Sam Zawadzki is CEO and Co-Founder of a firm called Property Technology Ltd.
Founded last year, the company interacts with portals to provide appointment booking software – the idea being that leads are fully qualified: more “we’re ready to put down our deposit” and less “we’re thinking of maybe possibly considering moving house at some point potentially in the distant future”. Not a bad idea.
However, in a moment of madness last week Zawadzki ordered his lawyers to trademark the word ‘PropTech’.
That means every time anyone in the UK wants to publically use or publish the word ‘PropTech’, they would have to ask for permission (and potentially pay a fee) to Zawadzki before doing so.
It’s worth repeating that last line to fully take it in.
Seemingly unaware that applying to trademark a word used frequently across the global property industry could potentially annoy some people, Zawadzki issued a swift apology in the form of an open letter via Linkedin.
“Our trademark application was made in good faith as we wanted to protect our right to trade under an abbreviated version of our LTD name. It was never our intention to preclude others from using the term PropTech or to create a monopoly right that would stop other people using what is unequivocally an industry term and a collective term for the property technology community.”
Zawadzki was happy to create a lawyer shaped hole under his bus and proceed to throw them under, “On advice of our trademark attorney we also applied for the trademark of ‘PropTech’…retrospectively it is very easy to see the naivety in this decision”.
The beleaguered CEO confirmed that after wide scale backlash he will be withdrawing the trademark application, saying it was “distressing to have received so many aggressive and unnecessarily rude messages from my contemporaries” on his attempted application.
An up-and-coming entrepreneur, Zawadzki has recently raised £150,000 from investors including IBM to fund the Property Technology Ltd business – so he must be doing something right.
DMZ suggests Zawadzki should continue this swash-buckling crusade to trademark frequently used words.
What about keeping it simple to start with by trademarking the word ‘Property’?
Then you could go broader and trademark the real big guns: ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.
The possibilities are endless.
Click here to read Zawadzki’s open letter in full.