Hey The North Face! When You Said Sending Us A Bogus Trademark Threat Was A Mistake, We Believed You; So Why Did You Do It Again?

from the i-feel-like-i'm-writing-to-you-too-much dept

Hey The North Face! Hi, how are you? We keep meeting like this and I really wish it would stop. As you may recall, last month, the “brand protection” company that you hired, Yellow Brand Protection, currently owned by Corsearch, sent us a completely bogus legal threat claiming that our news story from nine years earlier — about someone you threatened for creating a parody image of a patch (not an actual patch and not for sale) saying “Hey Fuck Face” — was somehow infringing.

I realize this can get confusing, so let me spell that out for you again more clearly. Nine years ago, someone Photoshopped a fake patch parodying The North Face logo, with one that said “Hey Fuck Face.” They posted it to Flickr. You guys lost your shit and filed a bogus takedown notice on this obvious parody that was not being used in commerce in anyway. But, much worse, nine years later, you had your “brand protection” company send us — a news organization — an even more bogus takedown for our reporting on it.

That story got a bit of attention, and you had an executive reach out to me and admit that this “is obviously such a ridiculous mistake” and that you were “trying to figure out what happened.” You also said you were “digging into it” and thought maybe someone had just “hit the wrong button.” Your exec was very nice about it and apologized for the inconvenience and said that you’d use this as a learning experience to “course correct.”

I appreciated that.

So… what I don’t appreciate is that after all of that, Yellow Brand Protection/Corsearch apparently decided to escalate this matter a month after all of this went down. I assumed that after you realized how “ridiculous” this was and moved to “course correct” that at some point you informed Yellow Brand Protection to knock it off. Either you did not, or you don’t yet realize just how much money you’re wasting with them. Because on December 17th (again, a month after I thought this was all sorted out) Corsearch’s “Vice President of Enforcement,” Joseph Cherayath (who used to do internet enforcement for the City of London police, infamous for their completely confused and incorrect approach to intellectual property enforcement) upgraded the threat, sending a takedown demand not to us — but to our CDN provider, Cloudflare.

This now gets slightly more serious, because Cloudflare passes it on to our hosting company, who then demands that we do something about this potential legal threat, so rather than before where we could just ignore it, we need to go and explain to our hosting company why they shouldn’t kick us off or go talk to their lawyers on how to deal with this. And at the same time, we have to go reach out to Cloudflare to make sure they know that we’re not — as Joseph Cherayath falsely claimed in his letter to Cloudflare — “infringing on my client’s IP rights by misusing the ‘The North Face’ trademark to sell counterfeit products.”

So, now you’re not just wasting a little of my time, you’re wasting a lot of it, along with two other companies, and putting me in a position where my site is at risk.

So… yeah, forgive me for asking why do you still employ Corsearch for anything? And next time you’re looking to use this as a learning experience and to course correct, could you do it without risking my entire site being taken offline? Please?

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: cloudflare, corsearch, the north face, yellow brand protection

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Comments on “Hey The North Face! When You Said Sending Us A Bogus Trademark Threat Was A Mistake, We Believed You; So Why Did You Do It Again?”

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32 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

While i feel like the statements from north face should overcome any claim of subjective good faith as the company admitted it wasn’t valid, i’m sure even if you went to court, a judge or jury would absolutely find a way to claim this was a good faith takedown and not copyright abuse. And we do we allow copyright on a trademark, o claiming creative protection on a design intended to be functional?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Flakbait (profile) says:

Right where they wanted you

"Your exec was very nice about it and apologized for the inconvenience and said that you’d use this as a learning experience to "course correct." I appreciated that."

It may sound cynical to some and paranoid to others, but one cannot dismiss out of hand that your convo with their exec was simply lulling you into a sense of complacency.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: And most important

Because IP is our most important thingy or some stupid shit.

No one who owns IP would EVER do anything naughty so there is no reason to have any punishments for them.

I’d feel better if the IP cartels actually had to pay more to get these sorts of laws but our representatives sell out cheap.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Mike, I am so fscking sorry.
(Please free my apology from moderation)

Apparently Ms. Hernandez took my last <a href="https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20211112/14074147927/hey-north-face-our-story-about-you-flipping-out-over-hey-fuck-face-is-not-trademark-infringement.shtml#c797“>response</a&gt; to heart.
I didn’t think she could be THAT stupid but here we are.
How she managed to find an "enforcement" company with an IQ lower than her own is mind-boggling.
She pays people to send MANY bogus letters that cause actual harm to the recipients who haven’t violated a single fucking thing.
Perhaps when you next speak to another executive who is going to blow smoke up your ass about how they are sorry can tell you exactly how many websites they’ve managed to shutter in their campagin of unhinged stupidity.

It would only be slightly entertaining if there was a legal recourse for people threatened with life ruining baseless threats that would hurt the bottom line.

Ms. Hernandez, since you for some fscked up reason decide to listen to my instructions here is a new one…
Snort my taint you sad excuse for a human being.
Nothing here represents a threat to your sales, however your actions have damaged your business but the wound is self inflicted you simpering gibbering moron.
Perhaps you should ask those staff lawyers, that you pay to much money, to explain to you what your contractor is doing.
It isn’t legal.
It isn’t right.
Somehow you managed to make your company’s reputation that much worse AND YOU PAID THEM TO DO IT.

Did you happen to eat a bunch of lead paint as a child?
One has to hope that there is some sort of environmental damage that can explain this stupidity, because if this is how you are in life I gotta know… WHO REMINDS YOU TO BREATHE AT NIGHT?

This is a news site, while they do offer merch they aren’t offering this imaginary patch for sale. Any moron in a hurry could confirm this in seconds… but you found a moron who isn’t even doing the bare minimum and destroying your crappy reputation more each day.

May the board of directors take mercy on the world & remove you & your contractor before you manage to shoot yourselves in the other knee… twice.

You have no power here, so just fsck all the way off.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Rekrul says:

"To whom it may concern,

Last month, the company you employ, Corsearch, sent us a bogus infringement notice. After I reached out to your company, I was assured that this was a mistake. However, a month later, Corsearch has upped the ante and is now actively threatening my site.

So, I thought I’d reach out to you and see if you’d like to correct this error before I go ahead and have my lawyers file the lawsuit against your company that they’re currently working on.

Sincerely,

Techdirt"

That One Guy (profile) says:

I really only see two ways to read this. Either the exec who reached out was lying through their teeth when they said they’d do something about the bogus claims or the ‘enforcement’ company they are paying doesn’t actually listen to their client and is perfectly fine issuing bogus legal threats on their behalf even against said client’s wishes.

Gross dishonesty or willingness to continue paying a pack of out of control legal thugs, not a good look and either way just giving more and more reason to avoid both companies like the plague.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Not a SLAPP yet, but give it a month

It’s certainly along those lines but I wouldn’t say it reaches the point of a SLAPP suit just yet for the simple fact that they don’t seem to have filed an actual lawsuit, however given their behavior to date it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if they tripled-down and did just that in another month.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Corsearch has committed multiple acts of libel.

They’ve contacted unrelated third parties and claimed Mike Masnick sells illegal counterfeit goods.

You REALLY ought to sue them (and not settle). This could be good for putting down copyright trolls AND could generate quite a few articles for the site.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Corsearch is a Cyber Cop Who Acts as a Bounty Hunter

Corsearch is nothing but a cyber cop who acts as a bounty hunter. They patrol the Internet and look for any 3rd party seller listings they can remove. Each listing removed becomes a bounty and they can pad their billing to their client for each bounty removed. Corsearch and their clients completely ignore: “fair use, DMCA, Right of First Sale Doctrine, international exhaustion, causes consumer confusion and material differences requirement. If they abided by the law they wouldn’t be in business. Corsearch is a bottom feeder right there with bottom feeding attorneys and junk debt collectors, such as Portfolio Revovery Associates.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m dealing with a false claim from Corsearch right now that was filed against my Etsy store by Joseph Cherayath for a vintage 7/11 Uniform I sold 4 months ago. To be clear, this is a vintage uniform that was manufactured in the 1980s, I only had one of them, it’s clearly marked as vintage in the title, description, and photographs, and IT ALREADY SOLD 4 MONTHS AGO. They’re completely ignoring the first sale doctrine and I suspect they’re using some sort of algorithm to mass flag listings without properly looking into them. Now I have a strike on my Etsy account, my business could be potentially shut down, and my only resolution is to beg Corsearch to withdraw the false claim with Etsy. Unbelievably frustrating — please don’t hire this company to do your trademark enforcement because they don’t do their due diligence

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