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.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “When Law Bloggers Threaten Each Other Over Trademark”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
15 Comments
Enough says:

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.

DCL says:

Re: 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.

Enough says:

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.

DeAngelo Lampkin (profile) says:

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
http://www.cheerthis.com -hassle free sharing with NO login and infinite voting
http://www.SheenNation.com – hassle free Sheen sharing!
http://www.braincano.com

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...