Flash

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I should have been more precise. The phrase "state farm insurance" does appear on their site, but in every case it is when they are referring to a product. When they refer to the name of the business, it is simply "State Farm". This page is a great example.
 

Linda Buquet

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Again, online does not matter, real world is what matters. But since you insist on looking at online, go again to the State Farm website. They use State Farm over and over, they never use State Farm Insurance. State Farm Insurance is a product, and you know the rules ban products in the name.

I've been following this with interest and can kinda sort see both sides of the coin or at least understand where both are coming from. But was trying not to get in the middle.

However here is the "real world" reality on the State Farm site itself. They have a ton of bonafide company names and various subsidiaries. Many companies distinguish themselves one from the other with Insurance or Financial words IN THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS NAME.

Technically the OFFICIAL company name is not just State Farm - that's just the shortened name for logo and branding. OFFICIAL name is "State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company?"

However that company is also the parent company of several wholly-owned subsidiaries, many of which have KWs in the name. I assume they just shorten to State Farm in the logo for branding purposes as that name is too long AND would imply they only do auto.

Gregg please see: State Farm? - State Farm Companies

and

http://www.statefarm.com/_pdf/Affiliates_and_Subsidiaries.pdf
 

Flash

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Thanks for the supporting information Linda. Off the dozens of companies, not a single one is State Farm Insurance.
 

Flash

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I also don't know what else to say. An entire escalation team has looked at this, discussed it, and said "No" to "Insurance" being included in the name. I am not trying to come to an agreement with here, I am relaying the descision from that team. I would bring additional information to the team if it seemed like there was a mistake, but I can see exactly why they came up with this decision. It is inline with how we treat all other businesses.
 

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Correct, but additionally I don't think there is room to add, nor would it be allowed to list the following names - for an general agent that deals with all the different type of insurance:

G+ L OFFICIAL BUSINESS NAME in TITLE?
"Christine Relyea - State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, State Farm Life Insurance Company, State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company "

So since all those companies are Insurance companies it seems to me State Farm Insurance makes the most sense.

The phrase "state farm insurance" does appear on their site… When they refer to the name of the business, it is simply "State Farm".

Additional Resources:

Become a State Farm? Agent
State Farm agents' employees are not employees of the State Farm Insurance Companies.

Contact Us (bottom)
Corporate Headquarters
State Farm Insurance


Patty Heath - State Farm Agent in Newport News, VA
Nearly a million riders insure their motorcycles with State Farm Insurance?

So it looks to me like you could accuse State Farm corporate of having somewhat inconsistent and confusing branding (JUST LIKE GOOGLE DOES). But I don't think based on the evidence above, anyone could say the ONLY correct name is State Farm and adding insurance is simply KW stuffing. I also think if you asked consumers if they thought the real name of the company is "State Farm Insurance", most if not all would say yes.
 

Flash

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Also, even if we found an instance of the company using State Farm consistently in the real world; that doesn't necessarily apply to the locations. They are separate companies, as you have pointed out, but have obviously been given pretty strict branding guidelines from State Farm. I gave the escalation team every word of Joy's arguments. After considering them, they went and looked at how the signage is (all modern signs say "State Farm" only, how the web pages for each location are named (State Farm only), etc.; and found that State Farm Insurance is a product and not used as the name of these locations in the real world. I cannot overrule them.
 

JoyHawkins

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Insurance is not a product, the specific types of insurance are. Having "auto insurance" in the title or "Business insurance" in the title would definitely be guideline violations. Also, State Farm is just one insurance company. I was commenting regarding the insurance agent industry as a whole which includes tons of other major companies with over 10,000 locations each (Geico, Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide etc).
 

Linda Buquet

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After considering them, they went and looked at how the signage is (all modern signs say "State Farm" only

Not trying to argue with you Gregg, just saying I don't think in this case it's cut and dried.

Here are a bunch of signs and billboards for agents in Google Image Search with "State Farm Insurance".
So they can't say agents NEVER have Insurance in the name/logo.

"State Farm Insurance" "logo"

"State Farm Insurance" "sign"

That's all I got, not my battle to fight BUT since this decision could impact thousands of listings,
just wanted to weigh in with what I see.

It's up to Google. AND unfortunately Google has 2 sometimes opposing sides when it comes to the rules. The G+L side and the maps side. Would be nice to get a definitive answer and agreement from both sides. Because even if the G+L side of the house says it's allowed, the maps side of the house can edit or take down listings if they believe it's a violation.
 

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I am on the same page as Linda. There are definitely arguments for both which is why I would say either is fine.
 

Flash

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Linda, all the examples with the three circles saying "Auto, life, fire" are not to be considered. State Farm has rebranded and redid their logo at the same time. Look at all the ones with just three circles with no words in them, that is the current useage.
 

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My apologies, Linda, I realize now that you are working without the knowledge that the rebranding had taken place. This is what Joy was referring to earlier when she said the word insurance used to be included on the signs.

Now if we want to follow the rules to the letter, each location that says "State Farm Insurance" in the name should be evaluated to see if that was ever a valid name for the location. If it wasn't, it should should corrected. If it was used on the signage, letterhead, etc. before the rebranding, we then would mark that location as closed and open a new one with the current naming convention.

I think treating them all as never having been valid and correcting them all would be a better solution than confusing the users of the map with thousands of State Farm Insurance listings marked "Closed".
 

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" State Farm Intellectual Property Rights. The State Farm three oval logo, the terms "State Farm", "State Farm Insurance," "State Farm Insurance Companies," "State Farm Bank", and the phrases "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there", "Invest with a Good Neighbor," "Bank with a Good Neighbor," "State Farm is there for life," "24 Hour Good Neighbor Service", "statefarm.com," "Select Service", as well as all logos and graphics using the State Farm name are the intellectual property of and/or federally registered trademarks/servicemarks owned by the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its affiliated organizations. "

State Farm Canada? - Terms of Use

If you still disagree, I have no problem getting State Farm employees on this thread involved.
 

Flash

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Yes, they would retain ownership. However, here's the State Farm Canada annoucement of that no longer being their logo. State Farm Canada? - Our New Look

You can get State Farm employees involved all you want. Again, nothing is going to be decided in this thread. Google makes the decision, and it has done so.
 

Flash

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Oh, sorry, I didn't catch on to the fact that you were highlighting that State Farm Insurance is "intellectual property of and/or federally registered trademarks/servicemarks".

You do realize there is a big difference between a business name and a trademark? A trademark is used to protect products and slogans. You do not trademark (or register as intellectual property) the company name.

The US government Patent and Trademark site states "A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or design, or any combination used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name. A service mark is any word, name, symbol, design, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from the services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services."

"Intellectual property" refers to copyrights, trademarks and patents. Basically, you don't have to actually register a trademark to protect it's use.

A company name cannot be trademarked.

Checking the US Trademark Database, "State Farm Insurance" was registed as a service mark in 1955 and 1974 as part of a "stylzed drawing" (read logo), but since they do use it anymore they did not renew it and both registrations are now dead. It still would remain their intellectual property.

So since you cannot trademark a company name, in trademarking "State Farm Insurance" they were stating that it is not a company name.

The quote you fond basically is the final nail in the coffin. As per State Farm's own actions in registering the name, "State Farm Insurance" is a product or service, not a company name.
 

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One of the reasons I jumped into this thread is the issue TOTALLY TRANSCENDS State Farm or Insurance Agents in general and HUNDREDS of thousands of listings could be affected.

One of many related examples for Real Estate agents.

Coldwell Banker. Corp site is branded Coldwell Banker with real estate in smaller letters under it. BUT look at all the inconsistent names and KW stuffing Realtors for this brand use:
Google Maps: Coldwell Banker Real Estate

And here is the BIGGEST reason this is a HUGE ISSUE
(Attn Google Management!)

Places Guidelines say:
Business Name: Represent your business exactly as it appears in the offline world.

I personally tell businesses they should use their DBA but the Places guidelines DON'T officially say that!

So if a business always represents as "State Farm Insurance" OR "Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate" or Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agency" does it depend on the DBA? The official corp name? The Sign???

Google just says it's HOW they represent in the real world.
Do business cards count? Is 2000 citations good enough?

My point is the guidelines on the Places side of the house are not clear enough.

And if the guidelines on the map side of the house ARE very specific and don't line up then thousands of businesses potentially have their title wrong. And be could be edited or deleted for spam when they totally think they are using the right name and following Places guidelines.
(They don't know what the maps guidelines are NOR should they have to. Because it should all be consistent!)

Google needs uniform guidelines on Places and Maps that are clear and consistent.
 

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So true Linda. This is not just a State Farm issue. I also don't really see the need to be so ridiculously picky about the business title. I completely understand why Google doesn't want keyword stuffing in business titles but I hardly think "Coldwell Banker Real Estate" or "State Farm Insurance" or "Starbucks Coffee" constitutes as keyword stuffing. The thought actually makes me laugh. If anything those titles fit better with offline or "real world" business titles. I also think it's important to listen to the actual business owner in these instances. They know a LOT more about their businesses than we do. They should have a voice in how it's listed. It's not like they're asking for a business title like "Coldwell Banker - Awesome Realtor in San Diego CA".

One of my coworkers also sent me this which I found very interesting:

"When it comes to your business name, you can trademark it if certain requirements are met. I am going to avoid the legal mumbo jumbo that confuses people, and stick with a general rule of thumb. If you use your business name in advertising or on the product or service, you can trademark it. A classic example is "Google". Google is both a company name and used on the service itself. When you go to the home page of Google, you see "Google" prominently displayed. As a result, this business name can be trademarked.
If you do not use your business name in a direct communication to consumers, you cannot trademark it. Why? Well, there is nothing distinct about it that reminds consumers of the connect. TJMaxx is a well-known discount retail store. Most people have at least heard of the name. The company behind the name, however, is actually TJCos. Nobody has heard of "TJCos" and certainly do not associate it with a store. As a result, this business name would be difficult to trademark, if not impossible.?


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/<wbr>453285 Richard Chapo is a cyber-lawyer based in San Diego
 

Flash

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I'm sure that you are not trying to use an e-article to overrule a .gov. As an SEO expert, I know that you are aware of the trust levels of both.

The fact is that it is in the law that a business name does not qualify.

Now you can get around it if you can prove that your business name happens to be the same as a product/service name. Decent trademark lawyers, however, still recommend against it. When you register a trademark in any situation, you are saying that you are registering a brand, not a business name. You then get checked on at regular intervals and asked "Are you still using this as your brand?" No longer selling the brand means you loose the trademark.

This all comes down to the fact that the sign, business card, letterhead, business license, website, etc. all do not state the business name to be State Farm Insurance (and in fact often don't even say State Farm). The arguement that has been made towards State Farm Insurance being their name is the fact that those words are found in logos found on the same page/sign. But State Farm has registered via trademarks the fact that their use of those words inside the logos is to denote a product or service. That is the only way that they can register it. Even if the company name happens to be the same, you cannot register a company name; you can only register brands. Those words on the signs/letterhead/business cards were indicating a brand they sold, as shown by the fact that it was trademarked.

Here's a nice little summary from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (most countries define these things the same way as there is an international agreement on trademarks) where they explain that company and business names are one thing, and then trademarks identify goods or services. For those non-Canadians; .gc.ca = .gov What's in a Name? - Canadian Intellectual Property Office
 

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