My focus in this write-up is on your Brand Name which is an integral part of your overall brand. We’ll talk more about other aspects of your brand later.
Let me tell you a little part of the history of the Escalator?
You know the escalator, right? Yeah, that’s it in the picture.
Long, long ago, there was nothing called the ‘escalator’ (a moving staircase which carries people between floors of a building).
There were a few inventors who came up with designs for a moving staircase and even patented those inventions but they were never put to work. The first patent is credited to Nathan Ames, but that has nothing to do with this write-up.
Anyway, the different inventors called it different names like ‘Revolving Stairs’, ‘Stairway’, ‘Endless Conveyor or Elevator’ and ‘Inclined Elevator’. Only the ‘Inclined Elevator’ was ever built but in very limited quantity.
It wasn’t until sometime around May, 1895 that Charles Seeberger started his own drawings, building on already existing patents which he had bought. In 1899, he, in partnership with Otis Elevator Company, produced the first commercial escalator which won first prize at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle.
In a very smart business move, Seeberger trademarked the word ‘Escalator’to coincide with the 1990 Paris Exposition Universelle which he won. This meant that ‘Escalator’ was now his brand.
He had every right to trademark it anyway since he created the word ‘Escalator’. According to Seeberger, in 1895, his lawyer advised him to name his invention and he consulted a latin lexicon, adopted ‘Scala’ as the root word, ‘E’ as a prefix and ‘Tor’ as suffix, which, combined in his own rough translation, meant ‘means of traversing from’.
Since he had made ‘Escalator’ his brand, every other inventor or manufacturer of similar inventions had to sell theirs in a different name. The Peelle Company called theirs ‘Motorstair’, Westinghouse sold theirs as ‘Electric Stairway’, while Haughton Elevator Company called theirs ‘Moving Stairs’.
Unfortunately for Seeberger, even though trademarks can last forever and he should have forever enjoyed monopoly over the word ‘Escalator’ which he invented, in 1950, he lost the ‘Escalator’ brand by an order of Court. This made it possible for anybody to use the word ‘Escalator’.
What a grave loss it was. Why? How come?
What went wrong? Can it happen to you?
In Part 2 of this series, I will tell you the mistake that led to the loss and how you should avoid such mistakes before you lose your brand name.
I hope you found value in this article?
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