What Inventors Need to Know…
Tom Demitry is an entrepreneur, an inventor, a salesman, a marketer, a man of ideas and as he will tell you first and foremost a father and a man of God. He is constantly coming up with new ideas and new ways to reinvent himself. His passion and enthusiasm are endless.
I met Tom about 10 years ago when I first became a patent attorney and he was looking for someone to help him file a patent application and get a patent for his invention, the PaintMat (PDF). Little did he know that he was my first client! It was the beginning of a long term working relationship and friendship.
Although that product never really became a financial success, Tom took the PaintMat idea across the country selling the product he had patented, manufactured and marketed and learned a lot of lessons in the process.
Since then he started a new endeavor selling baseball caps and various styles of hats with a Christian theme and marketing the hats under the registered trademark (.PDF) SpiritDomes®. This time it seems that Tom is on his way.
I thought a blog post about him might give inspiration and guidance to other inventors and entrepreneurs who are starting out. Here are a couple questions and answers from our interview:
How did you establish a national brand and hat line in this difficult economic climate?
I have 30 years experience in the head-wear business and I received my vision in church on one fateful Sunday. I was thinking of ways I could spread the word of God and had an awesome idea that was very unique in the industry.
The idea is to imprint a quote from scripture on the under-visor of my product and design the artwork for a hat around the particular quote from the bible; a “SpiritDome”.
No one in the world was doing this so I wanted to establish my own unique niche. Being different than everyone else is what helped the brand really take off. The key is to be different and it is what our target consumer, the youth of today want to be- unique and different!
What have you done to protect your idea?
I thought the best way to protect my brand was by filing for a registered trademark. I filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) through KlossLaw and SpiritDomes was a registered trademark within one year of filing. I believe a registered trademark is the best protection available because no one can ever use it in business. It’s also versatile in that I can create product line extensions with the brand and the new products would carry the same protection.
What else do you do to build brand recognition?
I’ve always felt that if a brand was started at the grassroots level and done consistently over a long period of time, that would be the greatest protection of all. Next, all consistent marketing done to promote building the brand such as signage, promo cards, websites, Twitter, facebook, Linkedin, labels, etc. helps to shape the brand properly as well. What’s great about the times we live in is that network marketing to get the word out is affordable and effective. The internet is amazing!
Another thing we’re doing is partnering with producers, directors, musicians, speakers, etc. to spread the word about our brand. The value of word of mouth really adds up. We also label our products with SpiritDomes.com to promote our website so that the public knows of and has a direct link to us. The web page is the easiest way to learn more about what we do.
What is the value of Trademark and brand recognition?
Building a profitable company is what we all try to do. The company builds equity in assets like inventory, real property and cash which have a value or net worth. The beautiful thing about brand building is that the brand name itself has what you call Brand Equity. The brand and goodwill in the company itself has value that can be sold for profit depending how famous it becomes. Just like real-estate appreciates in value when people recognize the great location, the brand gains in value as more people know and recognize the name and associate it with a company that provides a quality product.
“A patent is limited by time but a trademark can last forever if the brand is built consistently and properly over time.”