NBA Star and College Professor's Bracelets Will Coexist
February 21, 2014
NC College Professor and Lebron James Family Foundation, LBJ Trademarks LLC Settle Over iPromise
It was October of 2012 and one of Dr. Pamela Thompson's students exclaimed before class, ". . . Lebron James stole your iProm!se bracelets!" This wasn't the first student who had noticed the NBA star wearing bracelets displaying the words "I Promise" that she thought looked remarkably similar to her own iProm!se bracelets. The professor began pondering next steps as the sightings continued.
Thompson's business, I Promise Project with the iProm!se bracelet, was launched in 2010 to provide valuable real world experiences to share with her students at Catawba College. I Promise Project is a "business with a conscious," one that gives back to many charities with each iProm!se bracelet sold. The professor realized she was facing an unusual, yet valuable business experience to share with her students.
After she sent a polite but unanswered email to the attorney listed on the I PROMISE trademark application filed by LBJ Trademarks, Thompson decided she needed a lawyer. Turning to the internet, she found "Your Trademark Attorney" Morris Turek through a late night Google search. Thompson had two additional heavy hitting advisors in her corner: the 93 year old founder of Food Lion Ralph Ketner, and the founder of SillyBandz Robert Croak.
After months of negotiations, I Promise Project and LBJ Trademarks recently reached an amicable agreement with details concealed. How can she compete with I PROMISE? Thompson's iProm!se bracelets stretch to reveal a secret message such as "never give up" and the process is patented. In support of American manufacturing, she also provides a Made in USA webbed style. The bracelets are being test marketed in area Walgreens.
Thompson states, "I never imagined my bracelets would bring such powerful learning experiences to the classroom!" Thompson knows the business lessons are just starting for her students as she plans to take iProm!se to a national market and continue to make a difference in the classroom and beyond.
Pamela Thompson is a professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2011 from UNC Charlotte and has been teaching for over 25 years. An entrepreneur, she uses her business, I Promise Project, and the iProm!se bracelets to bring real world experiences into the classroom and to give back.