Lockheed FCU’s Trademarks Go Nowhere – Not Linked To Domain Names
A previous 2 part article entitled Domain Name Games (on supportcreditunions.com) pointed out that a mantra of internet name guru Big Jim says that it is important to link your trademarks to domain names. The trademarks, properly tied to domain names, works with your website, sending customers directly to your website without the possibility of them getting directed elsewhere. Failure to do this leads to situations where your customers and potential customers, who are trying to find you by searching for one of your trademarked names, get sent to other websites of the same name or similar name. People who get confused in this mass of internet names can easily give up. Everyone is in a big hurry these days, time is precious. How many times have you heard someone just say “screw it, it’s too much hassle” when looking for something on the internet? We have all felt that way one time or another. So making it easy for your customers should be a number one priority.
A search for trademarks for Lockheed Federal Credit Union (hereafter referred to as LFCU) turns up eight records. Taking a look at the trademarks shows that LFCU has missed the boat on most of these, making it harder for customers and potential customers to find them. This includes their new name, which will be launched in July of 2012. Let’s take a look at the trademark names in detail and see what the situation is.
The first name is a trademark for “Logix Smarter Banking”. I can’t reproduce the pictorials on these, but you can search google for the trademark visual and check out the designs yourself (www.trademarkia.com is a great tool for this. The company that provides this is LegalForce Trademarkia) The filing date for this trademark is recent, 5-30-2012, by LFCU’s excellent and professional trademark agents in Seattle. However, when you try to find a connected website for this, www.logixsmarterbanking.com, you go to a holding page at Domains By Proxy, which is a company owned by godaddy founder Bob Parsons. This company, Domains By Proxy, will hold the domain name owner in “secret”, hidden behind a wall of security. So who owns LogixSmarterBanking.com? Maybe Lockheed (LFCU) owns it in secret? But if they do, why not just re-direct the inquiries to their lfcu.com website? The guess is that LFCU does not own it. Since this looks to be their main logo for their new name, not owning the domain could cause a lot of confusion for their customers. A recent check shows that LFCU has obtained the name LogixBanking.com, which re-directs inquiries to their lfcu.com website. A step in the right direction on a long, confusing road. But without the words “credit union” attached, it looks like “Logix” is just another bank.
Next on the list is their trademark called Altis. This is under the category of Insurance and Financial Services, and listed as credit union services, loans, etc. This is a nice strong-sounding name, and was filed on 12-28-2011. Unfortunately, searching www.altis.com does not take you to LFCU, but instead to a company in Australia that is engaged in consulting, information dashboard design, data warehousing, business intelligence, and other web activities. The main IP for this company is in the states, in Sunneyvale, CA., but the company is in Sydney, NSW, the Land of Oz. They have had this great name since March 22, 1996. For a potential LFCU customer seeing the logo and trying to get to lfcu.com, this is a dead-end road, so to speak.
Third is another great sounding name that LFCU came up with: Aviance. This was filed on December 28, 2011, the same date they filed for Altis. The category for this is also Insurance and Financial Services, and states that it is for credit union services, loans, on-line banking, and more. If you try to find LFCU through this website, www.aviance.com, you are taken to a large airport services company. This company, Aviance, says that it is “the first ever alliance of airport services providers in the world. The alliance was created in 1999 to provide carriers with a co-operative alternative to the global handlers. The website is registered to a company in Istanbul, Turkey, and the IP server is somewhere near Kayseri, Turkey. The website seems to date from April 28, 2004, years before LFCU filed for the Aviance trademark. So once again, LFCU’s trademark does not match an internet domain. The latest look at the trademark information shows that a letter of suspension was mailed to LFCU on March 30, 2012. Possibly they are dropping this trademark, or are behind in filing some paperwork?
The fourth trademark is Logix Federal. The filing date for this trademark is given as September 2, 2011, before they filed for either Altis or Aviance. LFCU’s marketing folks must have been on full tilt that last quarter of 2011. The associated domains would be logixfederal.com and logixfederal.org. Both of these domain names are being held by Domains By Proxy, with the true owners shielded from view. Both were created in mid September, 2011, right after LFCU filed for the trademark, so the question is: if LFCU owns these domains why let them go to a dead end holding page at Domains By Proxy? Why not have them re-directed to the main LFCU web address of lfcu.com? Maybe these websites are not owned by LFCU, possibly a domain broker like Big Jim is scanning the trademark applications every day for opportunities. Perhaps one of the internet buccaneers has snagged it. At the moment, it’s a mystery. The domain name game can be a high-stakes game, with stacks of cash on the table, and many operators are scanning the business news looking for just such opportunities.
The fifth trademark to be discussed is Logix. This was also filed on September 2, 2011, a busy time at LFCU. This is also stated to be Insurance, financial services, and credit union activities. This is their most important trademark, as LFCU has announced that Lockheed FCU is changing its name to Logix FCU, so “Logix” will become the main name in July, 2012. “We are proud to announce that LFCU will soon become Logix.” they state on their website. As far as being able to get the domain name for this, the great name logix.com, the chances are about as great as becoming the King of England. Logix.com is owned by Logix, a very old communications company, that has its roots in the great breakup of AT&T, and the founding of American Telco in 1983. This is a major telecommunications company, with over 12,000 customers, based in Houston, Texas. The main IP server is in Oklahoma City. LFCU has made a major mistake in picking a name that they can never have as a domain .com. Think of the large amounts of money LFCU will be spending on this name change, legal, signage, letterheads, advertising, trademarks, etc. And after all that, when someone driving down the street spots the name Logix on the side of a building and searches on an Iphone or computer for logix.com, it will show up as the great Logix of Houston, TX, a large telecommunications company, not as LFCU. (There are alternatives of this that can still be pursued, such as a name that has “Logix” in it, that is a strong-sounding name that can be trademarked and also get the .com and other extensions that go with it. It’s never too late for this.) Meanwhile, what would Big Jim, the domain name whiz, say about this? I’m not asking, as the verbiage would too colorful for this article, and I have no reason to upset him, because ballistic he would go, and mere mortals like myself would have to run and hide. You get the idea.
But while we are on the logix domain subject, what about logic.org? That is at least in the ballpark, and something that LFCU should own. The current registrant of this domain is one Chris Nielsen from Minneapolis, MN, but the domain is hosted on a site in Germany. Is Mr. Nielsen a domain broker? Or is he acting on behalf of someone in Germany? It was created on January 1, 2011, months before LFCU filed for their Logix trademark in the fourth quarter of 2011. This great name is stated on one site to be for sale. Why LFCU did not grab this right away when they filed for their trademark is puzzling, to say the least. But this is still possible as of this writing.
The sixth trademark is another, older version of Logix Smarter Banking. This is the same name as the first trademark discussed, but the artwork on the name is not as fancy as the more recent one. This earlier rendition of the name was filed on September 2, 2011, along with Logix Federal and Logix, a busy time for the LFCU’s trademark agent. It was also stated to be in credit union activities and financial services. As stated before, the names logixsmarterbanking.com and .org both go to a Domains By Proxy holding page.
The seventh trademark on the list is more of a slogan than a logo. It is: “It Pays To Be A Member”. This was filed back on March 3, 2004, and classed as the usual insurance and financial affairs. The domain name itpaystobeamember.com is registered to something called Industrial Credit Union of Bellingham, WA, and was created in May 13, 2009. It goes to a link page type of website. The IP server is located in NY. Checking out itpaystobeamember.org, it was created on July 27, 2011, and if you type this in to your browser it will take you to something called The Indiana Farm Bureau. LFCU’s trademark was years before either of these domains. Their failure to grab both the .com and .org for ItPaysToBeAMember is baffling, they could have easily owned these for chump change, and redirected visitors to the lfcu.com site.
The last trademark on the list is another that is more of a slogan type, although a strong, good one: MyMoneyManager. This would also be a powerful .com name. It was filed on January 29, 2002. Currently mymoneymanager.com goes to a website called Ferguson Asset Management, Inc, an independent money management firm and registered investment adviser. They filed for this on September 1, 1998, years before Lockheed filed for their trademark. As for the other extension for this, the mymoneymanager.org, it is registered to a UK firm, Energy Internet Group. This was created on March 23, 2012, very recently, and typing in the domain goes to a link page with financial links. LFCU could have had this name years ago. The latest information on this trademark is that no statement of use was filed, and this great name was abandoned by LFCU on June 18, 2003.
As internet name guru Big Jim says, trademarks should be connected to domain names in all the possibilities that can be thought of, with every .com, .org, .net and dot everything. This study of LFCU’s trademarks can be a lesson learned for other credit unions, as well as for LFCU. Link the domains for your trademarks back to your main website. But first you have to obtain those domains, something that LFCU has often failed to do.