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March 9, 2007

Someone’s using my brands - time to look into Trademarks

I just tried to sign up with Google Talk in order to chat with Aaron Wall via IM.

A username is required, so my first attempt was for iBrian. Sorry, not available.

Okay, no big deal. It was popular enough to see the .com registered.

So I tried platinax. Sorry, not available. Huh? Platinax is my own unique company name. How can it not be available?

Okay, annoying, but as Platinax isn’t registered as a Trademark, I guess for the time being I have to accept that someone’s using that name.

So I tried britecorp as my username. My SEO/Marketing company. Sorry, not available.

Now this is plain serious. Britecorp is my main business identity.

Platinax and Britecorp may not be registered as trademarks, but they are brands. And if people have been signing up to free services using my brand names, there is serious potential for confusion at best, and at worse - fraudulent representation which could seriously damage my brands, my reputation, my companies, and my business.

As I don’t at all want to see these damaged, it’s time to look seriously into registering global trademarks.

Luckily I recently visited this issue for a friend - Imran runs a company called 247 spares and recently got a letter from BMW claiming that it was a trademark infringement to use the BMW logo on the page for BMW spares.

I’ve been contacted by Nominet’s solicitors before, asking to remove their logo from a news story from Platinax - which wasn’t a problem, as it was simply a news story.

But for Imran, using car manufacturer logos on his site is pretty fundamental to operations.

So I ran a search and came up with a company called Lawdit, which specialises in Trademark issues - and put Imran in touch with a Jody Tsigarides to handle the matter.

While not yet resolved, I’m going to be sending an email to Jody tonight and get him on board for exploring my options for registering Platinax and Britecorp as trademarks.

Maybe then, next time I find people using my brand names and identities on free services, at least I can maybe able to claim them back.



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2 Comments »
  1. Hi Brian. Thanks for the shout-out in yesterday’s post.

    I too have recently experienced something like this. Diorex is a totally made up name from playing RPG games for 25 years.

    For the first dozen or so years I was on the internet, I used Diorex as my ID on forums, in games etc. I have never once had an issue getting the name. Until the last 2 weeks, I have tried to sign up to 3 different services where Diorex has already been taken.

    In some ways it is flattering, heck I did not realize I had enough name recognition for someone to care, but I would hate to be a minor star in this industry and never have my name available. I wonder how often ShoeMoney or RustyBrick or Oilman or DaveN actually ends up being the people who are popularly known by those names.

    Comment by Diorex — March 11, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  2. Platinax & Britecorp aren’t even popular names, so I wonder if there isn’t just some kind of bot doing sign-ups based on keywords scraped from existing webpages.

    Anyway, looking forward to you keeping your blog updated. :)

    Comment by Brian Turner — March 11, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

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