Monday, April 14, 2014

WaMu -- IS IT A LOGO, TRADEMARK, OR LEGAL NAME?


How often do you get confused as to which legal entity is represented in loan documents and bank communications by the usage of the following terms, logos or trademarks?
  • WaMu
  • Washington Mutual
  • WMI
  • WMB
  • the Bank
  • the Company
WaMu appears to be a registered trademark and logo for Washington Mutual, Inc. and its subsidiaries. This is a logo owned by  Washington Mutual, Inc., abbreviated to WaMu, a savings bank holding company and the former owner of Washington Mutual Bank, which was the United States' largest savings and loan association until its collapse in September 2008 and FDIC receivership and immediate sale to JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA.  WaMu is the last logo used by Washington Mutual Bank before its closure and acquisition by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.  See http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2011391992_sundaybuzz21.html


The 12/31/2007 10K Washington Mutual Bank (not Washington Mutual, Inc). stated that Washington Mutual Bank (together with its subsidiaries, also known as “WMB” or the “Bank”) is a federally chartered savings association. It is not identified as WaMu. And  the Bank is a "wholly owned subsidiary of Washington Mutual, Inc."  which self identifies itself as “Washington Mutual” or the “Company.  The logo/trademark “WaMu” is not used in the 10K to identify Washington Mutual Bank, rather it abbreviates itself as “WMB”.  

Further Washington Mutual, Inc. identifies itself in its 10K for 12/31/2007 as the "Company" and as "Washington Mutual."

To further confuse matters in the body of  its 7/22/2008 10Q Washington Mutual, Inc. refers to itself as “WaMu.”  (This is one of the last SEC filings before the FDIC seizure of its wholly owned subsidiary Washington Mutual Bank, the failed bank in September 2008.)

Can we conclude the following?
  • "WaMu"  = logo or trademark for Washington Mutual, Inc. or the Company
  • WMB  =  Washington Mutual Bank or the Bank
  • WMI  =   Washington Mutual, Inc. or the Company  
  • WMBFA  =  Washington Mutual Bank, F.A.
  • WMBfsb  =  Washington Mutual Bank, a federal savings bank

WaMu is a logo or trademark for Washington Mutual, Inc. Logo is defined as a symbol or other design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc. 
 
Understanding Trademarks – Key Differences between Legal Names, Trade Names, and Trademarks  Legal Name vs. Trade Name vs. Trademark
The legal name of a business is the name of the person or entity that owns a business. If the business is a partnership, the legal name is the name given in the partnership agreement or the last names of the partners. For limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations, the business' legal name is the one that was registered with the state government.  A legal name should be used when communicating with the government or other businesses. For example, the business’ legal name should be used when filing tax returns, buying property, or writing checks.   A trade name is generally considered the name a business uses for advertising and sales purposes that is different from the legal name in its articles of incorporation or other organizing documents. A trade name can also be referred to as a “Fictitious Name” or a “Doing Business As” (DBA). Examples of trade names are the use of the name "Kodak" by the company whose legal name is “Eastman Kodak Company” or “McDonald’s” by the company whose legal name is “McDonald's Corporation.” A trade name may not include Inc., LLC, Corp. or similar legal endings. Although a trade name may sometimes also be a trademark, a trade name is not, in itself, a form of intellectual property.  A company may use a trade name for advertising and trade purposes. It is often the name the general public sees on signs, the internet, and advertisements.  A trademark is any word, phrase, design, or symbol that a business uses to distinguish its goods and services from someone else's and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name. A trademark can be any combination of the above and can even be a slogan, such as Coke's "It's the Real Thing." The Nike "swoosh" is a trademark, as is the Gap logo and thousands of other familiar symbols and logos. Trademarks that have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should have the registered trademark symbol ® after the mark on the product, its packaging, or when used in association with the service.  If a trade name is similar enough to another’s trademark that it creates a “likelihood of confusion” in the mind of a purchaser, it may be infringing the trademark, which can prove to be a very costly mistake.

Understanding the terms “legal name,” “trade name” and “trademark” can be confusing, however, each of these terms does have a different meaning. While there are gray areas, it is easiest to view legal names and trade names as relating to businesses or entities and trademarks as relating to the products or services of the businesses or entities.











3 comments:

  1. Thank god someone is still taking the time to investigate these WAMU issues, because sooner or later it will lead to the discoveries of the real truth(s). The real reason and purpose for these "name games" will in time come to light. We just need more people like this to keep digging and not give up. So far we have seen the state bank WMB ceased to exist twice.. Dec 04 when it merged with fsb, and Jan 05 when it merged again with FA.

    The whole New American Capitol Inc. (WMI) and JPMorgan thing is extremely fishy considering it goes back to 2001 and JPM ended up with WAMU in 2008 ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed! Opinions are later turned into history. My opinion may yet be the historical account: WAMU, a bank holding company, was illegally seized, closed and forced into bankruptcy because foresight among financial leaders saw that JP Morgan Chase needed a major balance sheet boost to be in the black in the first quarter of 2009. That way, at least the US Government bank would be standing after the arranged correction of 2008. Now, it's time to settle up and move on... or RICO.

      Delete
    2. Agreed! Opinions are later turned into history. My opinion may yet be the historical account: WAMU, a bank holding company, was illegally seized, closed and forced into bankruptcy because foresight among financial leaders saw that JP Morgan Chase needed a major balance sheet boost to be in the black in the first quarter of 2009. That way, at least the US Government bank would be standing after the arranged correction of 2008. Now, it's time to settle up and move on... or RICO.

      Delete