Wednesday, September 22, 2021

To the government worker being made aware of problems in the system

Utah Department of Commerce

Division of Corporations and Commercial Code

160 East 300 South, 2nd Floor

PO Box 146705

Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6705

Subject: Making changes to State Trademarks

I initially reached out to the Division of Corporations asking for assistance in changing the titles and/or descriptions of two trademarks that I registered with the state of Utah because the online trademark manager at does not allow a registrant to make such changes.

In response to my query, I was provided a link to a form at but it does not appear to include any fields to make changes to the title or description of a trademark. I was subsequently referred to the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the state’s Trademark page at

The answers to two (2) of the “Frequently Asked Questions” appear to be the source of some confusion.*

The answer to the question “How to make changes to or update a Trademark?” Consists of three sentences. The first sentence—as currently written—states:

“You can make changes to or update a Trademark by updating the business entity that owns the Trademark.”

A period (.) at the end of a sentence is also referred to as “a full stop” because that’s the point where one is supposed to stop reading. So that’s what I did before attempting to “make changes to or update [the] Trademarks” by logging into the Business Renewal page at using my access ID for my business. Unfortunately, I did not see anything related to trademarks or how to make changes to them.

Of course, the answer to that first question contained two additional—and much more specific—sentences that explained why I was not able to do what I wanted:

“You can make changes to the principals of the Trademark by completing a Registration Information Change form. If you wish to change the owner(s) you will need to file an Assignment of Utah Trademark.” (emphasis added).

The first sentence—in isolation—can be inferred to mean that one can make any number of changes to a trademark. The second and third sentences serve to contradict such an inference—which can be avoided entirely by simply deleting that first superfluous sentence.

The answer to the next question, “How to amend/merge/convert a Trademark?”—as currently written—states:

“You can not amend/merge/convert a Trademark”(sic)† (emphasis added)

Thus reinforcing the idea that any amendments (i.e. “changes” to anything other than the “principals” or “owners”) are not permitted.

Grammatically speaking, the verbs “to change” and “to amend” are synonyms. One may surmise—within the context of what’s permissible under Utah statutes—that in regard to state-registered trademarks that is not the case.

In the interest of avoiding future confusion on the part of Trademark registrants, I would like to suggest that the question related to making “…changes to or updat[ing] a Trademark?” be modified to more clearly indicate that changes can only be made to identify the registered principals and/or owners.

Additional editorial suggestions are addressed above and in the footnotes.



Joseph L. Puente

Business Owner

* It should be noted that all of the “Frequently Asked Questions” are worded as statements. Punctuating a statement with a question mark does not transform said statement into a question. Instead, it suggests that the individual making the statement is very confused as to whether or not they actually understand or believe what they’re stating. For example: “I live in Salt Lake City” is a definitive statement. Whereas "I live in Salt Lake City?” suggests that I’m not entirely sure if I live in Salt Lake City or not—perhaps I was told that I live there but was not provided with any supporting evidence, causing me to maintain some measure of uncertainty.

† “can not” is technically acceptable but “cannot” is much more common.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

To the corporate employee that couldn't sell the product for free.


I’ve been mulling over my experience and also taking time to try and see things from your perspective. I very much appreciate you reaching out to me after our last meeting. I also know that whenever I’ve reached out to someone with a sincere query—especially where professional matters are concerned—I’m keenly aware of the anxiety that can go along with not receiving an immediate reply. To quote a meme that I saw floating around social media once, “No response is a response. And it’s a powerful one.”

That being said, you do know that this whole episode is not your fault, right?

The shortcomings that you reference are not yours or even those of your immediate team members. When reference was made to an individual who was no longer with the company, I felt sad for that person because it’s not their fault either. I wondered if they “left” or were “let go,” and if it was because of me or something I had said. Did they have another job lined up? Were they able to pay their rent? This is a terrible time to not have any sort of income.

I’m not privy to the specifics of how [corporation]'s Utah operations are organized and managed but the problem—from my perspective, anyway—is “up the chain.”

I have worked in both sales—better known as “customer service” in recent decades—and technical support positions in the past. They’re largely thankless jobs that do not have a great deal of overlap—even when they operate under the same corporate banner.

The trend to rebrand “salespersons” with corporate euphemisms like “Customer Service Representative,” “Associate,” “Product Advisor,” “Specialist,” “Operations Expert,” etc., is obviously intended to inspire confidence on the part of the customer. To create the impression that they’re making the best possible choice in their purchasing decisions. Anyone would prefer to say that they “consulted with a ‘Specialist’" or an “Expert,’” instead of admitting that they were persuaded to buy something by just another “salesperson.” Companies want their customer[s] to feel as though they’re being “served” and not just “sold” something. I think this has also had some unintended consequences in regard to how employees are judged—by their managers, their colleagues, and even in moments of trying to evaluate their own worth, professionally and personally.

Of course, since the CSR is usually the first person that customers have any interaction with—and is often also the first person that they turn to for help after a sale has been completed—the reputation of any company often rests at the feet of their “customer service” staff. That is not fair. Even the most knowledgeable salesperson has to work under strict limitations—e.g. referrals to other departments*—put into place by corporate policy wonks, taking cues from in-house legal counsel, that inevitably tie their hands when it comes to doing their job most effectively. Thus, the line between “service” and “support” is drawn.

If it’s any consolation, [corporation] doesn’t even show up in the immediate search results for customer service rankings of major companies, which typically place the worst contenders at the tops of their lists.

The marketing aspect of offering products or services to nonprofit organizations at little or no cost isn’t lost on me and I am happy to participate in and promote such efforts. It wouldn’t just be free advertising for those companies, it also serves the interests of my organization to show the community at large that we have the support of other businesses—the more brand-recognition they have, the better—and if that inspires other companies to provide us with additional products and/or services gratis, so be it. However, if the services that are being offered are mission-critical in nature, actual technical support would need to be more involved and readily available at the time of implementation. With so many alternatives available today, [corporation] no longer has the luxury of assuming that their products are already the default solutions for any company, for-profit or otherwise.

As for why this attempted association went off the rails, I asked my wife, Danica, “Is it karma?” Is this the price that I’m paying for all the times in the mid-90s that I used Regedit to hack into Windows 95 computers on display at Sears, modifying their default interfaces to even-more-closely resemble Apple’s OS, and renaming “My Computer” to “My ’87 Macintosh”? I didn’t boo Bill Gates when he showed up at Macworld ’97 looking like Big Brother behind Steve Jobs, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t possess some degree of resentment for all the crap I put up with for remaining a dedicated Mac user—as much as a matter of principle as out of genuine fear of having to learn how to use an objectively inferior operating system.

Danica told me that she doubted karma had anything to do with it.

My mind actually remains somewhat open to the idea of a future collaboration between Utah Filmmakers™ and [corporation]—though direct contributions are always welcome—but I am not likely to be the person that would interface† between our organizations. I handle the bulk of our operations on my own and would need to enlist the services of someone more familiar with [corporation]’s tools in order to implement them in a manner that’s beneficial to our immediate efforts and long-term goals.



* “Business Concierge” sounds a lot more impressive and accommodating than “Technical Support,” by the way. Kudos to the person in brand management that came up with that one.

†Is that dated business jargon? It feels dated… but it still seems to kind of work.

Joseph L. Puente
Utah Filmmakers™ Association