Using "Glowforge" in your business name or on website?

legal
qa

#1

Hey glowforge team!

Bit of a legal/Policy question for you.

Say a new glowforge owner started running a business using the glowforge as a primary tool and draw.

Say they started that business, website or facebook page, etc., using a name that contained “glowforge”, (some bad examples: denverglowforgegirl.com, glowforgeart4u.com, etc.).

Since “glowforge” is trademarked, would that person/business/website be asked to shut down/name change?

Or would the potentially mutually beneficial SEO results and possibility for affiliate marketing mean it could exist? Or would it be case-by-case, or only possible with prior discussion and permission, or only a problem if it was a big enough company to draw notice?

I’d gotten really excited about an idea for a bit there, and think I could use it to get people on the glowforge owners boat, as well as running a more artistic and service-based side business, but I don’t want to set it up in a way that hurts you guys in some way, or just isn’t legally acceptable, or that I’d have to scrap and start over, so I figured it was probably worth the ask. :slight_smile:

Thank you!


#2

One thing I do know about copyright law is they, the lawyers, HAVE to tell people to not use their trademarked name no matter what. Why? Because if company X is a nice people and Glowforge liked them let them get away with it, then evil company Z can use the name too because Glowforge didn’t complain about X and the Judge would have to side with company Z.

For affiliates and such that all has to be done with contracts and such usually.

I myself thought of a name like that and decided not to in case I want to branch our to other kinds lasers and CnC machines etc later on.


#3

IANAL and IANGF, but yeah, using the name as part of your name would be a prima facie trademark violation, and you’d likely get a cease&desist letter right quick. You could also lose registration of any domain that contained the trademark. It’s possible that GF might license use of the name on payment of some kind of consideration and other conditions, but I wouldn’t bet a business on it without talking to their lawyers first. You might be able to use the fact that you were using a GF in the informational copy about your business without running afoul of the law, as long as you made the separation between you and them clear.

That said, I’m now thinking it might be really cool if the GF software could be instructed to insert some kind of really tiny cute “Made with Glowforge” logo on cut pieces as an option. (Yeah, I know there would be authenticity issues. Maybe just for stuff from the Glowforge catalog, as a promotion.)


#4

That’s a huge compliment, @emmahrouleau, and thank you so much for asking!

As the other posters note, we’d have to regretfully ask you to change any name that could cause confusion. So while using Glowforge in your brand name would be off limits, it would be OK to say “Products made with Glowforge 3D laser printers” or a similar true statement of fact.


#5

As a bit of a follow up. Should we want to say made on a Glowforge, what’s Glowforge’s preferred attribution. I’ve seen:
glowforge, Glowforge, and you have just tossed in Glowforge 3D laser printers.

so referring to device or company what text would you prefer?

And hopefully no crazy arguments pop up over laser printer. I think that discussion has been talked to death.


#6

Glowforge lol


#7

I think it is ‘The Ultimate Glowforge of Uberness with Laz0rs’.


#8

Both grammar and he law say trademarks are adjectives, technically, so you should say:

  • Glowforge 3D laser printer
  • Glowforge CNC laser cutter/engraver
  • Glowforge laser
  • Glowforge printer
    or,
  • Glowforge wondrous box of magic and light

#9

Although a lot of forum members will be using it as a verb. As in " I’m gonna go Glowforge me some Christmas Presents" Or “can you Glowforge me some wedding decorations?” or “I could Glowforge one of those for you” :grin:


#10

Is there a difference between the word “Glowforge” and “GlowForge” because the second is what I usually try to use in conversation…or is it “semantics really” ?


#11

And then GF is going to have to run expensive ads the way Xerox used to, telling people not to do that lest they have to defend their trademark from genericide. (I wonder how many of us are old enough to remember Brother Domnic)


#12

Yay! Finally a time-based cultural reference I don’t remember. I’m not that old after all! Woohoo! :grinning:


#13

Well, as a brand we would never use the capital F, it’s always Glowforge. :slight_smile:


#14

As long as you accent the second syllable in making it a verb.


#15

Fun fact! Companies go out of their way to keep trademarks from being used as a verb. Because it weakens the trademark and makes it more of a generic term. So google never googles anything, they perform searches by typing queries. And theyre probably the only ones.

That’s not really a fun fact… More slightly topical general knowledge. I’ve misrepresented it.


#16

Band-aid had to do that during the 90s I believe. Had to remind people they are called bandages or they were going to lose the Band-aid name as their marketing had done too good of a job putting the name out there. Being synonymous isn’t necessarily a good thing.


#17

bandaid still does that now. if you listen to their commercials, it’s bandaid brand bandages.


#18

Personally I’d say ‘print’. :slight_smile:


#19

not cut? or “laser” with the air quotes? Print just sounds too much like making a card or printing something ( at least until the phrase gets expanded in the near future). I guess they do use the term for 3d printing now , it’s just that most people hear “print something” and think of their inkjet or laser printer rather than a 3d- object. Again, until the laser cutter becomes the new microwave along with 3d printers. - just my 2 cents :relaxed:


#20

Zap? Fry? Blast? Disintegrate? C’mon, there have to be some terms from pulp scifi that would work.