It’s not good marketing and I’m pretty sure it’s not good law, either.
It seems as though Entrepreneur magazine (who should know better) is working with Latham and Watkins (who should certainly know better) to persist in their relentless efforts to bully entrepreneurs to stop using the word ‘entrepreneur’.
And yes, it’s a word.
Not a fanciful or inherently distinctive trademark, a word. Almost 800,000,000 matches in Google.
One of the only words available to describe a person who builds an enterprise bigger than herself, often using outside resources.
Without that word, it’s hard to describe the work.
Poignantly, it’s interesting to see that they’re not going after people with a ton of resources. If Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Showtime started going after billionaires for using the word ‘Billions’, I’d call it a fair fight. A dumb fight, but a fair one.
But deep in the bowels of the Latham offices in San Diego (which, fortunately, hasn’t been sued by the producers of Anchorman for trademark infringement) there are young lawyers, early in their career, sending nasty letters to entrepreneurs (there’s that word again) like Jen Lehner. You can see her work here: jenlehner.com/blog
Apparently, the powers that be decided that her podcast called “Front Row Entrepreneur” somehow infringed on a magazine that hit its peak in 2013. How?
“Front Row” modifies the noun. The trademark is the modifier, not the noun. Front Row™ is a trademark. Entrepreneur is simply a word.
With great cost and hassle, fledgling entrepreneurs (there’s that word again) who have finally gotten their business off the ground now have to dig in to either fight a huge law firm and their misguided but well-funded lawyers–or spend the money to change what they already built.
Who, exactly, does this help?
By engaging in this behavior, Entrepreneur might think it is building a strong trademark; instead, it is throwing away the very purpose of any trademark: To be a symbol of goodwill within a community. Amongst entrepreneurs, it is simply becoming a hated one.
Better, I think, to spend the time and the money building something that entrepreneurs actually like and respect.