Protecting Names, Identities and Trademarks

tHooping.org covers the world wide web of hooping so you don’t have to. Consequently, I’m often the first to run into a new hooper who has taken on a performance or business name or identity I know someone else has previously laid claim to. Yesterday I was reading a hooping article on FitSugar.com that included a video with the name “Hoopalicious.” Watching the video, I didn’t see the Hoopalicious we all know. She came to mind, of course, as she’s one of the most established names in hooping. I found myself watching instead watching a film of Vikki Scovell’s hoop class. In this case the confusion was minor, but if you’ve worked hard to build a name for yourself, as a performer and/or a business person, identity is everything.

About a year ago HoopGirl was faced with taking legal action against someone who was using her name, about the same time Revolva was met with a similar challenge. Recently, it happened to her again when a second new hooper decided to use the name Revolver, prompting the original to open discussion and start looking for a solution.

Having taken the legal steps, she contacted Revolver #2 to let her know her names are trademarked, asking if she could choose a unique identity. “She was a total sweetheart about it, but the fact that this happened twice in one year makes me believe that it will keep happening, not just to me,” she explained, “which sucks for both the person who has to say, ‘Hey, you’re using my identity’ and the person who didn’t check hard enough and suddenly has to change all of her stuff.”

Are there other communities that may have previously dealt with a similar issue that have come up with a system to help address it? Actually, there are. In the beautiful bastion of burlesque, as well as in the rough and raucous world of roller derby, both keep a database of in-use names. While the database doesn’t provide legal protection, it certainly is a good resource, giving a newcomer one place to go to look to see if the name they’d like to use is already taken.

As Revolva told Hooping.org, “It’s hard to just google a name because it’s like trying to see if there’s already a particular type of minnow in the ocean. What if you’re one letter off in your spelling? You know – trying to look for “The Whirly Girls” for example, not realizing there’s already The WhirlyGirlz.” It is a most definite problem and it’s one that is likely to continue to happen more frequently as our community continues to grow too.

I know that I have gotten Hooping Powers and Hooper Power mixed up on more than one occasion, and I’m someone who actively stays on top of these things. So as a public service to the community our Hooping Names Directory here was born.

The Hooping Names Directory is now open to help eliminate such problems in the future. Simply leave your information in the comment section and the list will be periodically organized and alphabetized for easy viewing. We hope this will help everyone avoid similar situations in the future and we thank you all for your participation in helping to build a community where everyone can grow and prosper.

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