What's in a Name?

The other day, we received a very nice email asking us to stop using a particular name for a particular class as the name was trademarked, meaning unavailable except for authorized use, and asking us to get in touch with a certified instructor.  I waded into the Internet to get a feel for the brand, the ideas, and the issue, and, no surprise, found that it was as agitated an issue as everything else in our society.

While the name is protected, the methods for teaching the practice are not patented, and probably will never be.  To my knowledge, and what I've gleaned through my reading, you cannot patent a "recipe" or methodology for creating art because the outcome is never the same.  No two people will create the same art even if taught to use the same methods.  

We have a very talented artist who uses some of the methods to transform her own doodling into beautiful works of art.  She is a gifted and encouraging teacher - skilled at releasing the creative juices of even the most reluctant student.  Should she have to pay to become certified in this trademarked art form when she already has the skills to teach it?  When she has been using many of the methods proscribed long before the branded entity came into being?

So we changed the name of the class to respect the brand name created by the company.  But the methodology is not theirs to dole out - it has been around for as long as people have applied pigment to surface.