Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ownership and the Power of Networks

An invitation to learn about "The Power of Human Networks®" crossed my desk recently. There's still time for you to join the webinar hosted by HR.com and featuring Myra Norton of Community Analytics among others.

I was fascinated to learn that Community Analytics now owns a registered trademark for "The Power of Human Networks®". Thank goodness they don't have a patent on human networks, or I'd be out of business.

Networks by nature tend to blur ownership for the benefit of collective power, and registering a trademark is among the clearest ways to claim ownership and thereby increase individual power. Wow! Fascinated by the interplay of these three concepts, I searched the US Patent and Trademark Office database to see who else owns a stake in "power" and "networks". The owners of these trademarks are surprisingly few. One is TheSquare.com, whose CEO owns "The Power of Your Network. Squared®". Hardly a threat to Community Analytics. The only real competition I see in the trademark archives is "Strategic Power Networks®", which is owned by strategic futurist Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, whose firm Global Foresight helps clients "Get to the future... Fast."

No review of "network" trademarks ("power"-ful or otherwise) would be complete without a bow to Sun Microsystems, which registered "The Network Is the Computer®" back in 1996. The slogan is only more powerful 12 years later. Sometimes I wonder if Sun got to the future a bit too fast with its slogan. Network power, just like a good joke, requires a talent for timing.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License and is copyrighted (c) 2008 by Connective Associates LLC except where otherwise noted.

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