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Lots of tasty cupcakes with icing on serving tray (Elena Elisseeva/Elena Elisseeva)
Lots of tasty cupcakes with icing on serving tray (Elena Elisseeva/Elena Elisseeva)

Small Business Briefing

Dreams are sweet, but passion drives a business Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

Are you a dreamer? Or are you passionate? For business you need both

“A dream often is a snapshot moment of idyllic perfection. A passion is an ongoing burning that compels you. I believe in having both,” writes Tom Searcy in this article on Inc.com.

Mr. Searcy dreamed of becoming a lawyer one day, confessing he enjoyed the trappings that would come along with the job (i.e. the respect, the briefcases, the importance of the role). Ultimately, he confesses, he lacked the passion that would see him through. Now he advises friends and clients – whether they’re planning to open coffee shops, T-shirts stores or social media startups – to consider all facets of business ownership, not just glamorous parts.

He offers a quick list of questions to help you distinguish between your dreams and your passion.

The shame game

Start-ups embroiled in trademark disputes have resorted to a new tactic: online shaming.

Unable to shell out for hefty legal battles, smaller companies – like Keeprecipes.com, a startup which is currently scuffling with AdKeeper.com Inc. over its use of the “K” for “Keep” on its website ( read more here) – are posting the cease-and-desist letter on Chillingeffects.org. The website is part of a project started by several U.S. universities to collects and analyzes legal complaints about online activity, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law.

By posting cease-and-desist letters and running agressive social media campaigns, some companies have reaped serious rewards, including free legal representation and thousands of dollars in donations.

“Trademarks are meant to protect your image, so it doesn’t really help to look like you’re coming down hard on the little guy,” said Wendy Seltzer, a Yale Law School fellow who founded Chillingeffects.org According to the to U.S. district court records, trademarks disputes are on the rise, with claims rising 5 per cent to 3,692 in the year ended Mar. 2011.

But be warned: not all shame tactics will deter big corporations from making moves to protect valuable tradements.

David Bernstein, a partner of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP says that many trademark infringement claims raise legitimate concerns and shaming tactics can backfire by highlighting infringing conduct. But he also underscores the revolutionary power of social media, saying it “gives defendants a new way to try to embarrass trademark owners who may be overreaching,” he said.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Aboriginal Business Day

On Mar. 28 at Toronto's Gladstone hotel, come out for networking, guest speakers, panel discussions, and skills sessions for aspiring and established Aboriginal entrepreneurs. More information is available here.

FABTECH

North America's largest metalforming, fabricating, welding and finishing event is coming to Toronto from Mar. 20 to 22. For more details on the event, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Pop-up thrift shop in Toronto draws a stylish crowd

Report on Small Business web editor Katherine Scarrow followed and photographed the curation of one of the Art of Reuse's temporary clothing installations in Toronto, which operate for a limited time and then disappear

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Display ads rarely get clicked. So why bother?

In front of the right eyes, display ads can build brand recognition and entire customers to visit your real-world store

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

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