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Getting Legal Ducks in a Row

When creating a new product, it’s important to jump through all the appropriate legal hoops and make sure you’re not going to get in trouble. Among the challenges we’ve had to navigate:

Forming an LLC

Deep Freeze is already a company, but we wanted BlueTipz to be a separate entity to make investing by its members easier. Not everyone involved in BlueTipz is involved with Deep Freeze, and keeping them separate made sense. So we had to file the LLC, get a new FEIN from the IRS, and create and sign and file an operating agreement.

Insurance

We needed product liability insurance in case the laws of physics changed and our product somehow became dangerous to someone. Fortunately, laws-of-physics coverage is pretty cheap because it probably doesn’t happen too often.

FCC

Because we have a wireless transmitter on BlueTipz, it’s necessary to make sure you’re not violating any FCC regulations. We could get in big trouble and be required to recall everything if we weren’t ok here. This would have been accompanied by enormous fines as well. Fortunately we are using a module that already has FCC approval, so we are set.

Bluetooth SIG

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is a governing body that regulates all things Bluetooth. If you want to use a Bluetooth logo, you have to be a member of the SIG and file your product with them. If we were designing a product from scratch, we’d have to qualify it with them as well, which would have cost a lot of money. Fortunately, we use a pre-approved module, so with the SIG we only needed to file an End Product Listing, which says we’ve got this product and it does this stuff and it uses this module which you already approved.

Patent

We’ve filed for a provisional patent with the assistance of a legal team. This gives us protection for the next year and if we determine that sales and the opportunity are good enough, we’ll be filing a formal patent.

Trademark

Technically, one doesn’t need to file a trademark to be able to use the TM and have trademark protections. That protection is really only limited to a state, though, and is not rock solid. We opted to go after a registered trademark for BlueTipz to make sure we would have a valuable asset and give us the freedom to operate our branding.