Thursday, February 23, 2006

more nastiness -- am i wearing a kick me in the ass sign?

i just received a threatening email accusing me of trademark infringement. jeesuz! i don't give a flying f*** what these things are called. what is wrong with people?

editediteditedit

all better now



updated message from flying f*** airlines. (trademarked)


for those who missed it, I received the following email about the phrase "book trailer". what i found particularly interesting and telling is her repeated statements about having contacted the person who made my video -- which i knew wasn't true. it does appear BOOK TRAILER was trademarked in 2002, but i really doubt that could ever hold up in court. like tanya said, it's a descriptive phrase. plus the word trailer being used in this manner wasn't this person's idea to begin with. for now i've removed the BOOK TRAILER ad from my template. not sure what we'll do about that. i always preferred to call them book videos anyway.

Dear Ms. Frasier,


It was brought to my attention that you are using the
term "Book Trailer" to advertise your video. I'm sure
you aren't aware that the term is a US Registered
Trademark to Circle of Seven Productions, the original
creators of Book Trailers.
Our attorney has advised us to start by asking you to
please change the term name. The person who made this
video for you is aware of this issue. She may feel
that she is above the law, but you may not feel that
way.
We aren't trying to threaten anyone, but to inform
people that the term was registered. We have invested
a great deal of money for this term. Should it not be
changed we will have to inform your publisher. We
truly hope it doesn't come to that.
I'm sorry that the person who did this for you did not
tell you that we've contacted her prevsiously.
Please respond within 10 days to let us know your
intent on this issue.
Thank you for your understanding.

Sheila Clover English
CEO
Circle of Seven Productions
www.cosproductions.com

25 comments:

Shesawriter said...

Who the heck would trademark something like that? Unfriggenbelieveable. Okay, no worries. Just rename it NOVEL trailers.

Tanya

anne frasier said...

no crap! to both your comments! or paperback trailers. or fiction trailers.

i'm not sure you can trademark something like that. it's like trademarking chocolate cookie.

Kelly Parra said...

*laughs* I love your pic. Good one! Happy Pez...oops that might be trademarked. ;D

anne frasier said...

i'll bet it is trademarked. :D
hehe

emeraldcite said...

I missed it. What was trademarked?

Shesawriter said...

I honestly don't see how they can trademark something you're using as a descriptive phrase, NOT A TITLE! This is bulldroppings. If you were using it as an official title then that would be one thing. Please Anne, check with your lawyer because I think they're full of it.

BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER,
BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER. BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER,
BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER. BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER,
BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER, BOOK TRAILER.

Neener, neener. ;-P

Tanya

Jeff said...

"What is wrong with these people?"

Simple, they are unhappy people, living unhappy lives, and they want everyone they come in contact with to be unhappy, too.

or

They are nobodies who want to be somebodies and are willing to abuse anybody to reach that end.

or

They were born with a "nasty gene" and there is nothing that can be done about it except ignore them.

I think Tanya has a good point. How can you trademark a descriptive term?

anne frasier said...

i put the letter back up.
i do think it's bullshit, but since i'm not even attached to BOOK TRAILER it's easier to just remove the ad for now. not sure what my daughter is going to do. it appears to me that you can have anything trademarked, but when it's challenged most won't hold up. she's also trademarked about 3 other phrases. i guess i'll soon be saying have you seen my new blank blank? oops. trademarked.

jason evans said...

How can you trademark a descriptive term?

You can trademark or, more importantly, attempt to enforce anything. Ultimately, however, a mere descriptive term will fail as trademark.

The key word here is "ultimately." You still have to respond. You still have to fight.

This particular company may not want to spend too much in the way of legal fees trying to enforce "book trailer." If they want a strong mark, they should coin a new phrase. For example, "Cheerios" is good. "Processed wheat rings" is not.

anne frasier said...

exactly. Vidlit can be immediately recognized as a trademark.

Shesawriter said...

I think they're smoking crack. Screw them.

Tanya

Jer said...

If she knew what she was doing she would have put the superscript TM after the phrase. Poopy-head.

Jer

anne frasier said...

i wonder how many other people have gotten the same email and just ignored it. probably what i should have done, but since the word trailer doesn't even appeal to me it seemed better to just delete it.

and yeah to the superscript TM.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

How on earth did they ever get that trademark registered? Usually that kind of generic thing is turned down.

Ridiculous.

emeraldcite said...

Maybe a little research is in order...

Anyone else game?

emeraldcite said...

check this out:

Section 1064. Cancellation of registration

At the time of registration, it may have been a valid claim. I'm not sure how far back this concept goes, but it seems far too generic to be trademarked and thus, from what I understand, free to seek out cancellation of said trademark.

I don't believe it would ever hold up in court, and if a lawyer at your publisher took a look at it (if they followed through with their threat), they would probably laugh it off and tell them to stick it up their...well, let's not get too graphic.

I'd kindly tell them to eat sh*t and die.

emeraldcite said...

There also seems to be a patent on "book trailers" that predates their registered trade mark.

This doesn't appear to be theirs.

I wonder how that works...

anne frasier said...

interesting....
i'm beginning to think i should put the ad back in the template. but the term book trailers is seeming pretty lame and tainted right now.

my daughter just read the orginal email and is pissed off. about this:
The person who made this
video for you is aware of this issue. She may feel
that she is above the law, but you may not feel that
way.

and this:

I'm sorry that the person who did this for you did not
tell you that we've contacted her prevsiously.


total fabrication

Kelly Parra said...

The person who made this
video for you is aware of this issue. She may feel
that she is above the law, but you may not feel that
way.

I'm sorry that the person who did this for you did not
tell you that we've contacted her prevsiously.


Yeah, she really screwed up with these allegations. *laughs*

emeraldcite said...

Well, it is one of those things you should save in case there is any legal problems.

I'm sure they'd be sad to know that a letter might be sent to the US Patent and Trademark Office to inquire how such a generic term could get past their trademark lawyers and that it could violate either paragraphs 3 or 5 of Section 1064, or possibly both, and could be cancelled.

Since they invested so much money into getting "book trailers," a purely descriptive term and not all all uniquely applicable to any single product (thinking what it could do to the film industry if one company trademarked "movie trailers" or similar to protecting the phrase "let's roll" after September 11th) they might be upset to know that there may be a problem with their trademark in relation to a previously approved patent for such item that they may not really hold...

I'm thinking that you are in the position of real power here. This is not like Kleenex, Xerox, or Starbucks, all of which have very unique and non-descriptive names.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV. But, I do hate when people use the law to bully those who are certainly not significantly or tangentally infringing on their commercial space.

So, some serious raspberries to them.

anne frasier said...

kelly -- :)

emeraldcite -- thanks! i'm putting your post in a file.

Anonymous said...

Although I understand this blog is in Anne's domain I am certain that intellegent and understanding people read here.
As Anne knows, when I contacted her I mistakenly thought she was someone else who we had already taken legal action with. It was an honest mistake. Actually, I thought the issue was with the maker of the trailer.
I was wrong. I sent a couple of very apologetic email and admitted I was wrong both in accusation and tone.
I usually send very friendly emails letting someone know the term is trademarked.
Yes, the term is hard to enforce with the trademark, but so far the law has upheld our right as long as the term is used when describing a book video.
I'm not a malicisious person. It was a mistake.
I didn't see my apology email, but it may be here somewhere, since I'm sure that Anne is not the type of person to be unforgiving or willing to hurt someone's reputation over a simple error.
Her name was never put out on the internet as stealing a term. I never said to anyone that she was a bad person or "on crack". Nor would I.
I'm not that kind of person.
So, here I am defending myself after making numerous apologies already. But, I will make one publically.
I apologize for the tone of my email. It was a mistake that I take full responsibility for.
If nothing else, I hope you will leave my post up.
If there is anything more I can say please let me know.

Sheila Clover English
sheila_clover@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I just re-read my post and want to clarify that what I meant by my opening statement is that although Anne has been wronged and it is her right to vent here, I am sure someone will see that I have made a sincere apology.

Sheila

anne frasier said...

Sheila, i will put up your other email if you'd like for me to. just let me know. by the time it arrived, this issue -- at least on my blog -- was over. I did tell several people in emails that you had apologized. the problem most people are having is that you've been able to trademark a common term. your battle to defend it is going to go on forever. (not talking about a battle with me.) I think most people would like to see you come up with your own unique term for book videos. you could probably get a lot of good suggestions right here.

Anonymous said...

Anne, thank you for addressing this. It was very nice of you to do so and I feel much better about everything.
I know that the term will be an ongoing issue. Back when we got the term we got it because at that time no one could find it being used for book videos. Plus, our attorneys said that (at that time) people didn't think of books as video material. So, the US Trademark office allowed it. Yes, they told us "no" in the beginning, but after our attorneys made our case and they (Trademark office) couldn't find anyone else using it, they allowed it under some special considerations.
We've had it challanged once already.
It seems like a regular term, but because now we see them a lot. I can't tell you how many times I used the term in the early years just to have people tell me they had no idea what I was talking about.
The only reason I even contact anyone is that our attorneys said that I had to attempt enforcement and prove that I have in order to keep the trademark viable. I don't know exactly how that works, but they are specialists so I do what they ask of me.
Thank you again for allowing me to explain myself.
I wish you all the best.
Perhaps I'll see you at ThrillerFest. I'll owe you a drink.

Sheila