When Law Bloggers Threaten Each Other Over Trademark

from the small-law,-small-law,-small-law dept

We've covered plenty of trademark bullying stories over the years, and even though there are plenty of trademark lawyers who still get involved in bullying, it's always seemed that the community of law bloggers knew better than to attack each other over bogus trademark claims. However, Aaron Street from the Lawyerist blog alerts us to the news that another blogger, "TechnoLawyer," hired the big IP law firm Fish & Richardson to send him a legal note (embedded below) because he dared to put up a blog post with the title Above The Law Goes Small Law in reference to a third legal blog, AboveTheLaw.com, deciding to start covering "small" law firm news. The title of the Lawyerist's post is perfectly descriptive and accurate. Yet, apparently, TechnoLawyer holds the tradmark on "SmallLaw" (note the lack of space) and says that the blog title infringes.
Given that Lawyerist is using "Small Law," which is nearly identical to our client's mark SmallLaw, to identify on-line publications in the field of legal news and legal practice, we are concerned that such use will diminish our client's goodwill in its distinctive SmallLaw trademark, and cause the public to mistakenly believe that the columns to be published by Above the Law, as well as the other publications listed at the end of Lawyerist's article, may be connected or affiliated in some way with, and/or endorsed or approved by, PeerViews in violation of United States trademark and unfair competition laws.
Really? I mean, really? Anyone reading the original post or just headline who isn't a complete moron, would know that Lawyerist was using the term in a perfectly descriptive sense. Claiming that this is likely to be associated with TechnoLawyer or harm their "goodwill" is simply ridiculous -- and all the lawyers involved should have known that from the beginning. I would think that pushing bogus legal threats against other legal bloggers will do a lot more harm to the goodwill than a single title on a blog post.

Meanwhile, as the Lawyerist blog tries to figure out what to do (and is asking its readers to vote in a poll), it notes that it was unsure that TechnoLawyer had much "goodwill" after being caught trying to buy votes in some silly "which blog is the prom queen" voting contest.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 4:51pm

    That's it

    I'm going to trademark "LawBlog". Ka-ching!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Enough, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Yeah. I like that everyone gets riled up about these letters. You know how many of these letters are sent on a daily basis from firms big and small? The letter goes in a file to show that the writer was protecting its mark. End of story.

    I think 5% of cease and desist letters are actually serious enough that any further action would be taken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 5:53pm

    Re:

    So, you're saying that most such correspondence is nothing but hot air.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    DCL, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 6:05pm

    Re:

    Is it like that game where kids pretend to punch each other and who ever flinches really gets punched?

    So the initial act is normally a joke so you should never flinch... except when it is isn't a joke and you actually get hit.

    But you end up flinching anyway because getting hit in the arm hurts less than getting hit in the face....

    If you say yes to the initial question I bet you were either a jock or a bully, probably both.

    Yeah so maybe I was a bit on the geeky side as a kid and normally flinched.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Enough, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 6:06pm

    Yeah. I like that everyone gets riled up about these letters. You know how many of these letters are sent on a daily basis from firms big and small? The letter goes in a file to show that the writer was protecting its mark. End of story.

    I think 5% of cease and desist letters are actually serious enough that any further action would be taken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re:

    well, electro-magnetic signals and/or ink and paper, really...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Legal threats, how do they work?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    DeAngelo Lampkin, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Well, let's all be happy for Technolawyer. I'm sure when he grew up wanting to become a lawyer as a child, he dreamed of one day being sueing people for daring to use two commonly used words together in online blogs. :)

    On the other hand, if this goes to court and TechnoLawyer wins, I sense a new business opportunity.

    -DeAngelo
    www.cheerthis.com -hassle free sharing with NO login and infinite voting
    www.SheenNation.com - hassle free Sheen sharing!
    www.braincano.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 11:24pm

    Re:

    If you can't find a fault in a law that generates 95% junk claims and actually only just %5 that merit something(according to yourself) there is something wrong with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 11:27pm

    This reminds me that there are no mechanisms in place that actually evaluate laws and their effectiveness in place and allow people in congress to actually do something about it, there is no monitoring or statistics that people can make sense of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2011 @ 1:49am

    I think people are wising up and realizing that you've created a wonderful marketing tool when you coined the term Streisand Effect. I've heard of AboveTheLaw, never heard of SmallLaw before though. What better way to get free press for your site than to make some frivolous legal claims, and hope the story gets picked up by some blogs somewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    marcyrw (profile), Mar 4th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    small law, small law

    I think everyone who has a blog should put the words "small law" in the headline today. I know I will!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 4th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re:

    "If you say yes to the initial question I bet you were either a jock or a bully, probably both."

    Hey! Some of us "jocks" are geeks too!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Mar 4th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Three Cthonian entities and a Babelfish translator.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    bill, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Neil Squeelante

    Technolawyer and it's owner Neil are just assholes. If any lawyer reads their product, they should be disbarred. He is legal scum and an embarrassment to the legal profession.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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