Entrepreneur Magazine has a trademark on the word “entrepreneur,” and is suing some businesses that use it.
In 1979, Entrepreneur’s founder, Chase Revel, got a U.S. trademark for the word “entrepreneur.” Since then he has successfully sued EntrepreneurPR, EntrepreneurOlogy.com and others.
Bloomberg talked to a few entrepreneurs that were crushed by Entrepreneur:
Daniel R. Castro, a serial entrepreneur in Austin, Tex., received a stern letter from EMI’s lawyers last September ordering him to “cease and desist” using his new website, EntrepreneurOlogy.com. In his day, Castro, 50, has started a law firm, a mortgage company, and a real estate-lending outfit. He employs a half-dozen people full-time and coordinates the work of a platoon of brokers. He also delivers motivational speeches to other business owners and hopes the new website will provide an online home for a workshop series. “I was dumbfounded,” he says of the cease-and-desist letter. Like a lot of people who work for themselves, he doesn’t like to be told what to do. “Their problem,” he says of EMI, “was that they didn’t know who they were picking on.”
An attorney with the corporate law firm Latham & Watkins informed Castro that EMI owns the U.S. trademark for the word “entrepreneur.” With 2,000 lawyers in 31 offices around the world, Latham polices EMI’s intellectual property aggressively. The firm even instructed Castro to surrender his domain name to EMI. “If you fail to abide by these demands,” the letter said, “Entrepreneur Media will have no choice but to take appropriate action to prevent continued use of an infringing mark and domain name.”
Read the rest at Bloomberg.
Of course there’s another way to look at this story. Entrepreneur promoters smart entrepreneurship, and there’s nothing smarter than getting a trademark.