Get Overly Aggressive With Your Trademark... And Watch Your Reputation Fall

from the can't-be-good-for-business dept

We wrote recently about how an author and her lawyer appeared to be quite overaggressive in trying to enforce the trademark on the title of a book she had written. As someone pointed out in the comments on that post, as the story has grown more popular, many people are coming out of the woodwork to express their displeasure with the book in the Amazon reviews. So, once again, it's a case where being overly aggressive on trademark is doing significant harm to business prospects.

Imagine, instead, if Susan Jeffers, rather than having her lawyer send a letter demanding credit, had simply emailed the author of the original blog post and said "Hey, this is a great blog post, and I've written this book you might be interested in, which even uses that same phrase you mentioned, 'feel the fear and do it anyway.' I'm sure you'd like the book, so let me send you a copy. Thanks!" Think what might have happened? The blogger would likely have been interested, seeing as the topic of the book is similar to what he writes about, and he might even write a review or mention her book positively in future blog posts. But, instead, she jumped to the legal route, and is now suffering the consequences.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    another mike, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    going the lawyer route

    Everyone knows not to call out the lawyers but she did it anyway and now she's feeling the fear.

     

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    Tgeigs, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 12:33pm

    Hmm

    I imagine her lawyer as Ted from Scrubs...

     

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    Crashoverride, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Even better example is the recent news stories about Monster Cable having to slash prices because of there negative name in recent trade lawsuits and with Circuit city gone they lost one of there largest distribution channels

     

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    B, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    A dash of irony

    Most of the negative reviews are legitimate looking enough to avoid being deleted... these cracked me up though:

    Robert Riddle - "A bland and overly generic book, just a repeat of ideas I've heard many times. Looks like the author just took a bunch of ideas that have been around forever and decided to write them down as if they were her own."

    And Frettful "J" - "[...] Oh by the way, I'm pending a copyright for this comment. This will be a registered trademark, and so if you wish to use this phrase for any purpose whatsoever, you are required to contact me."

    Oh crap... I better email Frettful "J"...

     

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    R. Miles, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    And this is why I stay the hell away from reviews.

    In looking at the one star reviews, it's no coincidence most were posted about the same time the negativity about the copyright was placed.

    Sure, there's a correlation, but when most of those reviews are stupid one-liners, there's no way I'd take those as "reviews".

    Just bullshit.

    The entire point of a review is to convey the opinion of the material at hand.

    Anyone who takes these one-liners as a "review" is a complete moron.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

      Re: And this is why I stay the hell away from reviews.

      But are they a moron in a hurry? Isn't that the real question?

       

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        John Duncan Yoyo, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

        Re: Re: And this is why I stay the hell away from reviews.

        >But are they a moron in a hurry? Isn't that
        >the real question?

        These Lawyers are professional moron's in a hurry to build up billable hours.

         

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      Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 1:33pm

      Re: And this is why I stay the hell away from reviews.

      It's not hard to convey large amounts of information in a one line review.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

      Re: And this is why I stay the hell away from reviews.

      These reviews hold a lot of sway for many people. Even if her book was the best thing written in the last 100 years, if I read a bunch of reviews on Amazon talking about how the author is a copyright NAZI I'd pass on their book in a second. It's the same thing with all the negative reviews of PC games that use DRM, who cares if the game is good or bad, I won't support DRM.

       

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      bigpicture, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

      Re: And this is why I stay the hell away from reviews.

      Morons are usually too stupid to see the irony of "just bullshit" being a one line opinion that also conveys no information.

       

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      R. Miles with brains, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

      Re: And this is why I stay the hell away from reviews.

      Did you look at the 5 star reviews with the wall of text? Just because they had words, doesn't mean they actually conveyed anything. Most of the positive reviews provide nothing except for "Wow! I love reading self help books and I liked this one too! Wee!" Or even blatantly provide a positive review to have a plug for own self help book. Either way, the point is that the author is suffering the consequences of being stupid.

       

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    sehlat (profile), Apr 30th, 2009 @ 1:09pm

    Actually, Jeffers' reputation isn't in that much trouble.

    After all, a fall from a very low height can't do a lot of damage.

     

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    Different Mike, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    One line reviews

    I think the people mentioning the one-line reviews are overlooking a very important fact: A very large number of Amazon's customers do not read the reviews at all, they just look at the overall star rating. For those people the one-line reviews are just as effective as a well thought out, paragraph-long review.

    I love watching overzealous copyright holders shoot themselves in the foot. Or, more accurately, they get shot in the foot by their own lawyers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    Sentence squatting is the new domain squatting.(R)

     

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    insignificant insect, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    bad review SPAMing

    All those reviews were probably written by the same person, or numerous of them were written by the same person. basically "bad review" spamming. Also, notably all the negative one star reviews start when techdirt made note of it on april 27th, not april 26th when the original blogger posted about it...

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 30th, 2009 @ 5:24pm

    Feel the review

    "feel the fear and do it anyway" is the work of a woman with an insane sense of entitlement, and possibly clinical OCD issues. Based on her poor understanding of trademark law, I'd avoid any advice that comes from her.

    YMMV

     

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    Sos, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Is "feel the fear" equivalent to "smell the glove"?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2009 @ 2:56am

    A few days ago it had over 100 "one star" reviews... Now it has just over 50... It might be another glitch...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2009 @ 5:53am

    It might be a reach to say that the action caused significant harm to this author. Who had heard of the book before doing so? If there were no sales (or the sales that would ultimately going to be made have already taken place) and then the bad reviews started, then it doesn't really make a difference.

    Who knows, the bad publicity might have sold more books.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2009 @ 7:41am

    I seem to remember...

    ...someone saying that any attention is good attention, even if the attention is negative.

     

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    Tamara, May 1st, 2009 @ 6:03pm

    You'll need to be an idiot

    Yes this women is totally wrong for going after the blogger, but putting in false reviews isn't right. Sure, give her 1 star for her actions and mention that, but don't tell lies about the book. Let people make up their own mind, if they want to support a copyright nazi or not.

    Reviews like this

    check it out, this book was so trite and useless that I actually recieved more help from a homeless man that I had given a nickle to. He was more helpful than this book and when I tried to offer it to him, he balked and spat at my feet as if I had insulted by my precieved gesture of kindness. Nonetheless I fell disheartened from this exchange and felt the need to tell the savy consumers of Amazon that this book will only be useful if you enjoy reading regurgitated common ideas. [...]

    Are so obviously made up, and no one will believe them, but some people may find this book useful. You're only hurting them if you steer them away with lies

     

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