The Incubator Project: Phase One

Amalia Martino, designer Theresa Olson, and Priya Sinha Cloutier (Photo by Janette Turner)

By Janette Turner

Say you create an original design. Now how do you turn that into a business?

You protect your intellectual property and market it, according to patent attorney Priya Sinha Cloutier and publicist Amalia Martino, both of Edmonds. And because protecting and promoting your product are often more challenging than the initial creation, My Edmonds News is going to follow the process as two lucky designers go through Cloutier and Martino’s “The Incubator Project.”

The first step for Cloutier and Martino was selecting two designers for them to guide. Former Scriber Lake High School student Joshua Yohn was chosen for his Upper Left Apparel™ clothing line, and Theresa Olson’s MotoVista™ scooter wear also made the cut to receive pro bono help.

Over the next six months, we’ll follow Yohn and Olson as they trademark their designs and market their wares. Here’s a look at each designer in the starting blocks.

Theresa Olson: MotoVista™ scooter wear

Prototype of MotoVista™ (Photo by Theresa Olson)

According to Theresa Olson, her MotoVista™ “line is specifically designed for riders who want to look good, stay dry, be safe and…get off their scooter and get to whatever else they have planned.” Upon arriving at work, for example, a rider could roll down the protective leggings, instead of completely undressing.

After selecting Olson, Karr|Tuttle|Campbell attorney Cloutier noted the MotoVista™ scooter leg warmer was “inventive,” but perhaps not patentable. Later, a search by Cloutier turned up a similar design patented some time ago, but, according to Olson, “the patent has expired so I am not in danger.”

A takeaway from this for Olsen and all entrepreneurs, according to Cloutier, “is that you should determine whether your inventive product is patented. Finding out that you are infringing after investing time and money in a product will only cause heartache – and damages and lawyer’s fees. “

The next step was submitting a Statement of Use for Olson’s trademarks and waiting for them to issue, which is expected to take several months. In the meantime, Olson will be working with Amalia Martino of BlueShoesMedia™ on branding and marketing, and because Olson has a business plan, she is ready to roll.

Joshua Yohn: UpperLeftApparel™

Joshua Yohn in one of his sweatshirts (Photo by Janette Turner)

Like Olson, Yohn is pursuing a market of folks off the beaten trail.

“We’re not just a clothing company,” said Yohn, when asked about his shirt designs. “We’re a movement that exposes the art and beauty of the upper left.” Folks can decide whether that applies to the upper left part of Washington State, or to a mindset that is not the far right.

Yohn’s years at Scriber Lake High School served as inspiration for his company. “I give (Scriber) so much credit with where I am in my life,” Yohn said. He went on to say that the teachers “don’t treat you like a number,” and gave special thanks to educator Marjie Bowker for her support. In the spirit of giving back, Yohn recently returned to Scriber to hold a design competition for his company’s hoodies.

According to attorney Cloutier, Yohn has filed two trademark applications: one for his company name and one for his design. His strength, she says, is “he has a vision and is willing to do the leg work to build his business.” But “like many new businesses, Josh has not made a business plan outlining, among other things, steps to assure that he owns his intellectual property and whether he is infringing on others.”

Cloutier is advising him to “sit down with paper and pencil and write a business plan… (and) put together a checklist of what he needs to do to assure his (intellectual property) belongs to him.”As Yohn waits for his trademark protection, he will be meeting with Martino to work on branding and marketing.

My Edmonds News will check in with both Yohn and Olson to follow their progress through the end of the year as they take part in The Incubator Project.

  1. This is exactly the kind of “neighbors helping neighbors” needed in todays cutthroat world. Having all of the rules on the table and explained by an expert doesn’t stifle innovation, it helps to remove the irrational fears that hinder turning that inspiration into innovation. Great work!

  2. This project started out my frustration that artists and designers with great ideas would come to me after someone had stolen their brand or idea and there would be little or nothing I could do. I hope that all innovators are able to take away some insight from this series of articles.

  3. Oh Goody!

    I am SUCH a devotee of All-things-Priya that this will be a delightful, and enlightening feature to follow.

    And I’ll meet, as The Incubator Project is covered by Janette Turner, inspirational Edmonds women!


  4. Dreams do come true, as writer John Updike once remarked. “Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” How terrific to be able to follow such enterprising and energetic entrepreneurs! Going along for the ride via technology is almost as good as being there! Good job, Janette.

  5. Priya, I have been looking for a Patent Attorney. Could you email me at “”? I would appreciate it.

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