Friday, May 30, 2008

Poof


Like the dandelion fluff flies off with the wind, so has any trace of my former business name of FootPrint Photography. When I chose the name I thought I'd covered all my bases by searching for another FootPrint Photography in Minnesota. There was a Footprint Photography in Missouri, a Footprints Classic Wedding Photography in Chicago, and a Footprints Photography in Michigan. I had no plans to expand my business beyond the Metro so I went ahead and filed my new business name with the Secretary of State and within a couple weeks received my paperwork. Almost a year later I received a comment on my photography blog saying that I was infringing on some lady's trademark rights and I needed to contact her immediately. I quickly sent off an apology explaining that I didn't realize I had done anything wrong and kindly asked her if she could explain a little more about how trademarks worked. We had different business names so what was the problem? From then on her emails turned sour. You can read them for yourself -



"OK, think about it this way... Coca Colas, Coca Coleh, Addida, Addides , Nikes Footwear, A Nike Footwear, The Nike Footwear, NIKEY Footwear, Nike Inc Footwear, Nike NYC footwear, Joe's Nike Footwear. Does it make sense now?
Honestly, I am sorry but are you serious? You took the "s" out, big deal. It is still the same and it is NATIONAL trademark. Not just a DBA in Whichever state you live in.
Does that clear it up for you?"

My Reply:

Hi Erin -
First of all, I certainly didn't infringe on your trademark on purpose. Obviously I'm not an expert in Trademark law.
Second, your rude comments as I was trying to get myself up to speed were not appreciated.
I am a small, one woman business with zero aspirations to open up shop in Michigan. Changing my business name to something else is not something I can do overnight. I would hope you could cut me some slack as I redo my blog and contact my current clients with a new address. If you have a change of heart and decide that in the grand scheme of things my little photography business isn't going to have any impact on you and your trademarked name, I would be most grateful.

Carrie,

I was not rude. The minute you looked up FOOTPRINTS PHOTOGRAPHY ® on the net, my webpage came up with a ® right next to the name. I own the NATIONAL trademark. That includes Minnesota. You have one week. I will keep checking and I will also report you to Google for copyright/trademark infringement according to the Digital Millennium Act. You do not have a choice here.
Calling me rude did nothing for your request. It only made it more clear that you think you can do whatever you want. Get my name off of your site immediately. Unless you want a big fight. Because I promise you, you will get one.


After a week of exchanges with this woman I didn't even want to use the name anymore. For my own piece of mind I contacted a trademark attorney to see what he would say about the situation. He gave me a typical lawyer response to my question of whether I did anything wrong, "Yes and no."

Poof.

Since I don't have $1000 to have a new business name trademarked I simply chose to use my name as my business name. Problem with that is I can't create any links to my new photography blog if I want to keep my last name out off
this blog. If you know me (in real life or through blogging) and want to continue to follow my business endeavours please leave a comment under this post and I will send you the address.







3 comments:

4 Little Men & Twins May 30, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

Holy Cow! Some people have no grace and no people skills obviously. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. I'd love to keep up with your photography business... maybe I'll have enough time to keep up with mine. ha!

Brittany

MerrandaVK May 30, 2008 at 10:22 PM  

Yes, SO SORRY...I mean..sosorry/sewsorry/Sosorry that you are dealing with such an annoying situation. Sounds like you handled it with grace though. Keep me posted.

Kelly June 1, 2008 at 11:43 PM  

Bugger! Doesn't it stink when the business end of things totally cramps the creative side of our work? Ugh. So sorry you are going through this, but you will come out stronger on the other side.

P.S. - I'd love to keep up with your biz! :)

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