Frugalista! Frugalista! Frugalista! Now... Where's My Cease And Desist?

from the this-is-getting-silly dept

The term "frugalista" is apparently quite popular, such that the word has even been defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. There are a bunch of bloggers who write about "frugal living" who refer to themselves as "frugalistas." It was a nice little community... until a trademark claim entered into the mess. William alerts us to the news that a blogger (who established her blog long after the word was in common usage) has trademarked the term and is having her lawyer send cease-and-desist letters to other bloggers who refer to themselves as frugalistas. A US News reporter asked the woman's lawyer how it could possibly make sense that she could go after people who used the term before her client did, and the lawyer's response was:
"they all have to stop now."
Except... no. That's not quite how trademark works. But, once again, in a society where people think they get to claim ownership of whatever they want, we end up in silly situations like this. Hopefully the threatened bloggers are able to stand up to the bullying frugalista. Who knew that living the frugalista lifestyle included trademark infringement suits?

Filed Under: blogging, frugalista, trademark

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  1. identicon
    Valkor, 24 Sep 2009 @ 3:23am


    Yay for fail!
    "...distinctive to her since 2008." Unfortunately for your thesis, the New York Times article on the 2008 word of the year points out that the word was coined in 2005 and in public use since then. Incidentally, that NYT article is now the #1 Google result for "frugalista". So much for using Google rankings as evidence for the validity of a trademark. You do a great job using the PTO issuance of the trademark as evidence for supporting ... wait for it... the validity of the PTO issuance of the trademark. Yay for circular logic!

    On the September 10 blog entry in The Frugalista Files, "The Frugalista" addresses advice from a stylist to other "Frugalistas". Apparently, by securing the trademark on Frugalista, she now gets to call herself and others frugalistas, but no one else can identify themselves as part of that group. Does that make *any* sense?

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