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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?

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Filed Under: brand protection, cdn, fuck face, joseph cherayath, trademark
Companies: cloudflare, corsearch, the north face, yellow brand protection


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2021 @ 9:57am

    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?

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      But having to pay to have people explain in the correct terms to a Judge that they are completely full of shit is expensive & courts are so very loath to actually punish making bad faith claims in the IP arena. (Lebowitz anyone?)

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2021 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re:

        That would be the second half of my post phrased (starting with “but” implies a rebuttal) to sound like it says something i didn’t. Padding the post count?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2021 @ 7:47am

      Re:

      Hell EA regularly issues "takedowns" for rival game launches at the same time as their own product. Judges STILL say they're "in good faith" despite orders from above to "try to damage their launch"

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

  • icon
    Bt Garner (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:05am

    " .. putting me in a position where my site is at risk."

    Why do I get the feeling that this was the entire intend of their letter?

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

  • icon
    z! (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:10am

    "It's not that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, it's that the left hand doesn't know there are other hands."
    --attributed to a great many people

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

  • icon
    Flakbait (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:24am

    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.

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

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:28am

    And most important

    WHY aren't they liable for all that time they're making you waste based on their baseless claims?

    Why doesn't the law impose ANY penalties on those making baseless claims?

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:58am

      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.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Dec 2021 @ 3:09am

      Re: And most important

      "Why doesn't the law impose ANY penalties on those making baseless claims?"

      Because the DMCA in practice reverses Burden Of Proof.

      I.e. plenty of burden laid at the feet of the accused to prove innocence but none on the accuser to prove guilt.

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

  • icon
    Chris (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:37am

    Perhaps

    This is clearly not an instance where someone should create a crappy Wordpress site and backdate a post predating the use of their actual logo with a copy of the parody and send a takedown notice to northface’s host. So please don’t do that.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:48am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 27 Dec 2021 @ 10:55am

    It sure would be nice if there was a way to make these Corsearch fucks pay. Enough that it hurts.

    North Face has become Fuck Face.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2021 @ 12:47pm

    Three words: Declaration of non-infringement.
    Two words: Tortious interference

    Of course, these things cost money, but...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2021 @ 9:19pm

      Re:

      One word: defamation.

      If they've told a third party that you're breaking the law, when they knew or should of know that wasn't true, that is libel and actionable.

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 27 Dec 2021 @ 4:58pm

    "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"

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 5:52pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Dec 2021 @ 3:44am

      Re:

      Well the enforcement company can't even be bothered to see if the alleged patch is for sale here before claiming it is so.

      One also wonders if they get a base rate & then more for pursuing each evil evil site they claim is selling the patch.

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

  • icon
    Discuss It (profile), 27 Dec 2021 @ 11:45pm

    Hm. Anti-SLAPP anyone?

    Seems that North Ass is using this to mute public participation in discussing IP laws and protections by targeting such commentary on their company for being even less useful than month old condom.

    Twice.

    Or am I simply off base?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Dec 2021 @ 2:37am

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2021 @ 7:45am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2021 @ 8:20am

    take the piss once, shame on you! take it twice, shame on me! dont you ever learn? do unto others as they do unto you, or get fucked if you dont!!

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


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