Today, after listening to the gorgeous and incredibly intelligent, Sarah Bird, General Counsel for SEOmoz, on Webcology at WebmasterRadio, I decided to file an official notice of opposition (NOO) against the poor schmuck that’s trying to trademark SEO. That’s right, someone is trying to trademark our beloved acronym, SEO!
Sarah discovered the evil plan a few weeks back after updating some SEOmoz trademarks. To her and the greater SEO communities’ dismay, Jason Gambert, unsuccessfully filed for trademark registration of SEO in May of 2007, but in January of 2008 he convinced a no-doubt weary judge to approve his application. Today was the last day to file a Notice of Opposition before publication. Eek!
So, what does any of this mean for the greater SEO community? If Mr. Gambert is successful in registering he would assume exclusive rights to the word and have the ability to limit usage. If you’re currently selling a SEO related service and use the term, he would have grounds to require you license (i.e. pay for) it from him. Also, this would give him enough ammo to go after competitors bidding on SEO related terms on the various pay-per-click channels.
(Sarah, feel free to correct me if any of this is incorrect.)
I personally think it’s a genius move and it almost went undiscovered, but it’s also in my opinion, a ROYAL ASS move and he needs to be stopped. To register an acronym that’s been widely used by this industry for more than a decade is completely ridiculous. I’m one of the youngest SEOs in the crowd, but I’ve been providing SEO services years longer than Mr. Gambert’s claim.
To my knowledge SEOmoz, ArteWorks, Jonathan Hochman and myself were the only parties to file a NOO against Mr. Gambert. Am I missing anyone else out there? My Notice of Opposition was tiny and no doubt incoherent with such little time to discuss with my lawyer, but I’m hoping it’s enough to lend support to Sarah’s exhaustive case for denying registration of the SEO trademark.
More SEO Trademark details can be found here:
> Listen to full Webcology podcast on the SEO Trademark with Sarah Bird.
> Read the gory details of the SEO Trademark status at SEOmoz.
> Read my copy of the Notice of Opposition to Trademark SEO.
Update: I’ve been going through Jason’s new blog (which I also won’t link to… Google it) and this just made me ill:
My goal in owning the trademark for the word SEO is not to try to force people to change their SEO process, but rather, prevent companies from selling â€œSEOâ€ as a service under false pretenses.
The last time I checked we didn’t need a SEO dictator. This is beyond disturbing to me and the only similar situation I can think of is labeling food “organic,” which actually has some value. We (PEOPLE not Produce!) don’t need to be regulated, there’s an inherent system of checks and balances, just like every other professional industry. From my understanding of the situation the only two possibilities I can see are that Jason is either filing the registration for personal gain or he has an unhealthy complex that he should be the governing body for all things SEO. I understand he’s asked other bodies to help draft “standards” for best SEO practices, but if standards is what he wants he should have created a certification program, rather than going after a commercial service.
Power to the SEOs! UNITE!
Edit: Daver just called the ArteWorks NOO to my attention. There are some heated disputes going on that you can read about on the ArteWorks blog.
April 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm
Good luck Sarah and Rhea! Thanks for fighting for us!
April 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm
I never dreamed that no one was going to do anything. I thought for sure all these loud mouths in the SEO industry would have tried to stop him.
Why go to the trouble of posting it all over the internet and then no one does anything.
April 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm
I can’t thank you enough for your support and your willingness to stand up for what is right.
Together, we can stop this process.
April 24, 2008 at 6:28 pm
Good for you Rhea. Via Twitter (go figure) someone just dropped a link to ArteWorks this afternoon. They also appear to have submitted a Notice of Opposition.
Press Release & Back Story
April 24, 2008 at 6:40 pm
Thank the gods that someone filled against that ridiculous claim.
April 24, 2008 at 8:23 pm
April 25, 2008 at 9:35 am
Wow, dude. You’re totally right. She is HOT!!
April 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm
You are one motivated lady! Thanks for posting Sarah’s interview on SEOmoz. Just listened to webmasterradio.fm and heard your chat inquiries to Sarah. …any of us who use the term SEO in our services could be affected.
I recently started consulting again and have will be able to continue thanks to you, Sarah, ArteWorks! Thanks for jumping in the ring to fight for us!
April 26, 2008 at 8:18 am
this is the first I’ve heard of this lest i would have filed an NOO as well. thank you for the heads up!
April 28, 2008 at 4:12 am
See, now if there were “Standards,” and a real “Community,” we could have lawyers jumpin down the throat of anyone who steps up to the SEO peeps. All this fuss and the only people that did anything was Sarah and Rhea?
Especially after every blog was begging everyone to join the resistance! The resistance to what? Good SEO standards? And he is still asking everyone to help his efforts.
I personally agree with Dougs Heils responses for once! Only 2 oppositions… WTH I simply can not believe that! How completely rediculous! I personally can see his points now even better because of that. You all really should find out more about his intentions without stoning him to death first.
Especially if he is the only one audacious enough to step up and hear the people asking for “Standards!” If it doesn’t go through, then you can’t say nobody didn’t try! Viva the CONS/BLACKHATS! LOL
April 28, 2008 at 9:43 am
I love how no one actually reads anything anymore. To date at least four individuals/companies have filed a formal NOO. There may be others, I’m waiting to hear back from those sources.
With regards to resistance, there’s no resistance to SEO standards. We’re resisting Big Brother. It’s bullshit for anyone to think they have THE answers in a changing industry and everyone needs to meet their OPINION before they can claim expertise. If Jason wants to “help” the community, there’s a better way to address the issues at hand.
April 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm
You all are idiots, like, seriously.
I bet not one of you actually talked to him personally before filing a NOO.
This needs to be done, he was first in line, and everyone who is opposed seems to only be extremely jealous or narrow minded. If all these other people were the “first” to coin the term SEO, then they should have filed for trademark then. You may be the best seo this or the first seo that, but the early bird catches the worm as they say.
You can be the first to invent something, but if you don’t patent it first, then it don’t mean S**T.
It’s too late to back out now, EVERYONE should support Jason in his efforts, because the consequences that will follow if he fails will be far worse and un imaginable even. The flood gates are open now, google, the government, and just about everyone else are getting very involved.
If he fails, you will most likely see the government or some other corrupt organization attempt to standardize and regulate the industry, and you must literally be retarded if you think that’s a good thing.
The SEO industry has been in dire need of standards and regulation for a LONG time now. He’s the first to step up to the plate, so let him swing. He’s only doing this to better the industry, dramatically, but you all are shooting your SEO selves in the foot.
God, you all are a bunch of morons.
If your pissed that he is doing this, it’s only because you didn’t think of it first, period. Grow up, get your acts together and band behind this man or were all f****d.