Let’s brand together and make a BRANDED COMMUNITY!

Another one:

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.

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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

2 Responses to “Let’s brand together and make a BRANDED COMMUNITY!”

  1. MarcW
    August 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm #

    But the trademark is for advertising services. If our BRANDED COMMUNITY is in and of itself a BRANDED COMMUNITY and we therefore simply refer to it as a BRANDED COMMUNITY, there is no LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION because we are not providing a service. What with BRANDED COMMUNITIES being a relatively new phenomenon and, I’d be willing to bet, his own BRANDED COMMUNITY having acquired little or no broader reputation to tarnish or dilute, our descriptive use of the term to refer to an actual BRANDED COMMUNITY is pretty reasonable, I should think. But then while I do belong to the BRANDED COMMUNITY of IP attorneys I must admit I do not belong to the BRANDED COMMUNITY of trademark litigators, so perhaps I’m way off here.

    M

  2. August 5, 2008 at 11:14 pm #

    Hey, what’d you say about LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®?