Ironic? Trademark Bullying by Entrepreneur Magazine

Ok so this is something that gets me fired up.  DID YOU KNOW that Entrepreneur Magazine Inc. (yes, that ONE) has trademarked the word "Entrepreneur" and is suing or bringing trademark claims against businesses that use it or try to trademark it?  

And not only those with the word entrepreneur like...

❌ The Unstoppable Entrepreneur

❌ Rugged Entrepreneur

❌ The Happy Entrepreneur

❌ Blue Collar Entrepreneur

❌ The Wine Entrepreneur (my fav)

But also ANY with even the 'preneur

❌ Oddtrepreneur

❌ Brandpreneur

❌ Contrapreneur

❌ Kidtrepreneur

There are literally hundreds of small business owners and start-ups that have been stopped by Entrepreneur Mag (and their VERY BIG law firm).  They are claiming trademark infringement and that ALL of these will be confused with their magazine - BOGUS.  Now, A LOT of these people have just abandoned their trademarks because they didn't want to go to court and spend thousands (and thousands) trying to fight it, it's hard to say if some of these would have won in the end.

The irony of a magazine geared towards inspiring and helping small business owners grow taking these gigantic steps to keep them down at the same time is infuriating to me.  

Now, over the past 10 years many have written (check out Seth Godin and others) about this and many question why/how the USPTO could even let someone trademark the word Entrepreneur and I think USPTO probably sees their mistake now.  But alas, here we are.

So the moral of this story - do not use the word Entrepreneur or 'Preneur in your business name or programs (sorry to be the bearer of bad news) or if you do use it, do not even think about trademarking it!  (Note - if you have a Facebook Group with the word 'preneur or Entrepreneur you are fine, don't panic because you can't trademark a Facebook Group anyway)

Another moral of this story as Business Insider Aimee Groth writes:

"Of course there's another way to look at this story. Entrepreneur promotes smart entrepreneurship, and there's nothing smarter than getting a trademark."


 

Sarah Kornblet Waldbuesser - Attorney for Coaches & Online Business Owners

Sarah Kornblet Waldbuesser, Esq.
Attorney for Coaches & Online Business Owners

After several years at a law firm and a few career jumps, she ended up falling in love with online business and loves helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams in a smart and protected way. She is also an adventurer, traveler, and food and wine lover. When not at her computer, she loves hanging with her family, having wine with friends, flying around the globe and connecting with other online business owners.

 


4 comments


  • Sarah Kornblet Waldbuesser ESQ.

    Chris, thank you for sharing your insight! I am sure many have been inspired by Entrepreneur Magazine to start their journey into entrepreneurship, so it is definitely an interesting situation.


  • Chris

    I found this article while researching a subpoena a friend received regarding their business coach who uses the name ‘entrepreneur’. Absolutely, market confusion, brand dilution, etc. is a valid reason to protect your name. But when your name is synonymous with hope, possibility and a future of self-success, cultivated by the work you (Entreprenuer MEDIA) has inspired so many to take on, I think the word has transcended . I think a more global, inspired approach would be to gather entreprenuers, including the ones using the word ‘entreprenuer’ in their name AND LEVERAGE their success under the UMBRELLA OF THE MISSION that ENTREPRENEUR MEDIA first created.
    From Wikipedia – "While the loan from French of the English-language word “entrepreneur” dates to 1762, the word “entrepreneurism” dates from 1902 and the term “entrepreneurship” also first appeared in 1902."
    But to file suit and uproot the mission of someone, some entrepreneur, they inspired is shortsighted, callous and more legal than inspiring. No wonder Lebron thought he could trademark ‘Taco Tuesday’.
    Be Wise, Be Bold, BE AN ENTREPRENUER, but don’t use the ‘E’-word. . .
    Chris in Long Beach


  • Sarah Kornblet Waldbuesser Esq.

    100% Elizabeth, while I don’t necessarily agree that that Entrepreneur Magazine should have ever been able to trademark “Entrepreneur” it shows the importance of registering a trademark and owning your name brand.


  • Elizabeth

    You said it. They have a Trademark.


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