Tag Archives: dex

Co-working / Dex Roadtrip – Toronto


Here is a short video of the Toronto stop of the Co-working / Dex Roadtrip.  In Toronto we hosted the event at the Centre for Social Innovation which is an amazing co-working space. 

By Scott Annan

We’re Crowdsourcing our new product name

Last week I wrote about the issues we were having after receiving a "Cease and Desist Letter" from a large company.  Based largely on the feedback on this blog, we have decided to "crowdsource" our product name and ask people of the startup community, and technology community at large to help us find a suitable alternative to "DEX".

I still think that this kind of reaction by all businesses needs to change.  While we have openly blogged about our process and as we try to develop our product collaboratively, some companies continue to pay a team of lawyers to “monitor the internet” and guard them against other people.  I think that lawyers and businesses need to update their “cease and desist” letters from aggressive and threatening warnings to “inform and engage” letters that seek to educate and engage their “potential competition” and their customers, and that they need to get involved in the ongoing dialog that is taking place – whether they are listening or not.

Please take a moment to suggest a name on our website and vote for the name that you think would be best.


By Scott Annan

Startup Case Study: Cease & Desist Letter

Last week we received a cease and desist (C&D) letter from a lawyer representing a large company that felt we were using their trademarked name illegitimately.  Rather, I suspect, we received a letter from a law firm who’s responsibility is to protect the company’s assets including any trademarks, servicemarks, or other IP.  I doubt many people in the company have ever heard (or care) about our startup.

Look, I respect others’ claims to intellectual property, and I don’t think people should be able to benefit from another company’s investment in marketing and goodwill, but I still find the whole concept around C&Ds for trademarks very distasteful.  The sole purpose of the letter is to threaten.  It’s called a "Cease and Desist" letter, not a "Inform & Engage" letter.  And the biggest frustration is that it results in excessive legal fees – which break the spirit of a startup when you’re bootstrapping a business.

Here’s the case:

Our product name, DEX, is for a professional relationship management and CRM application targeted to small and medium businesses.  Personally, it allows you to keep track of your professional relationships.  For small businesses, it allows you track your sales and customer engagement.

Their product, Dex Knows, is an online yellow pages directory and offline phone book / magazine combo.

They believe / assert that our use of the name may cause confusion and that we benefit from their goodwill.  I believe that consumers will not be confused, that our product is very different than theirs, and that there are over a dozen other product and company names that use the term Dex.

So what would you do?

  1. Fight it.  Can you afford it?  Cases like these are a bit like a poker match, do you ante up if you can’t afford to go "all in"?
  2. Rollover.  How good is your plan B (if you actually had a plan B)?
By Scott Annan

Try to be Funny, Win a Shirt

I am sure everyone’s already heard about our "almost famous" t-shirt caption contest through our blog: Mercury Rising.

In case you haven’t, we are looking for witty captions we can place on t-shirts, mugs, posters, billboards, airplane banners, baseball game megatrons, etc…

You, being one of my wittiest friends, have a better than average chance of submitting the best caption!

So if you could take just a minute to read the blog post, and offer your best one-liner in the comments section below, I’ll send you one of the very first dex t-shirts(!)

Here is the site: http://mercurygrove.com/blog/160

And if you have other funny friends who love to compete and could use more classic shirts, please send them the link.

Thanks a lot for your help – and best of luck!

By Scott Annan