Lawyers are tough.

I have a newfound appreciation for all that lawyers do. Trademark lawyers, specifically, who will sift through mountains of minutia and dearths of data to uncover what might be one instance of a use of a made-up word. Thanks to the Alvarez Spark Innovation Award, I am able to compensate a trademark lawyer for doing the dirty digging on the name of my venture: ACRODEMICS.

Since my business is a combination of AcroYoga and academic tutoring, the portmanteau seems a natural name under which to operate. Back in October, I applied for the Spark award at the urging of my then-professor of Business of Social Innovation. Part of his advice was to make sure I was protected in using the name of my venture; i.e., trademarking the name. The Taylor Center agreed, and generously awarded me $1,000 toward the (very expensive) trademark process.LawyerUnder one condition. Taylor required that I first seek advice from a professor of law at Tulane– her law students conduct trademark research for several ventures as an academic exercise. Having the work come from within the Tulane bubble would save time, money, and exasperation (we hoped). The law students would do finish the majority of the work that would normally be done by a trademark lawyer or firm, and we’d be able to get away with only needing to pay the lawyer to file the trademark application.

However, that experience was a lesson in “you get what you pay for.” Despite my beginning the process of reaching out in October, it took until this week (late May) to finally hand over the research that was completed in early January. At the original meeting, we had discussed a timeline of 6-12 weeks for the research to be done and the application to be filed. And yet, the past six months have been an exercise in miscommunication, mistakes, and impossible-to-reach entities.

The Taylor Center was unfailingly helpful and productive during this process. Julia Lang reached out to me every 2-3 weeks to ask about progress, and invited me to CC her on emails with the law professor in charge of the research handover. Next time, I would go straight to a firm. I’m finally in meetings with a lawyer who is ready to sit down with me and file the application, research in hand. Hopefully by the time you read this, the Federal Trademark Bureau will working through their own miscommunications and annoying eccentricities.