How to Become a Business Coach

Help Verne Harnish Protect His Business Coaching Intellectual Property!

By on June 15, 2011

For the past 7 years, I’ve been using a wonderful open-source business strategic planning tool developed by Verne Harnish of Gazelles, called the One-Page Strategic Plan (1PSP).  It’s been a foundational resource for my business coaching business, and is at the core of the work I do with my clients (and their clients!)

But recently, I found out that it’s under attack!

I can’t speak highly enough of Verne Harnish and his contributions to the business coaching industry in general. So when I heard there was trouble brewing for him, I knew I had to do everything in my power to help.

What’s been happening?  According to a recent email from Verne…

A decade after I introduced the [1PSP], some consultants decided to see if they could trademark the term ‘One-Page Strategic Plan.’ Like me, when I sought a trademark, they were told by the Patent and Trademark Office that the term was descriptive, so the trademark was denied. They tried again and were denied. And they tried again, this time claiming that they were the only ones to ever use the term and asking for a supplemental trademark. This means if no one says anything after five years, they’ll get a trademark.

“In the meantime, their lawyers sent us a letter stating that their clients owned the term and we had to stop using it – seems they want to own the term so they can control it, even though their use of it is limited and they don’t even have a structured one-page document.”

If you’ve spent much time with us here at The Coaches’ Coach, you’ve probably heard about or worked with the One-Page Strategic Plan.  Please help Verne keep the 1PSP open-source and available by downloading this affidavit: 1PSP Affidavit.  Essentially, it says that you equate the 1PSP with Verne Harnish and his company, Gazelles.

If that applies to you, please print it, sign it, then send it directly to Gazelles at:

44031 Pipeline Plaza – Suite 200
Ashburn, VA 20147

I know it takes a little extra time to print and mail a document as opposed to typing your name into an online petition, but signed hard copies carry a lot more weight with the Patent and Trademark Office…and doing so will help Verne avoid a long and expensive legal battle.

Please, if you’ve ever benefited from the 1PSP, take some time to do this today — and forward our post along to any of your colleagues or clients who have likewise benefited!  Thanks for your help preserving great collaborative tools like the 1PSP in the Connected Age!

Eric Dombach

About Eric Dombach

Eric Dombach is the Founder of Coaches’ Coach. In 2001, he founded a business coaching firm that, by 2005, was generating more than $1 million USD in revenue, 23% operating profit, and average annual growth rate of 140% per year. In 2005, he sold the firm to 4 of his employees for $1 million U.S. dollars, generating a return on capital of more than 800%. Since then he has trained more than 1,300 independent and franchise business coaches in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australasian markets.

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