Andrei Mincov's story
This video is very different from all other videos in this series.
I'm not answering any trademark-related questions.
I'm just sharing my story with you.
If you found this video useful, subscribe to our YouTube channel. We post new content all the time!
If you have a brand you want to protect, let's get on a quick call to discuss your trademarking strategy.
It all started when I was a law student in Russia.
Yes, I lived in Russia most of my life. I can speak with a Russian accent when I try. I try not to do this all the time because it would not be very convincing but it’s funny as a joke.
So, anyway I lived most of my life there and the whole journey really started when I was going to law school in Russia in Moscow. And I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t see myself as a lawyer. I thought it was too boring. They were teaching us something that I’ve never used ever since. It was all dry theory with things that I couldn't relate to practical life.
Until, one day my father, who was a famous composer in Russia, caught a radio station stealing his music to use it in an ad for Samsung.
So he called them up and said you can’t steal my music. You can’t just take my music and use it in an ad without asking permission. And they told him to sit down, shut up and be grateful for making him even more famous.
He didn’t like it very much. He didn’t like it at all. So he told them: “Alright, I’ll see you in court.”
He slams down the phone. And he realizes that it's mid-Nineties, in Russia. And Russia has just switched from the old Soviet copyright system to the new free-market copyright system, and there were really no lawyers who knew that stuff.
So he came to me and asked if I could help him to take this to court. And I’ve always admired him, and I’ve always sought his approval. So when he asked me if I could help him take this to court, what do you think I told him?
Of course, I said yes.
There were 3 problems with this. 1. I had no idea what copyright law was. I really didn’t know what it was about. 2. I have no idea what to do in a courtroom. They just didn’t tell us that, they didn’t teach us that. Two years they were teaching us ancient history of law, Roman law and blah-blah-blah, but none of that was something I could use in going to court, even writing a claim against the radio station. 3. But the worst thing, the worst thing, there was no Google back then. You couldn’t google how to write a copyright claim against Russian radio station that is stealing your father’s music. I had to figure it out all by myself: go ask people, go to the library, do this, do that...
And so, long story short, we sued them. And I ripped them apart and then they bought the judge, and we lost.
And I remember this moment as if it was yesterday. I was sitting in my room all depressed, all messed up, reading this decision for the hundredth time. The decision didn’t make any sense at all. Essentially, the judge admitted that the radio station infringed my dad’s copyright but somehow the conclusion was they didn’t, and so they didn’t have to pay.
So my dad came to my room and he asked me, “So, Andrei, what you want to do?” And I go, “I don’t know. I really don’t know what I should have done any different. I think I’ve done everything the right way, I’ve said all the right words, everything was going great—until we got the decision.”
And he said something that changed my approach to law, forever. He said, “If you’re not going appeal this, you should quit your law school and find yourself a different profession.”
That was the moment when I became an intellectual property lawyer.
We appealed this, we lost the appeal. We appealed it even higher to one instance short of Supreme Court of Russia—and mind you, that’s my very first case!—and eventually we won!
And that was the first time when somebody in Russia was able to win a case for copyright infringement in similar circumstances. And just for you to have an idea - I’ve never owned a suit until 9 years in my practice, I had my hair long like this, I attended this court hearing in my jeans and with a ponytail.
It was a great learning experience, I became really passionate about this, I become really knowledgeable about intellectual property, and that was the only thing what I’ve been doing ever since.
I was helping my dad and then I joined the biggest international law firm, Baker & McKenzie. They are the biggest law firm on the planet, with more offices than any other law firm. And there I had the honor of doing work for all of those multinational giants like Microsoft, Apple, Dreamworks, Sony, Yamaha, Google, you name it. If you can think of a big name, I’ve probably done something for them.
And all was going great. I was a hotshot lawyer in Russia, I was recognized as one of the top 5 copyright lawyers. And in 2007, I and my wife, we had a really short vacation. So we went to Prague, Czech Republic for 5 days: two of us and our 4-month-old daughter Masha.
And during those 5 days, we realized how quickly Czech Republic switched from being a socialist nightmare into an amazing modern free-market economy. And we realized that not only wasn't’ Russia close to that, it was not even going in the same direction.
So in 2007, I and my wife decided to leave and go somewhere else. So I did some research and realized that in order for me to do what I do, do what I do best, what I am so good at, in some other country, it has to be a country where English is a state language.
Canada ended up being the place where I could move to relatively easily and predictably. I love predictability. Really, that’s the whole idea behind Trademark Factory®. I love predictability! I value predictability.
So we knew that if we applied to immigrate to Canada, we would be accepted. And we did that and 8 months later, we landed in Vancouver.
I had to go back to law school, I did 3 more years of law school because nobody recognized my Russian diploma, my Russian license, my Russian experience, my Russian Ph.D. in Law. None of that mattered in Canada, so I had to go back to law school for 3 more years, did my 3 years of law school. Then I had to do one year of what’s called “articling,” when—for those who don’t know—you have to work for a law firm, for a lawyer, and do whatever they tell you to do. Usually, it is something very minor like writing memos, doing some research, and you do it for virtually no money. But the point of that is, you gain experience that the Law Society deems sufficient for you to be a practicing lawyer. Doesn’t make any sense really, but that was the rule.
These are the rules, I went through them, I wrote my bar exam, I got my license. And realized that nobody wanted to hire me. That was probably one of the most frustrating times of my life, I was not used to not being wanted. I moved to Canada after being a practicing lawyer for over 13 years, and all this time I never had to look for work: the work always found me.
So when I couldn’t convince any of the law firms in whole Canada that I was good enough for them to have me on board and help their clients with intellectual property issues, I started reading books on self-development, on starting my own business. And the first book that really changed everything was the book by Robert Kiyosaki “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” And when I read the passage where he explained that employment income is the most insecure type of income, I went like, “Huh, Robert, you might be writing this book about me!”
Because I just moved from the situation where everybody wanted to hire me, I was getting offers from different firms all the time to situation when nobody wanted to hire me. And anything my skills got better after I went through 3 more years of law school. And I realized that there is something to this position that Robert is right about.
And next thought I had was, I just finished that year with a law firm what I was articling with, getting paid really insignificant amount of money. I was spending at least twice as much every month and I was getting. And my thought process was, Andrei if you start your own law firm and if you can’t make at least as much as you were getting as the articling student with that firm, it must be you a crappy lawyer. It means that all you success in Russia really has no applicability here. Maybe it was just pure luck, maybe it was because of your dad, maybe it was because of you dad’s connections. Whatever it was! But if you start your firm and you can’t make enough to survive then you should look for something else to do.
So this is how I started my firm, and very quickly I realized that my success as a business, my success as a law firm here, would have very little to do with my brilliance and my excellence as a lawyer—and everything to do with my abilities as a marketer and a sales guy.
And trust me, at that time, which was 2011, I thought I had none of those skills! I thought I was the worst marketer on the planet and even a worse salesperson. I couldn’t sell if my life depended on it.
So I started going to all of those events, all of those webinars, reading all those books, attending seminars, webinars, everything, just trying to get better. And when I go through my notes that I have from those years, every page pretty much says, how do I get better at this? How do I get better at sales? How do I get better at marketing?
And this is how I started transitioning from what Michael Gerber calls a lawyer with an entrepreneurial seizure to an entrepreneur who just has deep knowledge of intellectual property. So I was doing less and less lawyering and more and more thinking things through, systemizing, building marketing around this, building, building, building... Until one day in 2013, I came up with this idea of Trademark Factory.
And it was the first year when I was to attend the International Trademark Association Meeting. To those of you who don’t know, imagine a room with 9700 lawyers who do trademarks from around the world. That’s exactly what International Trademark Association Meeting is all about, 9700 lawyers, almost 10,000 lawyers and trademark agents. And my thought process was very simple: if I go to a place to be among other 10,000 lawyers, nobody is going to remember what I have unless I have something that is different from everything they’ve ever heard of. Everything that’s been known to them, to their competition, and to their clients.
So I wanted to come up with something completely new, completely revolutionary. And that how I came up with idea of Trademark factory.
I thought what to do to make us different from everyone else and what I did is I just started asking people, what is about the current level of trademarking services that you don’t like? And the answers were very, very, very consistent from one another. Everybody kept saying it is lack of predictability. Everytime we’d ask the question, “How much it is going be?”, the answer is, “Well, it depends”. And they would send you the schedule of fees and you would never really know.
Ok, great. What else? Well, they all charge by the time. It’s all about the time. It’s never about the result. And trademarks are just about the result! You get one or you don’t. It’s not that you can get a better trademark or a worse trademark. So, there was this other thing: how do we get that certainty in result, how do we get certainty in the budget?
And the last thing is, how about all new brands that we think about, the last thing we want is to have to pay a lot of money for somebody to tell us that we can’t get them.
So this is how the Trademark Factory idea was born. That’s how we came up with the idea that Trademark Factory will have free comprehensive trademark search, so you know whether or not your brand is trademarkable without paying anything for it. And mind you, it’s not an automated search: we have people spending 1-2 hours per request to tell you whether or not your brand is trademarkable.
Second, we have an all-inclusive flat fee that covers everything from start to finish. Again, it covers the predictability.
And the last one is the 100% money-back guarantee, which covers the result.
So all of those things were the direct result of me trying to become a better marketer, a better sales guy.
And all was going great. The idea of Trademark Factory picked up so much so that in 2015, last year, I looked at our numbers and realized that all we do more than 90% of the business comes from trademarks. And the other thing I realized is that If I wanted to offer our services to people outside of Canada, to people outside the U.S., then I had to restructure the business in a way that I could be permitted to do so. We have all sorts of crazy regulations here in Canada for what lawyers can and cannot do. We just couldn’t scale it internationally unless I decided to give up my lawyer license, something was so hard to get. Something that I spent years to get!
I had to say, I no longer want this. That was a huge step out of the comfort zone, so just like moving from Russia to Canada was a huge step out of my comfort zone. Just as starting my own firm, as opposed to just getting instructions from your employer, that was a huge step out of my comfort zone. The next big step out of my comfort zone was me giving up my lawyer license last year.
And I think it was the best thing I ever done, because we have been growing since like crazy. We get clients from all over the world, we look at trademarking in other jurisdictions and really that allowed me to look at this as a scalable business. And if it means that in order to help more people get their trademarks done they way they want to get them, if it means that I have to not be a lawyer—to hell with the license!
So I still have my license as a trademark agent, I still have all my 20 years of experience as an ex-lawyer, I’m a being best-selling author of many books, 3 of them I published in Canada. One is the Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Intellectual property and two other ones are in the From Faceless to Legendary series: From Faceless to Legendary, The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Intellectual Property for Bars, Cafes and Restaurants and the From Faceless to Legendary, The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Intellectual Property for Coaches, Mentors, Trainers, and Consultants. All these books is where I explain intellectual property so that a 9 year-old can understand.
Really, you will hear it in my videos that I say that I’m famous for being able to explain intellectual property so that a 9 year-old can understand. This is where the whole thing comes from. This is why I have these books, this is why I do these videos, this is why we publish cartoons.
This is why we want trademarking to be something that you can understand, we don’t want to overload you with all of this useless data. We don’t want to overwhelm you with how much we know about trademarks.We want to make sure that this is something that is fun. This is something that adds value to your life and adds value to your business.
So really that’s the whole story.
I don’t know where the next step is going be. I know that Trademark Factory is growing. We now have a team of seven. And it is an amazing journey! And I just want to thank all of you for being a part of this journey.
Thank you for watching this video. Thank you for allowing me to have become what I am right now. It was, as I said, a very interesting transition. And I look forward to sharing that story with you and I look forward to you sharing your stories with me. Because I know how important those stories are for every business.
I know you have those stories. I know your brand has a story. And it’s something we will be happy to look into for you: how we can protect your story, how we can protect your brand, how we can make your business more valuable.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.
See our answers to other frequently asked questions about trademarks or leave your comments below!
comments powered by Disqus
- Does My Trademark Need to Match My Company Name? ()
- What Is a Trademark? ()
- Can I Add More Products and Services to My Trademark Application After It Has Been Filed? ()
- Where Should I Register My Trademarks? (Deciding on Jurisdictions in Which to File Trademarks) ()
- What Is Conventional Priority? ()
- Can I Change the Trademark Itself After My Trademark Application has been Filed? ()
- How Long Does It Take to Register a Trademark? ()
- Can I Trademark Dictionary Words? ()
- Can I Trademark the Same Brand for Different Products or Services? ()
- Do All Countries Protect Unregistered Trademarks? (Common-Law Trademarks) ()
- Can I Trademark a Brand Before It Is Launched? (Intent-to-Use Trademarks) ()
- Is My Trademark Available? ()
- Should I Trademark My Startup's Brand? ()
- In Whose Name Should I Apply For My Trademark? ()
- Will the Trademarks Office Help Me Enforce My Trademarks? ()
- Should I Trademark a Logo Done On Fiverr? ()
- How Much Does It Cost to Register a Trademark? ()
- Should I Trademark My #Hashtags? ()
- Are There Annual Trademark Maintenance Fees? ()
- If I Register My Trademark, Does It Mean No One Can Use It? ()
- Four Things Most Commonly Trademarked (The Trademark Dance) ()
- How Does Trademark Factory's Guarantee Work? ()
- What Are Nice Classes of Goods and Services ()
- Do I Have to Be an American Resident to File in the U.S.? ()
- How Are Service Marks Different From Trademarks? ()
- What Are Oppositions? ()
- 3 Most Important Benefits of Registering Trademarks ()
- Why Register a Trademark in Canada to Get a .CA Domain Name? ()
- What is Post-Allowance Statement / Declaration of Use? ()
- Am I Protected Between the Filing and the Registration of My Trademark? ()
- What Is Post-Registration Statement of Use? ()
- How to Use Trademarks to Create a Sense of Uniqueness for Your Business? ()
- What Goes Into a Trademark Application? ()
- What Happens If You Don't Respond to Correspondence from Trademarks Office in Time? ()
- What Makes a Brand Valuable? ()
- Is Registering a .COM Domain Name Enough to Secure Trademark Rights? ()
- Why Is It Important to Preserve Evidence of Use of My Trademarks? ()
- Do I Need an Agreement with My Logo Designer? ()
- What is Madrid Protocol? ()
- Trademark Factory Ultimate package ()
- What Are Official Marks in Canada? ()
- Trademark Factory I Feel Lucky package ()
- How Will a Trademark Examiner Examine My Trademark Application? ()
- Can You Trademark Book Titles? ()
- Trademark Factory All-Inclusive package ()
- Trademarks vs. Trade Names ()
- Look-Alike and Sound-Alike Trademarks ()
- Will the Trademark Examiner Check Other Applied For Trademarks? ()
- Trademarking Words in a Fancy Font? ()
- Will the Trademark Examiner Check Unregistered Trademarks? ()
- You Received an Office Action. Now What? ()
- How Long Is a Trademark Registration Good For? ()
- When Should I Trademark My Brand? ()
- Why is Google the Textbook Example of What Not to Do with Your Trademark? ()
- Should I Claim Color as a Feature of My Trademark ? ()
- What Is the Difference Between Trademarks and Patents? ()
- How Should I List Products and Services in My Trademark Application? ()
- What Is the Difference Between Trademarks and Copyright? ()
- When Should I Trademark My Logo? ()
- What Are the Two Main Reasons My Trademark Application Can Be Rejected? ()
- What Is the Trademarking Process? ()
- Can I Mention Someone Else's Trademark on My Website? ()
- What Is An Acceptable Specimen of Use? ()
- What Are Generic, Descriptive, Suggestive, Arbitrary, and Fanciful Trademarks? ()
- What Is UDRP Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy? ()
- How Do I Trademark Product Names? ()
- When Am I Allowed to Put TM Next To My Brand? ()
- How Do I Trademark Service Names? ()
- What Are Word Marks, Design Marks, and Combined Marks? ()
- What Should I Know About Trademarking Slogans and Taglines? ()
- Should I Trademark My Name Or My Logo ()
- Adding Elements to My Trademark to Overcome Confusion or Descriptiveness ()
- Are Famous Trademarks Treated Differently From Regular Trademarks ()
- Received an Invoice For International Publication of Trademark ()
- What Should I Do If Somebody Infringes on My Trademark ()
- Do Trademarks Protect Their Foreign Equivalents ()
- What Should I Do If Somebody Accuses Me of Infringing Their Trademark? ()
- Asian Domain Name Scam ()
- What Are Two Biggest Branding Mistakes? ()
- Are Dead Trademarks a Problem? ()
- What Is The Difference Between a TM and an R in a Circle Symbols ()
- What Does Using a Trademark Mean? ()
- How Do I Choose a Great Brand for my Business, Product, or Service ? ()
- What Is Weekly Confusion Watch Service? ()
- Supplemental Register ()
- What Are Ornamental Trademarks? ()
- What Happens If I Don't Renew My Trademark In Time? ()
- What Does Confusingly Similar Mean? ()
- What Is a Trademark Assignment Agreement? ()
- What Does Date of First Use Mean? ()
- What Is a License Agreement? ()
- Why Is Search So Important? ()
- What Are Incontestable Trademarks? ()
- How Do I Check the Current Status of my Trademark Application? ()
- Important Amendments to Canada's Trademark Law ()
- How To Trademark a Name and Logo ()
- Trademarking Strategies For Life And Business Coaches ()
- How Do I Cancel Someone Else's Trademarks? ()
- Why Do Celebrities Trademark Their Catchphrases? ()
- How George Clooney Made $1 Billion Using Trademarks? ()
- Misspellings and Other Changes to Get Around Someone Else's Trademark ()
- How To Protect Your Brand On Amazon? ()
- Dividing a USPTO Trademark Application ()
- 5 Movies with Unbelievable Scenes about Trademarks and Intellectual Property ()
- Trademark Factory's New & Improved I Feel Lucky Package ()
- The Dumbest Advice About Trademarks You Could Ever Give ()
- 5 Things You Should Never Say About Your Brand ()
- Trademarks vs Domain Names ()
- What's Your Brand Worth? ()
- 3 Y's Of Protecting Your Brand ()
- Matrix of Success 2 Things a Business Needs for Success ()
- How Coca Cola Trademarked Their Brand ()
- Trademarks: Certainty vs. Commitment ()
- Trademarking Process In a Nutshell - TMs Into Rs Brand Protection Formula ()
- Can I Trademark An App ()
- 3 Types Of Businesses And What This Has To Do With Trademarks ()
- Incorporation vs Trademarking ()
- 3 Nasty Trademark Rip Offs And How To Avoid Them ()
- Do I Need To Have A Logo To Get A Trademark ()
- The Real Price You Pay For Trademarking ()
- Copyright, Trademarks and Patents: What's the Difference? ()
- How To Create A Killer Tagline For Your Business ()
- The Madrid Protocol and International Trademarking - Updated for 2019 ()
- Difference Between TM and R in a Circle When to Use Which ()
- USPTO Trademark Fees Are About To Skyrocket ()
- How To Trademark A Name And Logo For Free ()
- Trademark Classes Explained | Nice Classification ()
- Trademark Class 35 of Nice Classification ()
- How To Trademark A Name And Logo For My Music Band ()
- Trademark Classes Explained For Mobile Apps ()
- Trademark Classes For Clothing Everything You Need To Know ()
- How To Create A Great Brand Name (J.U.M.P Brands) ()