We pause to address the distressing discovery that Float Pod Technologies has issued cease and desist letters to anyone using the term “float pod” in a commercial sense. Although considered to be a general term used widely throughout the float industry, Float Pod Technologies was able to trademark “Float Pod” in 2013 and now are taking action against those who they claim are violating their intellectual property rights.
Of the many questions raised by this controversy, the first is differentiating what is legal versus what is moral and ethical. Although within their legal rights, the company’s actions have been perceived throughout the float community as bullying. Many are also shocked that such a general term could be trademarked to begin with.
What can each of us who disagree with their actions do to stand up for what we believe is right? Dylan and Amy identify holes in the company’s claim that they were the first to use “float pod” in a commercial sense and discuss how such examples could be used by anyone interested in submitting a petition to cancel the trademark.
Top Ten Reasons Float Pod Therapies Pods Have Zero Competition from Alden Witte on Vimeo. Nick explaining the top ten reasons they have no competition and using the term “float pod” as a generalized term (minute 5:34)
Floataway – Show Sponsor
Float Conference – Show Sponsor
Consulting information with Dylan
video of Nick explaining the top ten reasons they have no competition and using the term “float pod” as a generalized term (minute 5:34)
Petition to Cancel a Trademark
FTA page using “float pod”
Graham and Ashkahn 2014 Float Conference speech
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colin stanwell-smith says
My understanding of trademark law is based on UK law but may be relevant. A trade mark should not consist of normal words which are used within the industry. so in this case I would imagine the new word floatpod might be protectable but the two words float pod should not be.
Secondly the patent offices of the world including USA became very lax about examination preferring to leave it to others to complain, so it became possible to patent perpetual motion machines, for example. The regrettable policy clearly favours larger companies over smaller because expensive lawyers get involved.
However it remains true that any registration can be challenged at any time on the basis that the words are in common use, or were or have become so. That is how Hoover lost its trade mark on vacuum cleaners. And for sure that is why there is now a cease and desist attempt. My view is that the registration (whose number does not appear on the letter, and is legally required on such a letter.) could be challenged by official objection to the registration office. At present my view ( I am not a lawyer) is that the letter has no legal status because of that omission. So my view is that it can be ignored until the need for a challenge arises.
I get both sides, I do. But I have to agree with Dylan. “Float pod” should be a generic term and not trademarked.
Let them alienate themselves from the float family community. Let them build walls, as Amy said.
Someone call Nick and see how he really feels, until then we are just assuming his intentions.
If he is being malicious, let’s petition the trademark and let the system work.
Gabor Katzirz says
Awesome podcast. I applaud your courage for sharing this with us.
The main thing that drew my wife and I to this awesome community/industry is the amazing, supportive and compassionate people.
Having said that, IMO, this action just feels wrong and feels like it doesn’t belong. I agree with the viewpoint that through this action they are building walls and alienating themselves from the community.