Saturday, July 24, 2010

What's in a Name?

Letters strung together to form words? Words strung together to create phrases? Can you own a word, name, or phrase? Yes, Yes, and to some degree yes, would be the answer to all these questions. 
Most importantly, a name should have some sort of a personal meaning, especially if you're going to claim ownership to it. 

But what if someone has the same name as you, the same idea, but a different personal meaning than you? 
1) you can get in serious trouble.
2) you can get creative. 
3) you can get lucky <<< My story. 

Now the origin of Tastes Like Gold, at least in terms of my firm, is as follows. It happened one afternoon, last summer, with my parents on the way home from Manhattan. My father's '01 Camry broke down underneath the George Washington Bridge on Riverside Drive. (uptown Manhattan around 181st st.) After my dad called a friend to help us start the car, we were on our way. Along Riverside Drive, there are these pillars holding up an overpass. Scribbled on one of these pillars was: Tastes Like Gold. Once I saw that I KNEW that I had to name the T-Shirt line that. 

I returned the following week to photograph the future of my line. >>>

That was the original logo I used prior to knowing about the lovely concepts of intellectual property law. Apparently, the graffiti artists actually can reserve their rights to their own artwork, even if it's illegal. Go figure. 

To avoid any legal recourse I invested in my own logo; the same logo you see today. I assumed that I would be okay as long as I had something of my own. This brings me to TRADEMARK LAW. Which I discovered just last night. For months, I was aware of this other brand selling clothing under the same name, different logo, different style. It scared the living hell out of me but I tried to ignore it. 

Last night I looked it up for the first time. The Trademark Registry. Typed in Tastes Like Gold, only to find that it had already been registered. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I was finished. Done. Terminado. Finito. In one second, my heart sank faster than a two million pound stone in the Pacific Ocean. I continued to read the web page hoping that I had read wrong, trying to find a shred, a table scrap of hope left for me to chew on. 

And there it was. The word "ABANDONED" in capital letters. Closer to the end of the page was the word "DEAD" in capital letters. I was revived. I was pulled out of the abyss of pain and suffering and wasted time and all the bad stuff you could find in an abyss. 

I did further research and found that the previous owner cannot prevent someone new from reviving the old trademark as their own! Which means I can restore it. Registered in 2008 and abandoned MAY 3RD 2010, only about THREE MONTHS AGO! HOW LUCKY CAN YOU GET????

There are some questions I still need answered but all my fears of stealing unintentionally are gone, we can continue as Tastes Like Gold and hopefully the future is as bright as it seems. This is a victory for us. 

So, come along on this little journey. It's far from being over. 


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