New Zealand Newspaper Threatens Blogging Critic With Trademark Infringement Claim

from the is-that-really-the-best-way-to-handle-things? dept

Pete wrote in to alert us to yet another case of a lawyer taking an overly aggressive approach to a cease-and-desist... and, in doing so, drawing a lot more attention to the issue. This time it takes place in New Zealand, where a blogger who runs an entire blog called Editing The Herald, which criticizes stories in The New Zealand Herald, received a legal nastygram from The Herald claiming trademark infringement and giving the guy a day to remove his logo -- which was an edited version of The Herald's logo (basically putting the "Editing The" above the logo -- or it would take him to court. As is standard in these things (though, usually with no legal basis), the lawyer demanded that the blogger not publish the letter, which the blogger ignored.

Now, I don't know enough about New Zealand trademark law to comment on the merits, but the whole approach just seems backwards. Having been on the receiving end of a few too many legal nastygrams, it's never a pleasant experience, and there's really no reason to send them if you haven't first tried a more friendly approach. The blogger in this case did agree to remove the logo and is apparently working on a new one, but The Herald and its lawyers could have approached the site in a much more friendly manner, rather than appearing like massive bullies, and giving the blogger more ammo to draw even more attention to the site. Once again, it appears that there are a lot of lawyers out there who still think that sending such cease and desist letters is a good idea.

Filed Under: editing the herald, lawyers, new zealand, newspapers, trademark
Companies: new zealand herald


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  • identicon
    Luís Carvalho, 7 May 2009 @ 1:22am

    Hey, Mike... What if... (lol) the lawyer was actualy a fan?

    That would explain it. He would be helping the blogger and being payed for it. Nice trick huh?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2009 @ 1:22am

    Hey New Zealand Newspaper, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

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

  • identicon
    Jerry in Detroit, 7 May 2009 @ 4:00am

    Lawyers

    "Once again, it appears that there are a lot of lawyers out there who still think that sending such cease and desist letters is a good idea."
    .
    The blame here should be affixed to the New Zealand Herald. They called in the lawyers. Cease & desist letters are what lawyers do. By the time a client shows up, they are convinced this what they need. Far be it for a lawyer to pass by a fee even if they know it is a stupid, counterproductive idea.

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

  • icon
    Rob (profile), 7 May 2009 @ 4:58am

    Defending Lawyers?

    @Jerry -- You really think that the lawyers are blameless pawns in the current state of IP law? Lawyers are the biggest instigators of frivolous legal action in the country, they are the only ones who ever win out in these scenarios and it is their bread and butter. I certainly would not absolve the New Zealand Herald, but the lawyers certainly share a good deal of the blame.

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

    • identicon
      Ima Fish, 7 May 2009 @ 5:24am

      Re: Defending Lawyers?

      No one said the lawyer was completely blameless, certainly he should have done a better job of talking his client out of the course of action, but lawyers can only act on behalf of and on the direction of their clients.

      Have you ever seen a plumber show up to your house and start working on the plumbing without anyone asking him to do so?

      Have you ever seen physician randomly treat people he met while walking down the street without permission?

      Have you ever heard of an auto mechanic work on cars without someone first asking him to do so?

      Lawyers operate the exact same way. They don't do anything unless their client wants it done.

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

      • identicon
        Tgeigs, 7 May 2009 @ 9:24am

        Re: Re: Defending Lawyers?

        "Have you ever seen a plumber show up to your house and start working on the plumbing without anyone asking him to do so?" - No, but I've seen unionized plumbers either take longer than need be to run up more billable time, or else claim something else need to be fixed, which didn't, in order to make more cash.

        "Have you ever seen physician randomly treat people he met while walking down the street without permission?" - No, but I've seen physicians milk a patient's good insurance to get more billable procedures/tests/work done, regardless of the need.

        "Have you ever heard of an auto mechanic work on cars without someone first asking him to do so?" - Bwhahahahahahahhaahha, please tell me your kidding on this one, no? Do you own a car? Have you NEVER had a bad mechanic? One who, despite you requesting a tire rotation tells you that your callipers and break pads needed to be replaced, and oh, that'll be $4k for the repairs? Why do ou think mechanics have such bad reputations?

        "Lawyers operate the exact same way" - I agree. They milk, and milk, and milk. They are SUPPOSED to advise their clients, not do whatever the client says.

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

  • identicon
    Ima Fish, 7 May 2009 @ 5:19am

    Trademark infringement threat: the last refuge of a scoundrel!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2009 @ 6:35am

    Rob, I think you are completely wrong about lawyers. Sure, there are some bad ones out there, but most lawyers I know do try to talk their clients out of actually going to court because they know that quite a few times, it is just not worth it. They are paid by their client and will advise them, but if the client says they want to go to court, they go to court.

    That being said, why do lawyers send threatening letters? Obviously because they work. Sure, you post a few stories here that highlight a case and that case gets lots of attention and you make fun of the sender, but how many are sent that don't get noticed and get them what they want?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2009 @ 8:05am

    Tnx from the blogger

    I hope the blogger wrote a nice thank-you letter to the paper. I am sure they did wonders for his daily readership. A nice thank-you note would be appropriate. As these things go he probably now has twice as many readers, a lot of whom did not even know the blog existed before the threat of legal action. He really should show his appreciation.

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

  • identicon
    Rob, 7 May 2009 @ 8:41am

    @Ima Fish-- I have not seen these things as you have prescribed -- but I have seen an auto mechanic try to push me towards expensive services that are entirely unnecessary -- and I have seen this sort of behavior in every field imaginable.

    Lawyers work in much the same way, they aren't going to barge into the office and start sending cease and desist letters all over the place, but they quite often will push their clients in that direction -- it is in their best interest as that is how they make their money.

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

  • icon
    WarOtter (profile), 7 May 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Hey Mike...

    Could you maybe make a small page on this site where you could post some of the legal nastygrams you get... I'd love to peruse those fine pieces of literature.

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

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