Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 9:13 am | Fair 47º


Business Accused of Trademark Infringement

Entrepreneur Media sends cease-and-desist letters to the startup claiming that it owns rights to the word 'entrepreneur'

Entrepreneur Media Inc., publisher of the monthly Entrepreneur Magazine, has threatened to sue Santa Barbara startup blog over alleged trademark infringement.

Entrepreneur Media sent founder Matthew Burgess cease-and-desist letters saying that EMI had trademarked “entrepreneur” years ago.

“I am surprised,” Burgess said. “I think it’s very aggressive, and it shows a level of disrespect for entrepreneurs who they hold out as the reason they do what they do. Their stated mission is supporting what (entrepreneurs) do.”

EMI’s lawyers sent letters to Burgess’ business Formation Solutions, a professional services firm that helps clients create a new corporation or LLC, threatening legal action for the use of the domains and

“Your use of marks that are nearly identical to Entrepreneur Media’s ENTREPRENEUR® mark in connection with goods and/or services that are nearly identical to Entrepreneur Media’s goods and services is likely to cause confusion, mistake and/or deception regarding the source of your services,” the letter states. “Furthermore, your unauthorized registration and use of a domain name encompassing Entrepreneur Media’s famous trademark and trade name violates the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. ... Accordingly, Entrepreneur Media hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further use of the ENTREPRENEUR® mark or any other mark confusingly similar thereto, and that you transfer the and domain names to Entrepreneur Media in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Registrar.”

The law is designed to prevent consumer confusion, protect electronic commerce and “owners of trademarks substantial revenues and consumer goodwill,” according to the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.

But Burgess questions the “goods and services” that offers, which he intends to be a public service recognizing the hard work of local businesses. He maintains that his blog doesn’t interfere with consumers making well-informed decisions.

“As a business owner, I understand why it’s important to defend intellectual property,” Burgess said, “but I have been looking around at other media published, and it seems they are taking it a little too far.”

EMI did not respond to Noozhawk’s requests for comment.

The company has challenged startups such as, and

“It looks to me they send cease-and-desist letters sometimes against entities that don’t have the resources to defend themselves,” Burgess said. “Other larger companies that use entrepreneur in similar fashions haven’t been challenged and you have to ask why.”

Burgess said he has included disclaimers on both of his blogs that indicate they have nothing to do with EMI.

“We note that FSI has placed a small disclaimer on the websites containing the SBEntrepreneur and VeniceEntrepreneur marks; however, this measure is insufficient to prevent confusion given the high degree of similarity between the SBEntrepreneur and VeniceEntrepreneur marks, and Entrepreneur Media Inc. (“Entrepreneur Media”)’s Entrepreneur mark,” EMI wrote in response. “FSI’s continued unauthorized use is likely to confuse the public into believing that its websites and social media pages are operated by Entrepreneur Media, or that there is a license, affiliation or sponsorship between FSI and Entrepreneur Media.”

Burgess said he believes EMI’s threats will only do harm to its reputation and brand. 

“I think anytime anyone discusses what’s happened publicly, I feel that it does harm their public image,” he said. “You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks that that word is something they can own.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Elizabeth Wagner
"I consider myself to be an up front and honest agent and willing to talk my clients out of purchasing a property that isn’t right for them or won’t meet their needs in a year or two."

Full Profile >