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Articles > Marketing and Promotion


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You're Fired . . . Really?
Naseem Javed -- May 5, 2004
Donald Trump is the living legend with one of the greatest surnames of our period. Trump, a superb name brand that fits like a glove to his personality and his business empire, is also my hero. Don is a PR savvy global marketer with a great personality and now with this recent success of "The Apprentice", a reality TV shows series, he wants to own the term “You’re fired”. So why not?

One of the last pillars of civility of our business protocols is still a sheet of paper, when filed with the government, protects the ownership to a mark used in business. This instrument of legal protection of trademarks under laws of the Intellectual Property has served us well during the last couple of centuries. Its enormous powers and successes are directly responsible for our healthy name brands, symbols and icons.


Naseem Javed

One day, like a small dot, a dotcom appeared and a frenzy of first comes first serve registration started. One could register anything as a URL without any regards to any previous ownership of a name, brand, tagline or a trademark. Squatter were invented. Legal battles are still raging on. In this looting frenzy just about everything got registered as a URL in cyber-space. to, each URL with its own unique marketing potentials.

Don already owns a chunk of Manhattan and other parts of USA and the world, so why not the rights to the words “you’re fired”? Of course this generic term can’t be protected and no one can have exclusive rights to our slang, i.e. "shut-up", dictionary words or everyday lingo. Still, watch out you tough chain-saw-driven-executives as you try to scare your bright, hazy eyed, young MBAs with these words, you may be in a serious violation and a possible lawsuit. Before you fire anybody with these words, imagine the footsteps of blue-suited herds of lawyers. Here are some alternate terms to avoid the wrath of the great Don. “You’re outsourced.” “You‘re zapped” or “You’re hired, by PBS" Of course, PBS is a great channel. If this was really applied, then nobody would be fired without Don's permission.

Corporate America shouldn’t be afraid of Trump, not only is he just joking and there are hardly any jobs to be fired from? The job market is so dry that what we need are a larger number of "you're hired".

Trademark laws also protect the public at large and will not allow a term like “I love you” to become registered by a soap or a card maker so they can claim ownership to the term prohibiting its common daily use. Imagine if this term was only whispered for fear of violation. Hmmm, not a bad idea, as it may be even more effective, sensual, romantic and better than shouting “ I love you Babaaay”.

Trade marking is really a big thing while we approach this ever twisting global e-commerce, businesses of all sizes must learn a great deal about it. Now it's a trademark driven name-economy. Have your marketing departments do a quick tango with your Intellectual Property experts in preparation to the new twists of cyber-branding and global domain name issues. Best do it quickly or you’re fired too...Just kidding.

Copyright © 2004
All Rights Reserved
Naseem Javed

About the Author
Naseem Javed is recognized as a world authority on Corporate Image and Global Cyber-Branding. Author of Naming for Power , he introduced The Laws of Corporate Naming in the 80's and also founded ABC Namebank International, a consultancy established in Toronto and New York a quarter century ago.

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