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Old 06-06-2010, 12:37 PM   #21
Dale F. Saran
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wright View Post
Well put Katherine, that's how I interpreted it as well. But this interpretation seems to be contradicted by HQ's stance (Dale's statement):
"Level I's get the knowledge of the CF methodology for their one time seminar fee and the limited ability to say they are a Level I on a business card and/or bio/resume."

It sounds like legal CYA stuff, which is completely understandable. My point is that this should be clarified somewhere besides mid-page in FAQ, in which case the level 1 cert seems like an excellent place to do that.
Mike:

Katherine is correct. My statement was terse and I don't have time to conduct an IP seminar on the Boards, but the point is this: CF has an absolute legal obligation to (a) control the use of its mark, and (b) ensure the quality of the goods or services being offered under the mark.

From these two legal requirements, a lot of what HQ is doing flow naturally and logically. The certification's new written requirements and the accreditation process through ANSI naturally and necessarily flow from (b). It doesn't happen overnight, however. We've been working on that for over a year and have sunk a lot of time and energy (and $$) into that process. Ultimately, it protects and helps YOU - the people who attend the cert and have a Level I.

Part (a) is actually enshrined (if I'm not mistaken) in the Level I license agreement that all Level I's sign at their cert or during the registration process (I have to check - if it's not, it's in the offing). That comes after you, also.

Bottom line, though, is that if we simply say "hey, do whatever you want with your Level I, market, make money using our name, and be fruitful" then the CF trademark is in jeopardy of being lost if we wind up in court. It makes it much, much harder to go after the thieves and hacks who claim to be training "CrossFit" who don't know $hit about what we do, think they do, and then hurt someone or simply give us a bad rep by their stupidity. We can't go after then if we're letting others rampantly use it without license. You cannot be selective in policing the mark.

As to your hypothetical conversation, let me offer two answers (and scenarios) - the practical reality and the legal requirements. As noted above, we cannot sanction unlicensed use of our name in commerce - that's what the Lanham Act protects and prohibits. Practically speaking, however, if you ended the conversation by saying "yes, I do CrossFit" the CF police are not going to descend upon you and throw you a beating and take your Level I away.

So, let's call that a de minimus infraction. If, however, you continued to "expand your empire" by word of mouth and started to impinge upon a local affiliate and we receive a complaint, we're probably going to remind you of what you can and cannot say - though my guess is that word of mouth "marketing" is going to be of such a minute character as to not threaten and Affil. But if you start hanging flyers or marketing on the web, then we have to tell you to knock it off. We HAVE to.

I hope this answers your question. This isn't "legalese" or some lawyer mumbo-jumbo. These are the simple requirements of owning a trademark. If there's any question, I would invite you to do a little research on the Lanham Act, read some case law, and then give me a call or shout at dale at crossfit.com. I think you'll find that we're being neither arbitrary nor trying to double-talk. In fact, as I have stated before, when I went to my Level I - there was no right to use the name AT ALL - either on a business card or a resume. We made this "concession" as it were, after requests from seminar attendees and because we wanted to give something to those who attended - while still ensuring the control of the mark. And, of course, people still aren't happy with that.

And I'm not snapping at you, Mike. Sometimes it seems, however, that no good deed goes unpunished and we're darned if we do and darned if we don't. Reminds me of that old Far Side comic, linked here - (wfs).

http://alistair.vox.com/library/phot...bfb9f685e.html

Perhaps my favorite of all time.

Cheers,

Dale
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:54 PM   #22
Sam Ser
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale F. Saran View Post
As to your hypothetical conversation, let me offer two answers (and scenarios) - the practical reality and the legal requirements. As noted above, we cannot sanction unlicensed use of our name in commerce - that's what the Lanham Act protects and prohibits. Practically speaking, however, if you ended the conversation by saying "yes, I do CrossFit" the CF police are not going to descend upon you and throw you a beating and take your Level I away.

So, let's call that a de minimus infraction. If, however, you continued to "expand your empire" by word of mouth and started to impinge upon a local affiliate and we receive a complaint, we're probably going to remind you of what you can and cannot say - though my guess is that word of mouth "marketing" is going to be of such a minute character as to not threaten and Affil. But if you start hanging flyers or marketing on the web, then we have to tell you to knock it off. We HAVE to.
dale, to my very non-lawyer eyes, this looks you're saying that mike can tell people that he's teaching them crossfit... but only if he's not very good at it and only a few people are willing to train with him... but if he IS good at it and the people who train with him tell all their friends to do the same, then you'll shut him down.

i hope i got that wrong.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:59 PM   #23
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

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Originally Posted by Sam Ser View Post
dale, to my very non-lawyer eyes, this looks you're saying that mike can tell people that he's teaching them crossfit... but only if he's not very good at it and only a few people are willing to train with him... but if he IS good at it and the people who train with him tell all their friends to do the same, then you'll shut him down.
If he's good and has lots of clients, then he can afford to affiliate. Problem solved.

Katherine
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:52 PM   #24
Sam Ser
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
If he's good and has lots of clients, then he can afford to affiliate. Problem solved.

Katherine
maybe mike can afford to affiliate right now. hey, maybe you can, too. that's not the point.

if this is about quality control, well, coach has always said the cream will rise to the top, and hq has said it would not police its affiliates because the market would take care of that by itself.

if it's about "control of the brand," though, then mike is right to worry about what value his level 1 cert has for training others in crossfit without affiliating; it was part of his consideration for plunking down a fair amount of money.

so actually, katherine, it seems to me that the way to "solve the problem" is for hq to be more specific in its guidelines for what can and can not be done with a level 1. maybe they'll say that you can train up to 10 clients, but no more, without affiliating. or something else. but dale says himself that their current standard is pretty fuzzy.
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:00 PM   #25
Sam Ser
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

further...

the way i understand what dale is saying is that a level 1 is sort of like getting certified in cpr. that means you can practice it, but it doesn't mean that you can teach it. and that makes sense to me.

what doesn't make sense to me is that the way to teach it ("it" being crossfit) -- that is, to affiliate -- doesn't include further training and certification that provides a higher level of knowledge and training aptitude that, to keep this analogous, becoming a cpr trainer would. it just means paying more money.

now, i'm not against anyone making money. i just see an incongruity in crossfit certifying someone as a trainer of crossfit and then telling them that they are not allowed to/not fit to train others in crossfit.

(shrug.)
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:51 PM   #26
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

Again, I don't speak for CFHQ, but it seems to me completely reasonable to expect anyone teaching Crossfit on a commercial scale to affiliate.

It would be completely legal for them to insist that only affiliates are allowed to teach, period, end of discussion. It's their mark, they get to decide who can use it. A "no exceptions" policy would make Dale's life easier, I'm sure.

By allowing a certain level of "under-the-radar" instruction, they open the door to this kind of thread, but also maintain friendlier relations with the garage gym contingent. But allowing exceptions only works if non-affiliated trainers stay small. If a commercial scale trainer is allowed to use the CF trademark without affiliating, that undermines both the mark and the affiliate-based business model.

Katherine
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:06 PM   #27
Chris Walls
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

I think what was meant by the word of mouth empire expanding was that the trainer was just going around "mass marketing" himself as teaching CrossFit Classes, without putting anything in print... Not the fact that he was doing such a great job that his clients were spreading the word as is the norm...

But if at some point you get so busy and so popular teaching CrossFit, the right thing to do is affiliate and then it's not an issue. If you have a few clients and you're making a living out of your garage without advertising and enjoying yourself no problem.
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:37 PM   #28
Mike Wright
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale F. Saran View Post
Mike:

Katherine is correct. My statement was terse and I don't have time to conduct an IP seminar on the Boards, but the point is this: CF has an absolute legal obligation to (a) control the use of its mark, and (b) ensure the quality of the goods or services being offered under the mark.

From these two legal requirements, a lot of what HQ is doing flow naturally and logically. The certification's new written requirements and the accreditation process through ANSI naturally and necessarily flow from (b). It doesn't happen overnight, however. We've been working on that for over a year and have sunk a lot of time and energy (and $$) into that process. Ultimately, it protects and helps YOU - the people who attend the cert and have a Level I.

Part (a) is actually enshrined (if I'm not mistaken) in the Level I license agreement that all Level I's sign at their cert or during the registration process (I have to check - if it's not, it's in the offing). That comes after you, also.

Bottom line, though, is that if we simply say "hey, do whatever you want with your Level I, market, make money using our name, and be fruitful" then the CF trademark is in jeopardy of being lost if we wind up in court. It makes it much, much harder to go after the thieves and hacks who claim to be training "CrossFit" who don't know $hit about what we do, think they do, and then hurt someone or simply give us a bad rep by their stupidity. We can't go after then if we're letting others rampantly use it without license. You cannot be selective in policing the mark.

As to your hypothetical conversation, let me offer two answers (and scenarios) - the practical reality and the legal requirements. As noted above, we cannot sanction unlicensed use of our name in commerce - that's what the Lanham Act protects and prohibits. Practically speaking, however, if you ended the conversation by saying "yes, I do CrossFit" the CF police are not going to descend upon you and throw you a beating and take your Level I away.

So, let's call that a de minimus infraction. If, however, you continued to "expand your empire" by word of mouth and started to impinge upon a local affiliate and we receive a complaint, we're probably going to remind you of what you can and cannot say - though my guess is that word of mouth "marketing" is going to be of such a minute character as to not threaten and Affil. But if you start hanging flyers or marketing on the web, then we have to tell you to knock it off. We HAVE to.

I hope this answers your question. This isn't "legalese" or some lawyer mumbo-jumbo. These are the simple requirements of owning a trademark. If there's any question, I would invite you to do a little research on the Lanham Act, read some case law, and then give me a call or shout at dale at crossfit.com. I think you'll find that we're being neither arbitrary nor trying to double-talk. In fact, as I have stated before, when I went to my Level I - there was no right to use the name AT ALL - either on a business card or a resume. We made this "concession" as it were, after requests from seminar attendees and because we wanted to give something to those who attended - while still ensuring the control of the mark. And, of course, people still aren't happy with that.

And I'm not snapping at you, Mike. Sometimes it seems, however, that no good deed goes unpunished and we're darned if we do and darned if we don't. Reminds me of that old Far Side comic, linked here - (wfs).

http://alistair.vox.com/library/phot...bfb9f685e.html

Perhaps my favorite of all time.

Cheers,

Dale
Thanks for your time Dale, never interpreted your post as snapping. I am a MIL Instructor, in the business of evaluating and being evaluated. What some would call snapping, I call constructive feedback.

My intent is not to punish CFHQ's good deed, but to get it clarified. Following a weekend cert and hearing the HQ trainer say "you are now CrossFit certified", it is natural for a person to then ask, "What can I do with it?" It seems to be a question that many have and few have a clear answer for. I agree that the boards is no place for an IP seminar (no idea what that is), this conversation NEEDS to happen at the certs. I sincerely hope this is being considered at HQ.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:58 PM   #29
Sam Ser
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Again, I don't speak for CFHQ, but it seems to me completely reasonable to expect anyone teaching Crossfit on a commercial scale to affiliate.

It would be completely legal for them to insist that only affiliates are allowed to teach, period, end of discussion. It's their mark, they get to decide who can use it. A "no exceptions" policy would make Dale's life easier, I'm sure.

By allowing a certain level of "under-the-radar" instruction, they open the door to this kind of thread, but also maintain friendlier relations with the garage gym contingent. But allowing exceptions only works if non-affiliated trainers stay small. If a commercial scale trainer is allowed to use the CF trademark without affiliating, that undermines both the mark and the affiliate-based business model.

Katherine
katherine, i get that. but the fundamental question still remains: what does certification certify?

consider what you're saying about only affiliates teaching. if the only person who could teach was an affiliate owner, then they could never have non-affiliated level 1 trainers working for them. if affiliation were the standard for who was allowed to train, then there would never be an affiliate that had more than one trainer in it.

maybe what that leaves you with is, you can train others with a level 1, but only at an existing affiliate. that makes more sense... but it still means that new trainers would be "outlaws" if they did the garage thing.

you'd still end up with mike's question: what can i do prior to affiliating? if the answer is "nothing," there's a problem.

and there's also still the problem of dale's justification. if it's about controlling who is representing crossfit and how, well, what the hell is the certification good for if not certifying that you know what crossfit is and how to teach it?! and if their concern is vetting, then why are they not checking every affiliate for the quality of instruction? why do they claim that that is the job of the free market?

again, what is actually being certified at the level 1? and what is the additional qualification provided by affiliation, if it isn't simply franchising?
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:36 AM   #30
Kim Layton
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Re: New Level 1 License Agreement

Dale,

PM sent.
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