Higher Rock Education - Economics Blog

What's In a Name?
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Higher Rock Education recently secured a trademark from the US Patent and Trademark Office. It was an interesting, time consuming, and expensive process. We did it to protect our name and brand identity. Initially our name was Higher Ground Education, but while completing our application we discovered a firm in California with a similar name in business education. Understandably, our lawyers advised us to change our name because in their opinion the likelihood of being approved by the patent office was minimal. The consequences of not following their advice could be that we would be issued a cease and desist letter, at which time we would be forced to decide whether to pursue litigation or give up our logo after spending much time and money developing a web site, attending trade shows, and building our name. We also wanted to protect ourselves from another company using our name to build their reputation or web search optimization. The good news about brand identity is people know you. The bad news about brand identity is people know you. A company’s reputation determines which of those sentences is more accurate. Companies go to great pains to develop a reputation and are willing to spend a lot of money protecting it. Visit the link below to see some recent examples of large companies suing small companies.

Mental Floss - David and Goliath Trademark Disputes

Proverbs 22:1 …A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold. “A good name” means a good reputation. Building and maintaining a good reputation are valuable financially and socially. During biblical times the family business was often passed down from generation to generation. Families remained in the same community and likely served the same customers for many decades. An individual’s identity was tied to their family, so poor behavior of any one member was a direct reflection on the entire family unit. If a son cheated someone, the family business could have been jeopardized. It is certainly understandable that a family’s reputation was worth more than gold because their livelihood depended on it. Many examples in the Bible illustrate how individual behavior impacted an entire family, but perhaps there is no better example than Adam and Eve. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden to work and keep it (Genesis 2:15). They were in the gardening business! They disobeyed God’s law and the whole human race fell into sin. Their names were tarnished, and we as their descendants have been baring the consequences ever since!

Today, an employee’s action may reflect on a company. Domino’s Pizza paid dearly for the unforgivable behavior of two employees who videoed themselves tainting a pizza in 2009. Domino’s Employees hurt Domino’s image.

Do family members value their name as much today as families in biblical times?  Most people get defensive if a derogatory comment is made about a family member. People are quick to file a law suit. But are people as concerned about the consequences of their actions on their family? I would argue that today people continue to be proud of their heritage and support their families, but they care less about the consequences on their families than in the past – probably because the consequences are less pronounced today. Why might this be the case?

One reason might be that the family unit has become smaller. Members of families tend to go their separate ways. My wife and I encouraged our children to pursue careers they were interested in – even if it meant moving to another part of the world.  Fewer families operate family run businesses than several generations ago. My father grew up on a farm. He frequently related how each family member depended on each other and had responsibilities. He understood that what he did reflected on his family.

Most of us are still proud of our culture and family, but that does not necessarily equate to feeling part of a team. I wonder, is the importance of a family name deteriorating? If so, has this contributed to some of our social problems? I believe a good family name is still more valuable than gold – but I am not sure I am in the majority.


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