MLM Company Accuses Blogging Critic Of Trademark Infringement Over Metatag Usage

from the good-luck-there dept

A bunch of folks have sent in the news that MonaVie, a company I must confess I've never heard of -- but which apparently is a typical multilevel marketing deal, this time involving something to do with acai berries -- is threatening a critical blogger for the sin of mentioning the company name in metatags. Well, actually, they threatened him over a lot more in their legal nastygram to the blogger's domain registrar. However, when the good folks at The Consumerist asked MonaVie for clarification, the company's lawyer claimed that the original letter was from "a new person working in our compliance department" who apparently went a bit too far. But, that the company still felt the use in metatags was a violation of trademarks. That seems hard to believe for a variety of reasons, as no moron in a hurry would confuse a blog critical of MonaVie with the company itself. This certainly sounds like an abuse of trademark law in an attempt to stifle speech.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Dave G, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 4:03am

    This is why there needs to be a test to own a website domain. I remember when I had a guy send me a cease and disist letter in 1997, claiming that my use of his name in my meta tags broke copyright law. LOL. After laughing at the idiot, I actually trademarked his company name and shut his site down.

    I bet you if you look at this companies website you will probably find competitors and who knows what in their meta tags.

     

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    Sean, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 6:03am

    Their meta tags

    There is not much in their meta tags. Their "keywords" are more of a description. Looks like their webmaster is not very up on search engine placement.

     

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    Harshal (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Does that mean if I write a tutorial on how to use certain features of Microsoft Word and include Microsoft Word in the metatags. I need to take MS's permission. Ridiculous.

     

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    RecycledBottle, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

    You guys almost make a point until you blow it - like the Oakland Raiders!

    "this certainly sounds like an abuse of trademark law in an attempt to stifle speech."

    Don't be an idiot. The speech can continue without the metatag. It's an attempt to stifle search engine ranking - which is a privilege, not a right.

     

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    Rod Cook, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 11:43pm

    Trademark Infringement

    Yes This is a Federal Trade Mark Infringement. Case precedent set in Federal District Court Riverside California about six years ago. Defendent abusing meta tags was hit by a $250,000 judgement over the use of the word Pycnogenal in meta tags. It is viewed as hi-jacking a trademark to make money. I was expert witness for the platiff and walked the Jury right through it. I have book marked this page so I can come back and post the decision. Rod Cook http://www.mlmconsultant.com/expert_witness_mlm.htm

     

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    Ted Hillman, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 6:12pm

    Yuck.

    The acai berry thing is a tip-off to begin with, but the "nastygram" definitely communicates a great deal about the outfit involved. Gross. Stifling free speech is right.

     

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    David Heads, Oct 18th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Monavie

    Unfortunately there were some rogue distributors who had misused and abused the Monavie brand.These have since been suspended or removed!
    Monavie are currently in 15 countries and its Founder Dallin Larsen has worked tirelessly to build an ethical company based on a product of integrity!
    Dallin has recently been awarded 'Entrepeneur of the Year' by Ernst & Young and the Company is now ranked 18th in the Inc500.
    Monavie have never promoted their product range as a 'cure all' only as a powerful antioxidant which helps the body help itself.
    Their have been outstanding testimonials of positive benefits from those who are taking Monavie and that is not to be denied.
    As a direct result of the benefits that my family and friends have experienced through taking the product I am now delighted to be one of Monavie's members.
    To understand more about Company the product,the good they are accomplishing through the MORE Project view our webpage at: www.onesimpleproduct.com

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    However Enzyte, when the good folks at The Consumerist asked MonaVie for clarification, the company's lawyer claimed that the original letter was from "a new person working in our compliance department" who apparently went a bit too far.

     

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    Network Marketing Success, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:27am

    Double Ouch!

    I don't know what protection can a blogger gets when he publishes something online. Internet laws are still very sketchy. You mean a company can get damage fees from you if you use their tags or keywords?

     

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