We have been told repeatedly that trademark research is not a part of our job as Creatives. But we are constantly asked to do just that by Contest Holders. Just skipping contests where this request is made is not a workable solution for most of us. There should be CH education before a contest is launched stating that trademark checks cannot be done by Creatives. It is simply not reasonable to expect dozens of Creatives to check the trademark of hundreds of submissions, all in the pursuit of a $90 prize.
I agree. It is hard enough to keep up with the contests and try to make entries fit to CH’s criteria. Sometimes I will skip them as CH’s are asking for so much for $90. It isn’t worth your time.Especially if they get frustrated that they can’t get a real word 5 letter domain that has never been used in the history of man! lol!
What has been said about trademark requests and what is actually happening is not in agreement. When a CH requests, for instance, taglines to be submitted with each entry, you can report that request and SH will contact the CH and clarify that taglines have to be a separate contest. But when a CH states they want a name with a clear trademark, then Creatives either have to do the trademark work, or know their entries will not be considered. I have never seen SH step in those instances. I’m not questioning whether it is our job. I know it’s not.
Creatives are not required to do Trademark research. Most companies understandably want a name that does not have any Trademark conflicts, and therefore, several of them include that as one of the key criteria in their contest brief. If someone mentions that they want a name free of Trademark, you can keep that information in mind, but there is no expectation that you would do the additional research to ensure there are no conflicts.
While submitting the entries, you can also mention that you have not done any Trademark research and SH can assist with that aspect for their shortlisted names. If a CH insists that creatives do the research, you can certainly blue button the issue and our team will reach out to the CH.
We have several alerts, documents as well as messages that are sent to contest holders throughout their contest process which inform them about the importance of Trademarks, as well as the services we offer to help validate any Trademark conflicts.
The contest holders who are serious about Trademarks, typically use their own Trademark attorneys or Squadhelp services to do the final research before selecting a name.
I think the point people are trying to make is that whether it is something we have to do or not, it impacts us. If it is mentioned at all and on the CH’s mind because they have said they would like it and or need it in their briefing, that is something they will be keeping in mind. What that does is then put us, at creatives at a choice that’s not really a choice.
Either we go the extra effort to trademark check each and everyone of our entries – which can be a lot of extra work --, or we don’t and have it held against us by the CH – this then impacts ability to be selected, possible ban from the contest which affects rating, our rating scores which impact our percentage which then impact some of our tier A status and ability to enter other contests or the amount of entries we can submit --.
This is why, I think, it is being brought up. Because while most of us recognize it’s not within our ‘requirement’ to do such – it still impacts us. Therefore,better education to the CHs about SHs non-requirement of us to do this work and that there are methods of doing it through SH if they are truly interested in it … would be a good way to go. Some things just need to be clearly highlighted for these contests for both creatives and CHs and both sides to be able to see these highlights where it can alleviate some confusions and such.
We realize that most of these things that we bring up to SH are all in the guidelines and help sections on SH, but they’re not always where they can be directly seen by both creatives and CHs. Just like ToS agreements and paperwork that people sign on a daily basis … just because the information is provided – does not mean that it is always read. This is why many sites for different things have started implementing bubbles, blurbs, balloons, and other such things on each page of things – because they know that unless it is informative, intuitive, and included specifically where that information will matter most – things can be overlooked accidentally, missed, not read, or because there’s too much to read all at once when someone has other things to otherwise focus on. Am I saying that SH should do this? Not necessarily. It could help in some cases at least with some information here and there. But it is at least something to keep in mind about a lot of the issues that are brought up and then we’re told SH tells this, SH shares this, this can be found here and here. We all know that SH is above the bar with providing help and insight and step by steps with most of the things. That’s not the problem. But sometimes information can be missed or whatever.
As far as it goes with the TM searches, it’s just my suggestion that maybe in the instructions for the brief – ON THE BRIEF – that tips be listed and one of the tips be that SH does not require TM searches to be done by creativesbut SH can assist if it is something they are interested in. Or something like this, maybe? There’s plenty of tips that if you asked us as creatives, that we could probably pitch in as ideas to also be listed with this, this way this information is right there in immediate availability for a CH to know. without having to navigate away from page.
We used to have a trademark checker in the system (CHs had to select that as a choice). SH stopped offering that in the way that it worked before…where we, the creatives, could see any trademark conflicts before submitting. The system STILL has a trademark checker… but it is not instant. Instead, we get a flag some time after submission (sometimes long after).
To solve this issue, SH should put the trademark checker that we used to have back into contests!
Yes, that could work but remove it blocking you from submitting if there is a flag of sorts because we all know there are companies out there with the same exact name … if not many of them, just because the industry is different, it’s allowed. So it would have to either be intuitive or not block us from submitting and allowing us to explain for choice of the CH – if this is going to be the way things go. Honestly I don’t think TM searches, if they will be allowed, should be permitted in contests unless they are the higher packages because of the amount of work that would be required. More work/effort … more reward.
I might be wrong but I do believe the trademark checker was removed because it isn’t a true trademark check. That process is best handled by an attorney.
Maybe there’s a way for the system to recognizes the word “Trademark” and a pop up could advise the CH of trademark services offer by SHadmin
You are right @LisaMac – that trademark checker was not accurate. You could put in “Nike” and it would say trademark, but change it to “NikeShoes” and it would say there were no issues. The trademarks that are checked when the CH pays for the service now is a true trademark checker. We see them flagged when they narrow down to their top 6 choices and then they usually do the audience test then too.
That is true. It was one semi-decent step over researching trademarks via other ways though. I honestly don’t think this is much of an issue anyway so it was a really small suggestion using a tool we already had.
Yes @jackieheraty. It’s also hard to understand Trademarked names. It’s good if it’s not used in the same industry, but some confuse me. Example, I have a marketplace name that, according to the checker, has conflicts in almost every country. Trademark owner is the same in every country, yet my domain name appears nowhere in the report and I’ve no idea what type of business they are… SMH on that one
PS…just got a message from a CH asking for trademark names again after contest has been going for a few days. It happens alot lately
I am fairly new on SH and this is my first SH post (having read every single forum post before I did so!). I have followed this thread re: trademarks with interest, as I was somewhat thrown when some CHs were requesting TM searches prior to name submission. Since so much depends on the TM Class and Goods & Services, there is no way a Creative can check this for a CH. I’m relieved to have it confirmed that Creatives are not required to do this. However, in the few months I have been entering contests, I have noticed a degree of “Brief-creep” in which CHs are also asking for names only if all social media handles are available, or requiring a dot com to also be available in multiple other European extensions, or even checking out the name on a numerology site (link provided) to arrive at a specific number before submitting. Sometimes if these additional requirements are too time consuming, I’ll just pass…
Hi Canswift! You made some really great points. And ultimately, it is up to us. I participate in very few contests anymore so I am uber selective about which ones I will participate in. I frankly have no problem with CHs telling us the names have to pass trademark. That is an important piece of information. And if I still decide to participate in that contest (didn’t rule it out for other reasons), I have no problem checking at least USPTO to give my names a fighting chance in the contest - otherwise, I wasted my time. I do often participate in the ones that need exact social media handles (because it is so easy to check those).
However, I rule contests out if they are asking for domain extensions and do not have the contest set up to accept them. Or they want a name with no domain but we know they actually do want a domain. I rule out non-guaranteed contests (unless I own a domain that is great for it), $100 contests looking for 5 letter domains (these days I rarely participate in $100 contests at all).
There are thousands of creatives on SH. Everyone decides for themselves. Trademark isn’t really a big deal. There are many CHs that are planning to do extensive TM search and never tell us. (Same with audience testing!)
I’m surprised SH doesn’t have someone screening briefs after they are posted and clarifying things like they type of contest they selected cannot require trademark searches, and direct them to the resources should they would like that service. It seems not correcting these requests could reflect badly on SH. If a CH requests trademarks/social media/etc checks, then doesn’t get them it seems there is a risk that they could be unhappy then post negative reviews that they went on SH and requested those things but no-one followed their brief. That would deter future customers.