Trademark News & Screw-ups Trademark board rules against Advocis’ IAFE

When you knowingly adopt a name that is close to your competitor, even if you do it for reasons that have nothing to do with bad faith and with you wanting to take a free ride on the notoriety of your competitor, you should always remember one thing. Even if you somehow manage to successfully secure that name, this brand will be inherently weak, especially if it relates to abbreviations. In this case, the dispute was around the brands IAFP and IAFE: Institute of Advanced Financial Planners and Institute for Advanced Financial Education. Let's say both trademarks were allowed to coexist. It would open the door for anyone else to come up with their IAF_-based variations. IAFC - Institute for Advanced Financial Consultants? IAFS - Institute for Advanced Financial Specialists? IAFB - Institute for Advanced Financial Brokers? IAFH - Institute for Advanced Financial Helpers? When choosing a name, the question should not be, is it sufficiently different to allow me to squeeze this application through the Trademarks Office. The question should be, will I be able to build a strong brand around the name, a brand that I can actually enforce. And with IAFE, it just wasn't the case.

The video below features Andrei Mincov's commentary of this article.

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