of the interests of an individual over the collective.
Finally, Supreme Court further expanded fair dealing. Not only did it endorse the horrific idea of “user rights” previously found in CCH, it went far and beyond by removing even those scarce limitations of what the public could do to exclusive rights of copyright owners if the public feels like it.
In my opinion, most categories of fair dealing should be reduced to presumptions, which a copyright owner can rebut by declaring that the copyright owner does not grant the right to use his works for such purposes that the Copyright Act presumptively considers “fair”.
For example, why do we assume that a library should have the right to carry every single book it feels would benefit the community? Why cannot there be a situation when a copyright owner chooses to disallow libraries to carry the copyright owner’s books? This would happen in dismally small number of cases, so fair dealing would play the role in facilitating the dealings that are supposedly fair. But just because most copyright owners would be OK with such use does not mean that ALL of them would be. Individual rights are not about averages, they are about individuals.
Very seldom a use is truly fair if the copyright owner openly opposes it.
Same goes for the education. Why do we assume that the purpose of educating the next generation of students justifies robbing the current generation of authors and copyright owners of their right to decide if they want to allow teachers to distribute copies of their works to students without paying for it?
In summary, this is a very sad day for Canada. Not because greedy collective societies and big corporations will be able to grab less cash from the “working people” and the “less fortunate among us”. Not because a certain provision of the Copyright Act was interpreted to mean one thing, and not the other.
It is a sad day because it confirms the shift in the paradigm – from protecting individual rights against being infringed by other individuals or the mob, we are “progressively” drifting to laws that are subjecting rights of each individual to the mythical interests of the “whole”.
I have not only studied history, I’ve lived the socialist nightmare. Those of you who think that government-sponsored mass murders can never happen in Canada, think again.
No, just because the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that the fair dealing exception for the purpose of private study also covers non-private study will not be the cause of the government rounding up millions of Canadians and shooting them in the head. But that’s what progressivism is all about. Slowly changing the paradigm. Slowly robbing individuals of their rights… until one day they realize that ALL of their rights are now subject to whether they benefit the rest of the “collective”.
Those cheering today for the victory of the “users” are cheering for their own destruction as holders of individual rights, whatever these rights may be.
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Tags:CollectivismPhilosophySmall BusinessNew Copyright ActFair Dealing