Internet Marketer Tries To Trademark 'SEO'

from the *sigh* dept

Similar to the guy who tried to register a trademark on the term cyberlaw, it turns out that some internet marketing guy is trying to get a trademark on the term "SEO" (thanks to Eric Goldman for pointing this out). SEO, of course, is a very generic acronym for "search engine optimization" and has been used for ages (not, as the guy claims, since early 2007). The link goes through, in rather great detail, how the Trademark folks turned this guy down multiple times, and he kept adjusting the trademark application, occasionally in totally nonsensical ways -- but eventually it seems as though people in the USPTO simply threw up their hands and said "whatever, let it through...." It's now at the stage where the USPTO is waiting to see if anyone objects to the filing, so hopefully with enough folks in the SEO filing objections this one will get completely rejected.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Paul Zhao, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 12:53pm

    How do you "Object"?

    I'm fairly active in the SEO community, and search engine marketing (SEO, PPC, conversion funnel, etc) is my career. What can I do to "do my part" in the objection process?

    Thanks,
    Paul Zhao

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    sonofdot, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    Re: How do you "Object"?

    Follow the link to Eric Goldman's site. In the comments, several have posted information on how to object. Caution, it's not free, but if that's the business you're in, you'd be foolish not to protect yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    scote, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    You can object, but it will $$$ you.

    To file an objection requires a fee of several hundred dollars. What's important, ironically, is to forward this post to all of the well-funded SEO's who will want to fight this stupid trademark. I feel dirty just thinking about helping SEO's--ewww--but the trademark is ridiculous.

     

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  4.  
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    Paul Zhao, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 1:47pm

    Re: You can object, but it will $$$ you.

    What's wrong w/ helping SEO's? Most SEO's are legit, working on web-marketing teams of fortune 500 companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Kilgore Trout, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Search Engine Optimization

    *NOTE* This post may be completely incorrect. What follows are things as I understand them. *NOTE*

    Most search engines have policies against trying to "game" the system, to make their sites appear higher in the results. Would that not make SEO a violation of these terms?

    Just askin'...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Paul Zhao, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Search Engine Optimization

    Legitimate SEO's don't try to "game" the system. We corporate with search engines and follow their rules to provide search engines with the best content relevant for the phrases we're targeting so we can provide the content the users are searching for when they're searching for a particular keyword (phrase).

    Of course, it does take an insight into search engines' algorithms to know what they're looking for.

    Example: Google thinks sites with many quality links are "important" and should get ranked higher, so it's our job as SEO's to make our sites "important" by having people link to us.

    But I DO understand, it's a few of so-called SEO's that don't follow the rules that give all of us a bad name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Da_ALC, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 2:08pm

    pffft. In my experience the SEO community is full of con-men, liars and predators, aiming at people who dont understand how the net works.

    Before you all go off on one, im sure there is plenty of legit people tryign to help people out in the right ways with SEO, but your outnumbered by the others ripping people off.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Kilgore Trout, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Search Engine Optimization

    Ah, I see now. Thanks for the insight!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Joseph B, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 2:25pm

    Genius SEO Strategy!!!

    Hundreds of SEO people are going to blog about this. There will be thousands of blog posts, all with the term "SEO", and all linked to this guys Web site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Eric Fredericksen, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 2:28pm

    Stomping out the little guy

    SEO may not always include "gaming" search engines, However it's a perfect example of Corporate america leveraging their Will to stomp out the little guy to create monopolies and screw the consumer out of more money while stifling innovation. Call it what you want, I call it corporate greed.

     

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  11.  
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    sonofdot, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Stomping out the little guy

    Please explain how "it's a perfect example of Corporate america leveraging their Will to stomp out the little guy to create monopolies and screw the consumer out of more money while stifling innovation" has anything at all to do with this post? WTF are you talking about?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Allen Harkleroad, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 6:10pm

    SEO prior use

    If anyone wants to file for opposition on the term SEO. I can prove prior use before 2007.

    See:
    http://www.amazon.com/Confidential-SEO-Secrets/dp/B000R93DIA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s =books&qid=1207703279&sr=8-1

    SEO used in the title of the book, first published in august 2006 and has a ISBN and copyrighted.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2008 @ 12:48am

    bollocks

    let him come to my country and claim trademark infringement...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Paul Zhao, SEO, Apr 9th, 2008 @ 6:42am

    Re:

    Da_ALC, you're probably talking about SEO agencies. Yes, some agencies prioritize sales over quality, and that creates sales people promising all kinds of things that account managers/SEO's can't deliver, but the client by then is already locked into the contract.

    On the flip side, lots of SEO's are a part of the web marketing department of some major companies (In-house SEO's), I happen to be one of them. I think they do some great work - there's a reason Wikipedia, Amazon, and Ebay show up a lot in Google no matter what people are searching for - in addition to their sites' popularities and quality content, they probably utilized some great SEO's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Peter Blaise (profile), Apr 10th, 2008 @ 6:50am

    It's all about the "SEO" already being used generically, not about whether or not anyone trusts SEO service providers.

    However, independent observers have called the USPTO a "snakepit", so don't expect much. On the patent side, it can take 9 years to produce results, and by then, the advantage of a patent may be null and void. On the trademark side, they even let Microsoft get the generic, descriptive term "windows" through to registration even though the term "windows" was in popular use throughout the computer software industry at the time for any multitasking software that showed more than one task on screen at a time.

    The purpose of the USPTO is to promote commerce by preventing court cases. It looks like they dropped the ball once again. This will see it's day in court if it goes through, and if they try to enforce exclusive rights. At least it's not tax payer's money they are wasting. The USPTO is fee-based, paid for by applicants.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Holly Maniacal Genius Batman!, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    Seo Trademark

    This guy sounds like what the industry needs. He has a page now. I like his style ha hah LOL. Never heard of until he almost takes over a sleeping crooked, industry of con artists. Everyone has ran into the consumer who had an "SEO" guy pull the money out from their pocket! Then when good guys call its a COLD CALL FROM HELL! He has my support!



    jasongambert.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Holly Maniacal Genius Batman!, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    Seo Trademark

    This guy sounds like what the industry needs. He has a page now. I like his style ha hah LOL. Never heard of until he almost takes over a sleeping crooked, industry of con artists. Everyone has ran into the consumer who had an "SEO" guy pull the money out from their pocket! Then when good guys call its a COLD CALL FROM HELL! He has my support!



    jasongambert.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    arteworks, Apr 23rd, 2008 @ 6:29am

    ArteWorks SEO to Oppose "SEO" Trademark

    ArteWorks SEO has joined in the opposition of this trademark. We have provided the public with a press release regarding our position in our blog which can be found here: SEO trademark information.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    His Site, Apr 23rd, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    His Site

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    online backgammon, Aug 21st, 2008 @ 2:51am

    I am an aspiring SEO and want some information regarding how can we make our blog no-follow free. I have just completed my graduation. I have joined an IT firm specialized in SEO services. I just want to know can i make a bright future in this arena. I have basic computer and internet knowledge. Seeking your advice !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    SEO Mumbai, Aug 27th, 2008 @ 12:47am

    reply

    Trademark such a generic term....? I'm sure there are going to be tons of objections to this one. Count me in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    andreas ramos, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:03am

    SEO used in 2004, 2002, and 1997

    If you're filing an objection, use my book as evidence. In 2004, I wrote "Insider's Guide to SEO" (Jain, 2004). See http://www.amazon.com/Insiders-Guide-SEO-Website-Engines/dp/0875730515. See Webmasterworld in 2002: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum5/1177.htm. The oldest claimed use is July 1997: Search engine optimization (SEO) was coined in July 1997, where it was used publicly in a spam message.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    andreas ramos, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:29am

    Here is SEO in the year 2000: http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=832411.

    In 1999: ActivMedia Research, September 1999 "We then begin search engine optimization (SEO) by strategically positioning important keywords within..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    online radio, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 11:53pm

    loved your blog

    loved your Blog, keep on the good work

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Karen D. Hill, Nov 22nd, 2008 @ 7:40pm

    SEO Was In Use As Early As 1997

    I have contracts with Harriet & Henderson Yarns dating back to 1997 (HHY manufacturers went out of business around 2003 for not paying taxes after 104 years of business). Those contracts clearly stated my terms for web development and SEO services. You read that right - SEO Services.

    Trust me, it was absolute HELL trying to explain to the C-Level round-table why they needed this "SEO" with their web development package and how it was supposed to work. Thank God they were all very interested in technology and were very involved in the emerging Internet. In addition, Google was not around as a major factor at all. It was Infoseek, Lycos, Webcrawler, Northtern Lights, HotBot, AltaVista and the like with Google making it's presence well-known in 1998 and onward. Yahoo was in there too - of course.

    I certainly am not claiming to have coined the phrase, but a small group of us analysts/marketers (and we dinosaurs know who we are...) that emailed, banded together on the few public chat areas (omg - AoL...)and compaired notes on getting on top of the search engines struggled with what to call what we were doing - and it just evolved out of necessity. Be glad SEO came out of the early days instead of GOTOTSE (Getting On Top Of The Search Engines)! **snicker** So - as far as this Jason fellow is concerned, he doesn't have a leg to stand on to prove any claim of "coining" the phrase. That is a false statement on the application, if indeed his statement makes that claim. There are plenty of websites that have author meta tags that are still in existance today showing SEO application of service credits with dates that are pre-2000. You can even look up sites up on the Wayback Machine and look at the source code to have 3rd Party Proof.

    It appears that this trademark filing is an annoying advertising ploy by Jason. Another poster observed that hundreds of blogs were already linking to his websites. Undeservedly so.

    He most likely knows he doesn't have a chance in Haides to get this trademark, but he sure has the core story for his book about "marketing sensationalism".

    As also observed, he doesn't practice SEO himself with his own websites. I doubt he will get out of this debacle with his thin SEO skin intact. It wouldn't surprise me if Search Engine Optimization disappears off of his list of "services" when the dust finally settles.

    I looked for his application in the Trademark Official Gazette's latest release. I just assumed it would be in the latest one. We need to see the official application.

    Of course, we're in the process of filing our official papers against this person also - but he'll not get a link from me. Ever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Ecommerce web development, Jan 18th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Thank you, God bless you and have a nice day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    santa, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 1:38am

    This guy sounds like what the industry needs. He has a page now. I like his style ha hah LOL. Never heard of until he almost takes over a sleeping crooked, industry of con artists. Everyone has ran into the consumer who had an "SEO" guy pull the money out from their pocket! Then when good guys call its a COLD CALL FROM HELL! He has my support!
    SEO Pricing

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Duane Hamann, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 10:58pm

    The issue regulating the SEO industry

    SEO is a dirty business here in South Africa, so I can imagine how bad it must be abroad. It's difficult at times to stick the rules and apply integrity to SEO as there's so many "fakes" out there who don't understand the process and hop around stealing proper code, doing little if any benefit to their project and bringing the industry as a whole into the gutter. I do think it's time that we all got together with one common goal in mind to regulate and accredit search engine optimization practices not through trademarks where one “wise guy” looks to further his own financial interests but rather as a community of recognised skill and experience, we are the custodians of our the world wide web and I think it’s time we seek to hold it in high regard!

    Duane Hamann
    duane@hamann.co.za

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Boston SEO, Jan 12th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    I believe this has all been taken care of. I heard there was a lawsuit and this guy finally gave up with his trademark attempts. Hopefully this is true for sake of the rest of us in the SEO community.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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