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.