Trademarks registered, now hear the origin stories

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Charitocracy's registered trademarks

Our trademarks actually registered last summer. The days were warm, the sun was shining, and I had better things to do than write blog posts about... paperwork. Today, it's cold and the sun is shining on and off. Writing about Charitocracy's trademark registrations might turn out to be this winter day's highlight. 🎉

Check out the fancy new Circle Rs below!

Origins of the name

Charitocracy(R)

When coming up with the concept for this nonprofit in early 2011, I purchased a couple domain names just in case: azillion.org and onlyadollar.org. One of these would have worked fine, but I couldn't get super excited about them. They were missing that certain something. And my brainstorming wasn't coming up with anything better, at least not anything with an available domain name!

Over dinner with my friend and Apple coworker, Jeremy Sandmel, at some point between 2011 and 2015, I described the meta-charity I wanted to create some day. A mix of charity and democracy, where donors would mod charities up and down to decide which get crowdfunded.

"What's it called?"

"I don't have a name for it yet... Just a few lame possibilities."

"How about Charitocracy?"

In the moment I thanked him for the suggestion and laughed it off as a mouthful. But on the drive back from dinner, it clicked with me. Rhyming with meritocracy was almost certainly Jeremy's intention, but I was slow to get it. Better late than never! And most importantly, the .com and .org domains were available. ✅

Years later when reminding Jeremy of his important naming contribution to Charitocracy, he didn't even remember it came from him. Or perhaps he regretted sticking me with a five syllable name that's difficult to say and spell? Regardless, I'll never forget! It might take a while, but hopefully it grows on you... I think I'm finally getting used to it.

Origins of the logo

Charitocracy logo (R)

Unlike the name, I fell in love with our logo the moment I saw it.

I commissioned a logo on Crowdspring, asking for some sort of mix of charity, voting, and the power of the people. I also noted how I'm partial to bold lines a la Keith Haring. Over two dozen artists generated over one hundred entries, fine-tuned with my continual feedback. One of them by Connie Zegers of the Netherlands was clearly it. Thank you, Connie!! ❤️

It cost me less than $300. You can read some of the details of my Crowdspring journey if you're curious.

Registering the trademarks

I'm a DIY kind of guy, especially when it means saving Charitocracy from unnecessary expenses. So when I discovered the series of videos on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website walking viewers through the process of registering trademarks, I binged them all. They are outrageously goofy, and it gave me some confidence that the bar might not be too high when it comes to completing this paperwork.

That's not to say that hiring an attorney is a bad idea for most people. If you want to be sure it's done right, and you have the budget for it, don't let me talk you out of it. But if you have a reasonably high attention to detail, no fear of handling digital art files, and the patience to hunt down all possible conflicting names and logos in the database of already registered trademarks, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The entire process took a couple days of learning and doing, and then over 6 months of waiting. Piece of cake!

You can see our trademark (service mark, actually, if you want to be a nerd about it) registration certificates, applications, etc. at these links for our word mark and design mark, respectively.

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and belated celebration of our successful registrations. My baby Charitocracy® is all growed up. 😍

not a baby

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