Entrepreneur Magazine's History Of Suing Entrepreneurs For Using The Word Entrepreneur Gets More Attention

from the entrepreneur-entrepreneur-entrepreneur dept

Last fall, we wrote about Entrepreneur Magazine's ridiculous attempt to get an entrepreneur/writer/speaker who was pitching to use the name "entrepreneurology.com" to give up the domain. Trademarking the word "entrepreneur" seems particularly ridiculous, and BusinessWeek recently ran an excellent article detailing Entrepreneur Magazine's history of suing entrepreneurs for using the word entrepreneur. It also, amusingly if somewhat tangentially, delves into the history of Entrepreneur Magazine's founder (who is no longer associated with the magazine), who was arrested at one point in his career for robbing banks. Entrepreneur Magazine and its lawyers were not all that happy to cooperate with BusinessWeek on the profile, noting that they didn't want to help a competitor, and also pointing to trademark lawsuits from BusinessWeek's parent company Bloomberg.

Either way, it does appear, tragically and ridiculously, that Entrepreneur Magazine has won some of these previous lawsuits against other entrepreneurs. However, the creator of Entrepreneurology took the initiative and sued for declaratory judgment after receiving his cease-and-desist letter from Entrepreneur Magazine -- and is trying to invalidate the trademark, claiming the word is generic and not at all associated with the magazine. Entrepreneur Magazine vehemently denies this, of course, but as BusinessWeek points out, the magazine's own legal fights have argued otherwise at times:
In the litigious precincts of intellectual property, the aggressor inevitably finds itself chasing its own tail—and EMI and its lawyers have actually tried to use the "generic" argument to their advantage. In 2008, Ernst & Young, one of the Big Four accounting firms, sued EMI in federal court in New York, alleging that the publisher violated its trademark for an Entrepreneur of the Year award. The dispute over the prize dates to 1994, when Ernst first sent EMI a cease-and-desist missive aimed at Entrepreneur's similarly named award. EMI fired back in a lawsuit in California that Ernst's award trademark cannot be infringed because "entrepreneur of the year" is a generic term. In the end, Ernst and EMI settled their differences confidentially and out of court. EMI changed its award name slightly (nominations for "Entrepreneur Magazine's Entrepreneur of 2011" are now open), while Ernst is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its trademarked Entrepreneur of the Year program.
Oh, and you may note one other oddity in the paragraph above. Entrepreneur Media Inc., refers to itself as EMI. You have to wonder how it's never been sued by the record label EMI, with which there could be actual confusion.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 4:59am

    An enterprising endeavor to eviscerate equity from enigmatic
    estranged entities which only exonerates the enjoined.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 5:00am

    Oh, and you may note one other oddity in the paragraph above. Entrepreneur Media Inc., refers to itself as EMI. You have to wonder how it's never been sued by the record label EMI, over which there could be actual confusion.

    I was confused right up until you said that.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 5:15am

    Words

    All your words are belong to me! Is this real grounds for legal action? EMI must not be doing too well if they are out lawsuit hunting.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 5:38am

    I didn't even know there was such a thing as an Entrepreneur magazine, but I am familiar with the word entrepreneur. Maybe I'll have to create a business with another common word trademarked and start suing for violations. I could use the money, and hey, isn't creating such interesting businesses something which would get me featured in magazines for entrepreneurs and other such business people? Maybe something related to music or movies just to help drive the point home.

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 5:53am

    Isn't it ironic...

    that a magazine for entrepreneurs is going after them in a lot of these lawsuits.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 6:19am

    Speaking of confusion over EMI, I was confused as I was reading the excerpt you embedded there. So, even if you decide I'm a moron (just ask my wife), it's still failing the "moron in a hurry" test.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 6:42am

    That's great. In one week I've learn of two magazine I never heard of before. Both trying to pretend some common words are their.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Cracking up

    There just has to be an EMI (record label) troll reading this and salivating at the possibilities.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    samesies

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    EMI; I will admit to being very confused

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    dunkz (profile), Jun 13th, 2011 @ 11:58pm

    When I start my carrier in social media.we are help full to know about Dunk femme the information.As of my knowledge Del.icio.us is the best of social book mark.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    steve, Jun 18th, 2011 @ 3:21am

    good

    the artical is helpful for me

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Trevor, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    ....ummm hello?

    This is marketing people...."Entrepreneur" is public lexicon,unless the defendant prints the word on the cover of a glossy. These cases have no benefit or merit OTHER than brand recognition...and job security for their legal department. The legal field was a narrow sector even BEFORE the "Crash"

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    steve davidson (profile), Jul 14th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Legal Beagles

    This sounds more like a group of entrepreneurs that are being attacked by the legal profession as a way to drive legal fees back to the firm....

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    steve davidson (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    I'm going to trademark "the"

    Recently I got a cease and desist letter from a lawyer claiming their client had a trademark for "city deals" (and sure enough, he did) .... seriously...we are becoming a country of opportunistic lawyers and politicians vs. entrepreneurs and thinkers. Next, the fed gov is going to give someone a trademark for "the" at which point, some lawyer will want residuals fer every time I comment...crap, I probably owe someone $10 bucks after this posting.

     

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


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