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. icon
    william (profile), 24 Sep 2009 @ 10:58am

    Re: A LEGAL VIEWPOINT==THIS IS A LEGALLY REGISTERED TM by Valkor

    PTO may grant the TM registration to McNeal, for now. They can also revoke it once proven that McNeal has no right to register for this word. The registration is not definite.

    The fact that you are allowed to register it doesn't make you right. In the past there are numerous examples in which a registered mark is revoked because it was confusing to ANOTHER trademark. According to your logic, those who got revoked should have argued that the fact PTO allowed them to register before means that it's not confusing to another trademark and thus PTO cannot revoke what itself has allowed in the past. Does this actually sound right? As Volkor has point out, this IS indeed circular logic.

    And your argument about the "notice period" is laughable. Who in their right mind checks PTO's site everyday to try to find out what has been trademarked recently. Unless you are a trademark troll hired by some troll company to check it everyday so you can sue for big money. Even large business only check the trademarks after they though of a new product line to check if it conflicts with another.

    BTW, McNeal, whom I have absolute no respect for, is not innovative. You have conveniently left out the fact that SHE DID NOT INVENT THE WORD. She just took someone's idea and word and trademarked it for herself. That's a thief, a robber, not a innovator.

    Hey McNeal, if you happens to read this blog, let it be known that you are neither innovator, or a frugalista. You are just a lowly COMMON THIEF. You are no different then all those pirated goods from China. The only difference is that your style is actually low enough to try to BULLY OTHERS by legal means.

    Just watch, you are going to suffer from this unbelievably idiotic move.

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