Electro-Harmonix Shows You Can Handle Trademark Infringement Without The Legal Nastygrams
from the an-example-for-everyone dept
Whenever we write about certain types of trademark disputes, you can almost guarantee that a lawyer will show up in the comments insisting that the trademark holder had no choice but to send a legal nastygram, due to the legal requirement that they defend their trademarks or face having the mark declared generic or abandoned. But, as we’ve mentioned there are often much better ways of dealing with the situation — especially when the use of the mark isn’t harmful at all, but helpful. Reader eMike sends in a great example of this. The company Electro-Harmonix discovered that a German artist had made a big “huggable” pillow version of an Electro-Harmonix guitar effects pedal, rather than send out the legal nastygrams, EHX took a very different approach:
However, there was a touchy complication: the Big Muff Pi is a registered trademark, and if we discover unauthorized uses of our trademarks, we’re legally obligated to do something about it (we have no choice about that).
We’re all too familiar with the endless lawsuits suffocating the world of music, and so we decided to do something different. Instead of threats, demands, and legal letters, we contacted Gwendolin, told her we loved her work, and offered a formal license in exchange for an option to purchase them at discount. So, rather than a new enemy we now have a new friend, and a beautiful Big Fluff Pi. Take that as a lesson, music-industrial complex!
A lot of lawyers in charge of enforcing trademarks might want to think about this story before sending out their next legal nastygram.