The first place that Lawrence Bender saw was the Bronx in New York City. Being born in such a rich cultural environment must have given him an extra dose of creativity, judging from his future endeavors. As he grew up in New Jersey, his parents, both of them educators, instilled in him a good work ethic and the desire to reach for excellence.

Lawrence’s grandfather was a civil engineer and he knew that he could have a lucrative career following in his granddad’s footsteps. He made the decision to do just that in high school and went on to graduate from the University of Maine with a degree in civil engineering in 1979. The direction of his life soon took a turn toward the entertainment industry, first as a ballet dancer then, after an injury, as an actor.

As time went by, Lawrence Bender became interested in being a producer of television fare as well as feature films. Several of the movies that he produced have been nominated for Academy Awards. Good Will Hunting, Inglourious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction are included in that group. An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary featuring former vice president Al Gore raising awareness about climate change, won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature. My favorite movie produced by Lawrence Bender is Good Will Hunting. I am amazed by the way the therapist, played by Robin Williams, is able to help Matt Damon’s character, the young genius, work through his issues while dealing with the immeasurable pain of his own.

Lawrence Bender is active in political and social matters, fighting for causes that he believes in. One of the ways he helps is by fundraising. Because of his dedication, he has received the Torch of Liberty Award from the ACLU. He is on the board of The Creative Coalition as well as the Advisory Board for the ACLU Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

When an innovator or creative person comes up with something new, the first thing they want to do is patent it so they have exclusive rights to it for a certain time. Trademarks are related to patents. Brad Reifler suggests that whereas patents keep others from making commercial use of your inventions, trademarks protect the names of products, services, logos and other things that are used to identify the source of the good or service so that you know what it reminds you of when you see it. One popular use of trademarks is for a business to use it to protect their company logo, so when people see it they associate it with that brand.

It turns out that sounds can be trademarked as well. There are some interesting ones out there that you may not be aware have such protection. The doink-doink, however one chooses to spell it, that comes at the beginning of every “Law & Order” episode enjoys trademark protection. Homer Simpson’s exclamation of “D’oh!” and Tarzan’s yell are similarly protected. Businesses that utilize unique sounds use this type of trademark protection in addition to protecting their logos. The Pillsbury Doughboy’s giggle and the Green Giant’s “Ho, ho, ho” are examples of this. If you start a small business or any creative venture and have a unique sound that you use to identify yourself, run to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before someone else steals your idea.