Sacha Brackins, local attorney and founder of Brackins Law Firm wants to help entrepreneurs navigate the complex landscape of trademarking their business so they can build an established brand.
She launched the “Protect Our Culture” initiative in partnership with the San Diego County Assessor’s office and other local businesses to host a series of three educational town halls this summer.
Brackins said she wants to help small-business owners, especially Black entrepreneurs and other people of color, to trademark their brands and make sure they establish their enterprise in a way that retains their wealth.
While there is no demographic data tracking who applies for trademarks, Brackins is focused on helping entrepreneurs who have historically lacked access to information and resources for growing their small businesses.
She said this process is often overlooked as new business owners might think that filing for a business license is enough, but it’s not.
“It’s not widely discussed, and that’s why we definitely wanted to get the county involved,” Brackins said. “Even if you have an LLC, or you purchased the domain name that’s not sufficient.”
This is the first time the county assessor’s office has partnered on this kind of initiative said Jordan Marks, taxpayer advocate at the San Diego County Assessor’s Office. The county assessor’s office processes official documents from property records to fictitious business names, which entrepreneurs use instead of their own name to establish their company’s brand.
Marks will be a part of town halls this summer that will help entrepreneurs to understand the process of registering their business name. He wants the process to be fast, easy and friendly.
Registering a fictitious business name with the county is the first step, Marks said. The second step is trademarking the name so that it’s protected on a federal level. If a small business doesn’t have a copyright or trademark, they run the risk of getting ripped off by other businesses down the line that might use the same name Marks said.
“Protect Our Culture” Town Hall
Where: Louisiana Purchase, 2305 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
When: Thursday, June 9 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
What: These town halls aim to help small business owners learn about properly trademarking and protecting their brand.
More info: https://protectourculture.org/#
“My mom was a small-business owner, she relied on copyright and trademarks for her artwork,” Marks said. “She was ripped off early in her days and it was a very tough lesson for her … This (initiative) was really personal for me because her copyrights and trademarks put food on the table for my family as a single mom and so she had to learn the lesson the hard way.”
The town hall events are free to attend. Brackins will also be offering small-business owners additional services at a discounted rate to make the trademarking process as feasible as possible. While business owners can apply for a federal trademark for free, she said it’s a very complex and time-consuming process.
“Most small businesses skip this step because it’s costly and they don’t see the value until it’s too late,” Marks said of the process which can cost thousands of dollars. “What Sacha is doing is something that allows them to build a billion dollar brand.”
Anyone is welcome to register for the event, and you don’t have to have an established business to participate, said Brackins.
The first town hall will take place on June 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Louisiana Purchase in North Park. People can register for the first town hall and get updates about two additional meetings this summer at: https://protectourculture.org/#