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Protecting your Name

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walter biscardi
Protecting your Name
on Dec 9, 2007 at 3:18:55 pm

Hi all,

Just thought I would let you know I have a blog discussion started on protecting your business name. A very interesting situation was brought to my attention in the Apple Color forum about an L.A. production company that has re-branded their company using the words Creative and Cow in the name.

That got me thinking and when I start thinking, I head to my blog.

Feel free to dive in and join the fray, it's a great topic for all who enjoy a good debate.

http://blogs.creativecow.net/node/329

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 10, 2007 at 7:09:29 am

The name "creative", especially in LA and NYC is a very common one for production or editing or effects companies to use as part of their business name, because they are in fact a creative service.

The blue cow people will argue that our beloved COW is an acronym in caps for Community Of The World and only a "cow" in abstract. It helps our case that Ron has the face of a cow in his logos, establishing prior art, but the difference is probably enough to stand up in court. A lawyer could be more accurate about it but just from my casual reading of the topic of infringement, they are different enough to skate here.

I say let 'em.

I think the better part of valor here is to politely but firmly insist on some disclaimer language discreetly placed in the web site and maybe on any brochures "Blue Cow Creative is not affiliated with CreativeCOW.net", and leave it at that. Take the high road. They might change the name themselves if they get enough confusion from clients and have to keep explaining that no, they ain't us.

Secondly, if this is a small company, odds are this problem will solve itself in a year or three: small companies in our biz form, grow, merge, or die off with mayfly-like life spans.
LA is a town where people steal ideas for a living. They will change just enough of your original idea so a judge will consider it unique and there is little you can do about any of it. Don;t waste lawyer fees on this past the suggested disclaimer in the interests of eliminating any confusion.

And believe it or not, great as this community is, there are plenty of people doing video who still have not heard of it. These mopes may be one of them. Best to go in with a calm face and a smile and assume ignorance first, than to go in guns blazing right off the bat anyway, since this is a legal issue.






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beenyweenies
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 10, 2007 at 5:02:13 pm

Personally, if I had never read this thread and randomly came across the name "Blue Cow Creative" I would never in a million years have made the connection to Creative Cow. And I certainly wouldn't have thought "wow, they must have stolen this name!" I really don't see what the controversy is, but that's just me.

I also don't think a lawsuit would result in anything but a LOT of wasted money for both sides. One legal test of infringement is whether a reasonable person would be confused and think the infringing company was the same entity as the plaintiff. Well, I'm reasonable enough and I didn't see the connection. Besides, one is a media production company and the other is an industry website/magazine - how could any reasonable consumer get confused when they aren't even in the same business?


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 10, 2007 at 5:26:40 pm

[beenyweenies] "Personally, if I had never read this thread and randomly came across the name "Blue Cow Creative" I would never in a million years have made the connection to Creative Cow."

I would have never made the connection either. It's pretty innocuous and they are pretty common words.

Duplication of words and terms in the English language is something that happens pretty frequently, there's not much that can be done about it. My personal example, my name is Todd Terry, and there is also a well-known music producer named Todd Terry. To take one step further, my company is Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc., and one of the music groups that the other Todd has produced in the past happens to be called The Fantastic Plastic Machine. Pure eerie coincidence, but it makes for some interesting Googling and mixed-up emailing.

There's also a British record label called Fantastic Plastic (we get each other's email), and there used to be a vintage record store in Seattle called Fantastic Plastic (they actually had the domain http://www.fantasticplastic.com before we bought it off of them about 8 years ago). Through the last few years I've also seen a couple of banks and one department store run credit card promotions that they called "Fantastic Plastic."

I wouldn't sweat it. On the upside, Blue Cow Creative does have a very beautiful website, and looks like they do good work. If any confusion does happen, I always prefer to be confused with someone good than with some hack. :)


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 2:06:01 am

Zen Koan for the day:

If a creative services business uses the word "creative" in their name, does that mean they aren't really that creative?

;-)



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Mark Nancetor
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 2:52:16 am

I tend to agree with Walter on this one. I work with a company that works with Plastercity Digital, the company changing its name to Blue Cow Creative.

When I first saw the new name and the website redesign, I immediately thought of the confusion between the companies.

The COW has always sold itself on the basis of the COW metaphor and has invested a lot of time and effort into it.

In closing, I would agree with Timothy Allen that a company that calls itself creative usually isn't. A company that would use creative and cow in their new name, when there is already a well known company by that name, would have to be a copy at best.

Mark Nance


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Bruce Bennett
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 5:16:17 am

I am personally offended by this. I think the name


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 5:52:07 am

[Bruce Bennett] "Why can


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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 7:43:31 pm

Bruce, Coliefornians can't smell your dairy-air from there. Michigan is down wind...


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Rennie
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 8:34:40 pm

This reminds me of a similar controversy we had here in Canada on the Queen Charlotte Islands. It seems some of the local natives opened a coffee shop and called it HaidaBucks. Queen Charlotte Islands has been inhabited by the Haida's since the beginning of time and since all the partners were Bucks (guys) they derived the name HaidaBucks. They had years previously used the name for a basket ball team. All was well until Star Bucks got wind of it and a big legal battle ensued. It looks like in the mists of a huge public outcrying StarBucks has backed down. Starbucks suffered boycotts and a ton of bad PR while HaidaBucks gained a ton of advertising.

See more

http://www.lanebaldwin.com/hbc/news.htm


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Nick Griffin
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 10:20:13 pm

Look guys, I can't see any reason to disagree with anything Walter said here and, in more detail, in his blog post. The name CreativeCOW has enormous value and having some other entity attempt to clamp onto it is repugnant.

With the noted exception of Todd Terry, which of you would not be ready to fight if someone, even tangentally related, came into your space using a similar name to one you had spent years building?

I also agree with Tim A. If someone has to tell you they're creative they're probably not. This is the same reason we all need to steer clear of people who tell you how honest they are. If they are then why do they even bring it up?

My hope is that Ron, Kathlyn and the rest of COW management fight this and that Plastercity Digital be sufficiently embarrassed to pick something else.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 11:09:44 pm

[Nick Griffin] "I also agree with Tim A. If someone has to tell you they're creative they're probably not. This is the same reason we all need to steer clear of people who tell you how honest they are."

By George, I think you guys have stumbled on something that will definitely sell big in Hollywood. From this point forward, my new approach to sales is going to be, "we are the most dishonest and most uncreative people in the business, hire us."

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 11, 2007 at 11:23:37 pm

[Nick Griffin] "With the noted exception of Todd Terry, which of you would not be ready to fight if someone, even tangentally related, came into your space using a similar name to one you had spent years building?"

No no, my comments have been misconstrued.

If someone moved in next door to me (or even in my city, or region) used my company name and was in the same business as me... then yes I would be upset and take appropriate action.

We are actually fairly vigilant about protecting intellectual property, and one of the attorneys that we keep on retainer is indeed a trademark/copyright/patent specialist.

I was just saying that like Brendan (beenyweenies), I didn't see an obvious confusion with the Blue Cow name nor would I have made an immediate mental connection/confusion with Creative COW. Frankly, it would have never crossed my mind. Others here obviously think differently, with reactions ranging from offense to repugnantion (is that a word?).

If Kathlyn and Ron feel that their company name has been compromised (and I notice neither of them have complained about it on this thread), then by all means then they should seek relief. I'm just saying that in this particular instance if it were me in their shoes, I don't think that the name Blue Cow would particularly ruffle my feathers...er...fur...or hide...or whatever it is that cows have.

But hey, that's just me.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 12, 2007 at 12:21:10 am

[Todd at Fantastic Plastic] "If Kathlyn and Ron feel that their company name has been compromised (and I notice neither of them have complained about it on this thread), then by all means then they should seek relief."


Let's just say that our attorneys are and will continue to do our talking for us.

As Abraham Lincoln said long ago: "Just because you have silenced a man, does not mean that you have compromised him."

Silent -- but you can guess the rest,

Ron Lindeboom


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walter biscardi
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 12, 2007 at 1:26:43 am

[Todd at Fantastic Plastic] "If Kathlyn and Ron feel that their company name has been compromised (and I notice neither of them have complained about it on this thread), then by all means then they should seek relief."

If the Creative COW is using legal avenues, you would not see Ron or Kathlyn make any comment about it in any Cow forum.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!


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Mark Nancetor
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 12, 2007 at 2:08:58 am

[walter biscardi] "If the Creative COW is using legal avenues, you would not see Ron or Kathlyn make any comment about it in any Cow forum."

Yes, this is exactly what I've been thinking. Their silence does not mean that they aren't doing something about this matter.

I am glad to read Ron's reply, even if it isn't saying anything more than that the COW has hired lawyers to pursue this matter. I would have, especially as it's pretty clear that Plastercity Digital has used the COW over the years. Just search on the word Plastercity.

Mark



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George Socka
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 12, 2007 at 2:52:39 am

You all have got to be kidding. There is NO confusion at ALL. This website is an online publication about making movies ( and other stuff) . They make movies and other stuff. Their website is about THEM making movies.

Extend the thinking. Creative cow talks about sound stuff. The creative SoundBlaster company make sound stuff. Who registered and used the name first? Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Its a web thing? Tucows had the word cow in a web thing 10 years ago. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

That cow image? a search on Google images for "cow clipart returns 662 entries - most have brown and green and blue in them.

milkcowcreative.com has a picture of a cow, domain name registered in 2004 same as creative cow.

holycowcreative.com registered in 2001, no cow though.

Leave the lawyers at the bottom of the sea. Please



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Mark Nancetor
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 12, 2007 at 3:04:50 am

Obviously you are not really in business, are you, George?

In business, your name is one of your most important assets. You can argue that it is you and not your name the customers are buying but when customers get confused by names that encroach on your own, then you have to protect your own name.

As any good lawyer will tell you your trademark is only as valuable as your willingness to protect it.

Sorry to disagree with you but only someone with no investment in their business would buy your advice, George. And then they better be ready to change their name every time that they build some value into it.

Mark


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 12, 2007 at 4:08:27 am


Hello Mark,

George would likely disagree with you and that is quite okay. I would agree with you on points and disagree on others.

I, for one, believe that the greatest name you can give your company is your own name and I have recommended many to do that over the years. I have had friends argue that "Post Production International" is a great name. I have told them many times that the only thing in their business that won't change, is their own name. "You'll likely be there until the doors close in most cases, so use your own name," I like to recommend to them.

But that said, there is no way we could have named this site after either Kathlyn or me -- or even Cowdog. (Though he'd argue that he'd make a great corporate moniker, doggone it!)

In the end, I would say that in most all cases, especially in ones such as we find ourselves in now working with lawyers to do all that we are legally responsible and compelled to do under the circumstances, we would always recommend that if at all possible, use your own name.

Your own name is the easiest to protect.

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
Join the COW's LinkedIn Group

Now in the COW Magazine: Commercials. A look at the history, strategy, techniques and production workflows of successful commercials. All brought to you by some of the COW's brightest members. Accept no substitutes!

Do you have your complimentary subscription to Creative COW Magazine yet?



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Don Greening
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 12, 2007 at 10:05:42 am

[Rennie] "Starbucks suffered boycotts and a ton of bad PR while HaidaBucks gained a ton of advertising."

Well, it's got my attention now, too. The next time we're in Masset I'm stopping in for a coffee. Even if we have to drive from the southern end of Moresby Island to do it.

- Don



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cow
Andrew Kimery
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 21, 2007 at 5:50:47 am

Add me to the list of people that never remotely drew a connection between the COW and Blue Cow Creative. If the Creative COW was a post house or BCC was an industry internet forum or portal I might have, but they are two separate beasts (no pun intended).


-A


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 21, 2007 at 3:58:13 pm

Err, umm, excuse me...

I *do* production work and never stopped doing it, even when the COW started getting to be huge. My consulting practice is Ron Lindeboom & Associates, but as you might expect, we do all our production work under the name of Creative COW. (It's why we hired a lawyer.)

Just to clarify a point.

Best regards,


Ron Lindeboom
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronlindeboom
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine
Join the COW's LinkedIn Group

Now in the COW Magazine: Commercials. A look at the history, strategy, techniques and production workflows of successful commercials. All brought to you by some of the COW's brightest members. Accept no substitutes!

Would you like to be in Creative COW Magazine with your story or contributi...

Do you have your complimentary subscription to Creative COW Magazine yet?



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Protecting your Name
on Dec 21, 2007 at 4:38:02 pm

My mistake Ron. I didn't know there was a production side of the COW.


-Andrew
P.S.


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