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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I created a program 3 years ago to work with parents and gave it a name... I was speaking at a conference and found that there was a person attending who has a marketed program that is similar to mine and addresses the same type of issues but in a different context.

The other program is a "for profit" program and mine is a "non profit" program that is based on principals that are common in parenting. Mine is also a program targeted to the lower socio-economic classes and the other persons is targeted to middle class and upper class.

Heres the delima...The person has called and requested that I drop my name and choose another one, get rid of all of the outreach material and handouts that have been printed with this name on it and start from scratch.

I am thinking if I am not gaining any profit by the name of this program and not marketing it to make any money then I should be in the clear...Any feedback?

Attorney feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 

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bzrk180 said:
I created a program 3 years ago to work with parents and gave it a name... I was speaking at a conference and found that there was a person attending who has a marketed program that is similar to mine and addresses the same type of issues but in a different context.

The other program is a "for profit" program and mine is a "non profit" program that is based on principals that are common in parenting. Mine is also a program targeted to the lower socio-economic classes and the other persons is targeted to middle class and upper class.

Heres the delima...The person has called and requested that I drop my name and choose another one, get rid of all of the outreach material and handouts that have been printed with this name on it and start from scratch.

I am thinking if I am not gaining any profit by the name of this program and not marketing it to make any money then I should be in the clear...Any feedback?

Attorney feedback would be greatly appreciated.
If he has copyright, then he can make that request. Actually, he can make it an order via an attorney and threat of legal action. The fact that he wrote you a "friendly" letter instead is a nice change of pace.

Intellectual property is a big thing these days. Whenever you start an endeavor for public dissemination (even if it is not for profit), do a copyright search on the title to make sure you're in the clear.

Cg
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
calixtog said:
If he has copyright, then he can make that request. Actually, he can make it an order via an attorney and threat of legal action. The fact that he wrote you a "friendly" letter instead is a nice change of pace.

Intellectual property is a big thing these days. Whenever you start an endeavor for public dissemination (even if it is not for profit), do a copyright search on the title to make sure you're in the clear.

Cg
Does the name have to be exact??

for example... (and the titles are not the exact titles..."parents Go" is made up but am using this so you understand the difference)

My program is named "Parents Go" and is a direct parenting program....The other persons name is "Parents Go Education" which is a business that incorporates numerous programs... ie...child development, communcatuions with children, parenting programs, etc....

Now, does the person have a true complant here?

I could see it if we were both doinng the same thing under the same name butthis isnt the case..
 

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I think you are o.k. given the naming conventions, but there may be other issues...given the fact you are non profit helps and hopefully you have documentation yours has been around for 3 years.
 

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for $75-100 you can sit down with an attorney to see where you stand. i advise you to do so. nobody likes lawyers, but when you need legal advice, lawyers can be worth their weight in gold.
 

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Also depends on if your company is incorporated etc... dba registered name etc... or if his is?

Ask Bass Assasin why they no longer have the slurp baits. Had something to do with slurpee and 7-11 I heard and they are as different as black & white.

It is possible you may have to change / redo everything.
 

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br1006 said:
Also depends on if your company is incorporated etc... dba registered name etc... or if his is?

Ask Bass Assasin why they no longer have the slurp baits. Had something to do with slurpee and 7-11 I heard and they are as different as black & white.

It is possible you may have to change / redo everything.
Exactly right.

A popular law school case study involves the World Wildlife Fund and the World Wrestling Federation (now Entertainment). World Wildlife Fund sued WWE because of the same initials (WWF). WWE had been around longer, but had been known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation. When Vince K. McMahon, Jr. took over in 1982, he changed the name to WWF for simplicity. The World Wildlife Fund, however, had been WWF since the 1970's, so they sued. The original settlement stated that WWE could control the initials in North and Sout America and Japan, and the World Wildlife Fund would own copyright in the rest of the world.

When Vinny Mac began his world-wide expansion in earnest in 1999, the Fund sued for copyright infringement and won. WWE is still appealing the ruling.

No, nobody is ever going to confuse the Undertaker with a panda, but the Fund defended their intellectual property.

There is enough similarity in your name and the other person's program to cause some confusion in the marketplace.

Cg
 

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This is a trademark issue, not a copyright issue. So it doesn't have to be exactly the same to cause problems. If the name is close enough to confuse any potential customer, you may be infringing his trademark.

And it probably doesn't matter if you are making a profit, since the damages will most likely be calculated on the amount of money he lost, not that you gained.

There are a thousand variables, but that's one lawyer's opinion (mine) of the basic outline. Is it worth sitting down with a lawyer to hash out whether it's worth fighting over? Ask how much it will cost to change the name, and redo your marketing/brand identity. It's probably easier and cheaper to change than to fight.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I met with my boss today and explained all the details. As of now, my company is going to back me up in this and I wont have to change anything.

We came to an agreement though...If this other company comes forward with lawyers, we will go ahead and back down.

After going to their web page that explains what their company does (remember, the company has the "similar" name, mine is just a program within my company...which, by the way is not similar at all!!) there is no comparrison...

When entering the name in Google, there are over 1 million hits with the same name...I guess the person will go after those next!

Like I said, we are a non profit and the legal battle wont be worth it. Sadly, I think the whole reason for this issue is because she feels threatened because my organization is getting alot of people directed to my program. You would think she would use it as free marketing! LOL!!
 
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