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A year or two after we started “Partner” On-Call Network someone got the URL for Partners On Call (plural) and held us up for (what turned out to be) a small payment (plus legal fees). I was reminded of this when I read a recent article about a company called The Kitchen, which is in a trademark battle in the farm-to-table restaurant category with Wolfgang Puck after Mr. Puck’s company supposedly stole the name and is using it as The Kitchen By Wolfgang Puck.

What makes it more interesting is this happened after the two owners met and Mr. Puck provided some “practical advice” on growth.

More than ever you have to be careful of what you do or say. I’m not judging on the above story but if it’s as the article states it seems like a case of “that’s a great name so let’s use it.” (The article didn’t mention the details of the trademark or its registration.)

The Internet brought on our “Partner” On-Call incident; I doubt it happens 20+ years ago. More and more we all have to be careful with ideas.

Heck, just a few months ago we found a website for someone claiming to represent business buyers with copyrighted and trademarked language lifted verbatim from the “Partner” On-Call website and my website.

In any kind of business where advice is given you have to be careful about giving the “What” but not the “How.” In some cases you have to be just as careful with the “What” given the lack of respect for copyrights, trademarks, and intellectual property.

“There just isn’t any pleasing some people. The trick is to stop trying.” Robert Mitchum

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