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.

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Comments on “Internet Marketer Tries To Trademark 'SEO'”

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33 Comments
Kilgore Trout says:

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’…

Paul Zhao (user link) says:

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.

Da_ALC says:

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.

Paul Zhao, SEO (user link) says:

Re: 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.

Eric Fredericksen says:

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.

Peter Blaise (profile) says:

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.

Holly Maniacal Genius Batman! says:

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

Holly Maniacal Genius Batman! says:

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

andreas ramos (user link) says:

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.

Karen D. Hill (user link) says:

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.

Duane Hamann (profile) says:

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

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