Rhea Drysdale wins Trademark lawsuit for the term SEO against Gambert
The news is flying around of Rhea Drydale's spectacular win in her opposition to Jason Gambert's attempt to register the term SEO as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to what Rhea posted at Outspoken media, here's a clip from Jason's blog regarding his intent in attempting to register the term:
“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 “SEO” as a service under false pretenses.
…We will also be forming a board of directors to oversee changes to the process, and format in which SEO can be sold (basically the BBB for the SEO industry). We will restrict businesses from selling the process of SEO as an “SEO” service if they do not meet the process approved by the SEO trademark requirements. Those approved will use SEO as normal, but will now be able to use the term as SEO™, and will be able to claim that their SEO service is approved under SEO trademark guidelines.
This power is for the people of the Search community and the protection of the general business consumer.”
As most of us know, any discussion towards specifying precisely what search engine optimization consists of quickly turns heated if any type of regulation is at stake, so the above was doomed not to be looked upon well by industry regulars — particularly from a guy that was, from what I can tell, unknown in the industry. Reading just that little bit, I wonder: was it a play not only to regulate, but to collect dues or some type of payment, from SEOs?
At any rate, the registration application was finally terminated a few days ago, but only after a number of players challenged it, with SEOmoz and Matt Foster of Arteworks bowing out, and Jonathan Hochman fighting valiantly but finally losing in his legal strategy, leaving Rhea to stand alone, spending some two years and $17,000+ in legal bills out of her pocket. What's more, she won.
While she did not ask, calls were made for her to put up a Donate button. I'd post her email address (it was posted by Aaron Wall in his private forums), but I'm not sure she'd appreciate the opportunity for spammers to get it. While I've never crossed paths with Rhead, I've donated my little bit to contribute to helping Rhea recoup some of her financial losses in doing what she felt was the right thing to do.
As a web designer and SEO, I'm immensely grateful to Rhea for pursuing this, and … winning! :)
ADDED: Rhea's Paypal email address has been posted elsewhere, so here it is: email@example.com
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