A blogger on ZDNet had a post about “enterprise communities” where the phrase “branded community” was used. That’s a descriptive use and a perfectly reasonable one. Yet, the owner of some marketing firm wrote a semi-threatening letter claiming to hold the trademark on “branded community” and demanding that the blogger “refrain from using the phrase in any other current or future materials.”
You read that right: Not only is this — arguably — descriptive phrase a registered trademark, but the registrant purports to have the right over any “use of the phrase”! Here’s what the letter said:
The term Branded Community® is a Federally registered trademark of ours. Your company should not be using the term at all without our express written consent. The article in this link is an example of your unauthorized use of the term:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/feeds/?p=155 Building or creating a “branded” community by either using open source technology like Drupal OR it can employ the services of a white label community provider like Awareness, Jive Software or Mzinga (the company I work for). This approach provides companies with benefits like: […]
Please refrain from using the phrase in any other current or future materials.
Hope one of those letters doesn’t come to us or any member of any BRANDED COMMUNITY of which we may be a member. Because that would be bad for our BRANDED COMMUNITY. Such BRANDED COMMUNITY as we might have.