Tuesday, July 4, 2023

What's In A Name? Part the third - Do your homework

Courtesy of Louis Moinet

Ladies and gentleman and children of all ages! Allow me to introduce you to the Space One. Now while I do not claim to know all of the ins and outs of the operations of Louis Moinet, nor the machinations of Jean-Marie Schaller, I suspect that he would probably not be too thrilled to know that the two partners from the brand formerly known as Argon were using the name SpaceOne not only for their watch model (which would be in conflict to a previously established model name - i.e. Louis Moinet's), but are now doubling down and renaming their brand with the same moniker - SpaceOne. 

Now a few curious factoids:

1. Argon which had already raised 1 million bones on Kickstarter got a rather public 2-part spanking by Kickstarter who first froze their project, then completely cancelled it and returned payments to the backers. This was owing to an intellectual property dispute. No further details were provided, but some of us had our theories.

2. The two young men behind Argon claimed that they had no idea what the problem was, but this turned out to be not exactly 100% for realsies. It seems that another brand - Aragon, had already sent cease and desist letters to these young entrepreneurs and showing perhaps a lack of business savvy (or self-preservation), they opted to ignore them. Aragon also filed a complaint with the USPTO back in April of this year. These two actions caught the attention of Kickstarter's legal and compliance folks and that put the kibosh on the project. So, while they were tossing their curls and saying how unfair this all was, the truth is much starker - they were warned, and they opted to ignore the warning. Aragon finally felt that they had no other option but to file suit against Argon. As of this writing no one is talking about the current state of this litigation, but that will be an added hurdle for "the brand formerly known as Argon" to try and get over.

3. In what appears to have been a mad scramble to pull the lunch box out of the toilet bowl, the brand name was changed from Argon to SpaceOne this past weekend. There was even a new URL for it, and as of Saturday or Sunday the site appeared to be live. 

Today - an attempt to visit the site led both of my browsers to give me the following message:

Your connection is not private

Attackers might be trying to steal your information from spaceonewatches.com (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards). Learn more

Now I make no claims to be a wizard of marketing on the level professed by some, but I am pretty sure that this is not good. I am also curious as to why a website that was perfectly functioning only a few days ago now is triggering the "Stranger-Danger" - cootie alert from both Chrome and Safari.

And once again, the whole "Brand formerly known as Argon, now tentatively known as SpaceOne" saga takes another twist. What about the Louis Moinet Space One? It is indeed possible that the boys from Argon/SpaceOne reached out to Jean-Marie Schaller, asked for a favor and he did them a solid by allowing them to use the name SpaceOne.

But then again, maybe they did not. And if that is indeed the case, this is where we go beyond simple misunderstanding to a somewhat tragically comic chain of events. 

So grab your Jiffy Pop and a comfy seat, something tells me there is a bit more in this tale to untwist.

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