I have to give credit here

For a super comment from VanDyke about this post:

This post fits the criteria of intelligent and constructive comment. It also adds in another aspect that I didn’t consider: informative. It may not have been as useful as the comment from FAN, but it did have some very super and informative links (remember my big thing here is British TV and I know squat about intellectual property law).

He probably meant to defend the phrase as a trademark. He has that right even though Mr. Smith hasn’t registered this phrase (there is a public database searchable via uspto.gov. A curious industry “owns” the mark, although not exclusively).

I doubt you afforded preexisting trust before the letter. I additionally doubt you extend this mistrust to other individuals who may similarly contact you to defend their marks (ed: yes, I would since it’s a normal reaction–see below quote about C&Ds.). It’s common practice and considered “good stewardship” of the mark.

More info can be found at http://chillingeffects.org/trademark/faq.cgi

The examples of Cease and Desist letters put this all in perspective, especially the one at ThinkGeek. It’s nice to know that I am not the only person who felt this way, which Van Dyke would understand if he read the links he sent me:

Question: I have an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach about the tone of the C&D I received. Does the tone of the c & d mean I am going to lose this dispute?

Answer: “Gorilla Chest Thumping” refers to the tone of most C&Ds: it’s nasty. The first thing to do is take a deep breath. The second thing to do is to acknowledge that the tone of the letter is a function of the letter writer’s perception that aggression is the best defense: do not take it personally. The third thing to do is ignore the tone and focus on the facts. You may eventually choose to respond aggressively yourself, but do not do so because your opponent has egged you into a useless game of whose gorilla is bigger. Take a tip from Ani Di Franco: “If you play their game, girl, you’re never gonna win.” Face Up and Sing, Out of Range, Righteous Babe Records (1994).

Anyway, I love comments like this and will always publish them.

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