Respectful Care™ represents a highly unique perspective that grow out of a specific application of the concept of "respect" in human relationships, and it has been informed by multiple traditions and in-depth training and experience in each of these distinct modalities - all based on Danielle's highly uncommon foundational experience of early childhood and caregiving in adolescence as a child of one of the few Montessori teachers who were personally certified by Mario Montessori. We know from the science of child development that growing up as a child experiencing this general type of care results in dramatically different neurological foundation for all domains of development, and this unusual perspective further enriches and differentiates the Respectful Care™ products from programs offered by other individuals and organizations.
According to the USPTO, “You establish rights in your trademark by using it” (USPTO). Thus all uses of the words “respectful” and “care” and the phrase “respectful care” when used in contexts other than in the marketplaces where these products are sold ARE NOT affected by the rights held in this trademark - and all uses that are within those marketplaces ARE affected by the rights held in this trademark. It’s also important to note that Respectful Care™ products are not regional specialities but in fact have been sold and delivered nationwide and internationally since 2017 (the first course was sold to students in multiple states starting in 2017, and was held in Mexico in January 2018).
Danielle has invested thousands of hours and many tens of thousands of dollars in creating, nurturing, and disseminating the unique content in the Respectful Care™ programs since 2017, using this phrase to identify her programs so they are recognizable and easily distinguished from other programs that have been available in the marketplace. Using her own name would have been precisely opposite of meaningful, because it was important to her to choose a recognizable and distinguishing name that spoke from the heart of the content that is co-created in the context of respectful, reciprocal interactions - rather than naming it after herself.
So she discovered the exclusive identifier "respectful care," which expresses the unique core values of the specific approach that she has developed, and would make it very easy for people to find it in the marketplace for her professional activities - which includes providing professional development and consulting, as well as in-person guiding and caring for children and their families. She also had an eye-catching logo created and has used it consistently to construct a multi-sensory awareness for the brand and the trademark (both the logo and the name have been filed with the USPTO, because separately and together they individualize and single out these specific programs as distinct from all of the other programs for sale in the marketplace).
To be completely clear, the only outside entity authorized to utilize and advertise with the Respectful Care™ trademarked brand is Newborn Care Solutions, who are licensed to sell a video-streaming version of the introductory Respectful Care™ course.
So how exactly did Danielle come up with the name "Respectful Care"?
She searched diligently and exhaustively through a wide variety of related fields of work and research as well as checking for registered trademarks (OF COURSE), and she discovered that the only recurrent and identifiable use of this particular phrase was as the name for a single health care facility (convalescent hospital) in the United Kingdom, and as an occasional descriptive phrase in the academic literature on health care (specifically as health care is provided to birthing persons during their birthing experiences in licensed health care settings such as hospitals). Since providing health care in hospitals and medical care facilities is a completely separate field from the pedagogy of human development and family life, there would be no potential for confusion about whether the educational and caregiving programs offered for caregivers and parents might be the same thing as finding a care home for an elderly relative in one specific region of the U.K. - or the academic and public health interest in health care that is provided by licensed health care providers in a licensed health care setting during one particular health care event (giving birth).
At the time in 2017, there was no visible, established, identifiable use of the phrasing “respectful care” in the worlds of early childhood pedagogy, child care centres, in-home care, nannies, newborn care specialists, or any other aspect of family life or of human development throughout the lifespan, so Danielle chose this phrase to represent and distinguish her programs in the marketplace of professional development for caregivers, as well as of providing actual care for children (and their families). The specific word "respectful" was chosen because it is the singular and most critically important component of the approach, due to the uniquely multi-dimensional nature of respect as it is understood and practiced in the principles and techniques of the Respectful Care™ programs, and the dual foundational and end-result nature of respect in the programs and caregiving. No other name would adequately express the genuine and distinct nature of the products and services that are being sold under this trademark, which is precisely why it has become such a successful brand in our space.
Multiple legal consults with IP specialist attorneys confirmed that this choice of trademark name was reasonable for a local, federal and international trademark, because a descriptive phrase can become a trademark when it is used in commerce and then comes to be distinctively known as being identified with that unique specific product, service, or training program that is being paid for under that name - and further that legal protections do exist for these trademarks (please check out USPTO if you are unclear on these provisions, including service marks vs trademarks).
Since 2017 this unique body of content that is based on a highly particular and deeply nuanced notion of "respect" has consistently been known, advertised and sold as Respectful Care™, and the particular and unique role of respect in the program has been delineated and confirmed in multiple contexts. Nobody else used the phrase "respectful care" in any commercial context for several years, and during this time, Danielle continued to invest time and financial resources in building and expanding the training programs and caregiving and consulting practices, and especially investing in building the brand itself as well as the international awareness of the brand. Her international efforts included traveling in person and teaching unpaid conference workshops and paid Respectful Care™ courses internationally prior to pandemic travel restrictions, and teaching paid courses via Zoom to students in other countries after the pandemic started. Her efforts supported the meaning of the phrase "Respectful Care™" it stands for this particular, unique set of perspectives and practices based on the specific nature of respect as defined and experienced in the various modes of the Respectful Care™ programs offered for purchase to parents and caregivers.
Sponsoring industry conferences has been a particularly large outlay of financial investment in establishing awareness of the trademark and of the brand. In fact meeting so many people in person to discuss the specific attributes and unique perspective of the Respectful Care™ program has resulted in many unsolicited messages from those same professionals: when people in our industry see someone else using this particular phrase and asking them to purchase a competing product instead of a genuine, actual Respectful Care™ product, they write in to us and say that we should send them a letter to STOP, because they are clearly infringing on the intellectual property of the Respectful Care™ brand and products that these professionals already know and cherish, and are creating confusion in the marketplace around which products are being sold under that name. Diluting the value of the brand also dilutes the value of the Respectful Care™ courses and training that professionals have already purchased or plan to purchase.
Of course we have sent polite and respectful (but very clear and firm) letters every time we have learned of someone using our trademark within our marketplace without our permission, and everyone has ceased except for two organizations that have recently begun to use the phrase “respectful care” in their commercial advertisements for their products in our marketplace. They have responded to our letters by stating that they believe they have every right to use this valuable phrase, because they believe that a trademark must be registered in order for the trademark owner to have any rights (again, please see USPTO to view a page that explicitly and authoritatively repudiates that uninformed opinion). Sadly, due to their invincible ignorance and refusal to provide a baseline level of respect within our professional community, we have initiated the process to register our trademark so the rights of this trademark (which we had already asserted through characterizing and differentiating our content through the unique and exclusive use of this trademark) can be enforced on our behalf.
These unsolicited warnings from actual customers constitute a solid demonstration of actual confusion within the marketplace when other organizations adopt our established trademarked brand for their own company’s products. It’s worth noting that the irony does not escape notice when an individual or company disrespects the value of a significant and enduring multi-year investment in specific intellectual property, while at the very same moment they are claiming to be selling something that they are calling “respectful.”
Individuals and companies would do well to consider whether they are in fact increasing their positive image in the field by borrowing the established and enduring value of this particular phrase without permission, or if they are rather portraying themselves as DISrespectful when they advertise that they are selling a “respectful care approach" and do so while disrespecting a long-standing brand that has been carefully chosen and curated, and has been in continuous and deliberate commercial use internationally for more than five years. It could be a better (and is unquestionably more ethical - and also not illegal) use of their time to create their own unique trademarked brand and build awareness of it, rather than knowingly leveraging someone else's intellectual property to artificially expand their reach and increase their sales.