An associate brought to my attention recently the antics of the US-based ‘Entrepreneur Magazine’. For the last few years the magazine publisher has fought against every entity possible that uses the word entrepreneur in its business name. Yet as far as I can tell it does not represent entrepreneurs apart from writing articles about them.
Does this mean Ernst and Young will be getting a call asking them to cease and desist in their global entrepreneur award, and spin off publications? And I had to laugh when I discovered that E&Y actually did receive a letter from the publisher back in the late 90s.
The global Entrepreneurs Organization of which I participated and received much benefit from the organization – with it’s 7,500 members world wide… has nothing to do with the Entrepreneur Magazine – does this organization have to change it’s name?
Now, I’m no expert on trademark law, but Mark A. Lemley, a distinguished professor of intellectual property law at Stanford Law School says, “Trademark law doesn’t give anyone the exclusive right to common English words, much less all variants of those words.”
The latest attack has been on Daniel Castro, founder of EntrepreneurOlogy, who has also filed a federal lawsuit against the publisher. Good on him for standing up for the rights of entrepreneurs everywhere to use the term entrepreneur.
There is the obvious irony of a magazine making its advertising bucks and writing articles to support entrepreneurs, leveraging its resources to attack businesses using the word entrepreneur. (Biting the hand that feeds you).
Plus this sort of behaviour is so UNentrepreneurial. Being entrepreneurial is about being nimble. About moving fast and embracing change. Not being a bullying behemoth.