Week 19: Trademarking & wireframes

When working on an “internet of things” project there are a lot of moving parts: the product, the software, the online interaction. One thing I’ve been thinking about is how people might interact with GNL when they are away from home, and also how they might want to manage their lamps “out there”. Imagine you’ve given a little lamp to a partner you’ve just broken up with, you’d really need some sort of way to “disconnect” the product somehow without making that little lamp completely obsolete. There’s enough electronic waste out there, it would be nice if you could either return the product to us, or re-assign it to a new family of products. Equally, handling relationships embodied in a product is tricky business and hopefully we can make it feel both special and connected. We’ve been working on the site and the types of functionalities we might want to give people when they buy a lamp, how they might want to personalise them and also how they might want to keep track of their “family”. Exciting.

We’ve been applying to Trademark the Good Night Lamp and that’s gone through the first process with some bumps in the road I thought I’d share. Firstly a little about the process:

1. You go to the Intellectual Property Office online and fill in an online application. This costs £220.

2. You have to choose classes under which your product fits. In our case, Class 11 and 42.

Class 11 : Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes; air conditioning apparatus; electric kettles; gas and electric cookers; vehicle lights and vehicle air conditioning units.

Class 42: Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software; computer programming; installation, maintenance and repair of computer software; computer consultancy services; design, drawing and commissioned writing for the compilation of web sites; creating, maintaining and hosting the web sites of others; design services.

Then you wait until your application goes through an examiner. We applied on March 1st and had quite a few exchanges by email with our examiner about the reason we wanted to include class 42. We had to explain that a service was being created to link the lamps together, something they obviously had never encountered. The presence of the internet alone wasn’t enough, because that “service” already exists. It’s the software infrastructure we’re building to connect the right lamps together that makes a difference. The application has been accepted today and we’re now entering a publication period.

The requirements for registration appear to be met so the application is accepted. We will now publish it in the Trade Marks Journal on our website for opposition purposes. We will tell you the Journal number and date of publication shortly.
After the mark has been published, there is a two month period in which anybody may oppose or consider opposing its registration. When somebody is considering an opposition this period can be extended to three months. If we receive any opposition, or the opposition period is extended, we will write to tell you.
If nobody opposes the mark, we will automatically register it after the end of the opposition period and send you the registration certificate soon afterwards.

So that’s a period of about 6 months between application and hopefully final ok. phewww… Thankfully it’s cheap and not too time consuming, just slow.