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  1. #1
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    Wasn't sure if they would give up their pathetic attempt to squash ALL sites from using the word "freebies" in their domain, but I guess not, I got their certified letter today, basically stating that I am infringing on their registered trademark , and must STOP using my domain name , or be sued .

    Well, I guess I am going to be sued soon, because I'm not giving up without a good fight , and from what I see, it doesn't look as if they have much of a leg to stand on, as the word "freebies" is a common dictionary term, and I would guess, it's distinctive enough to qualify for non-protection under trademark law relating to domains.


    I will, however, add a disclaimer to my main page, that will serve to clearly remove any shred of confusion that may exist , as to whether or not my site is in any way related to, or sponsored by "Freebies.com" ,or the registered owner of the trademark "Freebies" for periodicals , newspapers, and magazines.

    And, while I'm at it, I think I'll have a little fun with an "editorial" review of their service - this should be fun !


    Lisa

  2. #2
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    tell them to f*ck off, im really well practiced at writing those sort of letters!

    and while youre at it why dont you trademark ".com"

  3. #3
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    They must be hurting for some cash! How pathetic to even attempt such a thing...

    But the worst part is that they actually found an attorney willing to take on such lame ass cases, you can bet that the attorney is being paid by the hour and not the standard %!

    I just can't see any judge allowing this to get far, it looks very frivolous to me.

    Good luck! Dealing with greedy idiots is a pain in the arse.

  4. #4
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    If I'm correct, I believe there are laws on the books that say that a company can't claim to sue you without the intent of actually sueing you. They can't threaten you to make changes unless there intent is to actually take it to court. If they continue to threaten but take no action, you would actually have a case against them....now that would be sweet


    Tom Pyles

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador parentsworld's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by austin powers:

    and while youre at it why dont you trademark ".com"
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    lol I like that. Hmmm....

  6. #6
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    Lisa,

    TM litigation costs about $250K with any REAL law firm ... and they want $100 upfront ... if they'll take the case ... trust me ... I've been there ... tell them to F' off!

    If I'm wrong (highly doubt it) and they select only your site or a few sites to sue (out of the thousands) then that is selective discrimination (for the counter suit) ... that is actionable, cheaper and much easier to win.

    Haiko

  7. #7
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    Well I have a "freebie" site (yeah, "freebie" is in the url/name) and they haven't gotten to me... yet. It's not a site I do much of anything with, but it's there.

    So if you get to the point of needing to prove discrimination, as explained by Haiko, drop me a note. If they still haven't gotten to me, I'll do what I can. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>They can't threaten you to make changes unless there intent is to actually take it to court.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Lisa, you might find it helpful to read up on the offense of "barratry."

  9. #9
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    oh, and I know one of the things they are claiming is they originated the word... well, according to Mirriam-Webster "Etymology: by alteration from obsolete freeby gratis, irregular from free
    Date: 1942"

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I am infringing on their registered trademark <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Oooo, ya. Typical lawyer shit.

    I believe that in the trade they call it 'sword rattling'.

    (My personal preference more leans towards a bunch of chimpanzees rattling their cages, screaming all kinds of unknown legalese, and when it's all over and done, they all subside to sit in their own dung and congratulate each other on how good a job they did. The one covered in the least amount of dung did The Best Job.)

    We've got a TLD with 'freebies' in it, and we're also waiting for our letter. I've spent four seconds comprising a two word reply. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    CodeJockey.

  11. #11
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    Lisa I wouldn't worry about it - AT ALL!!!

    I think you can call their bluff.

  12. #12
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    Been doing a little legal research today, and it seems that the certified letter they sent me , which essentially declares me an "accused infringer" , now grants me the legal rights to challenge that trademark, on the grounds that it does not meet the statutory requirements for trademark .


    The more I look into it,
    they basically opened a big can of worms by sending out those foolish certified letters, and they may just wind up with their trademark invalidated after owning it in peace for many years .

    If they do fork over the cash for a costly trademark litigation suit, and by some miracle ,they win it...
    I am sure there exists an appropriate state or federal antitrust law that they would be in violation of , by their attempts to use that one word trademark to create a monopoly , and THAT is illegal ,punishable by fines , and possibly even jail time .

    The best part is, they do not even have to sucessfully "create" that monopoly, the mere attempt to do so, in itself, is a criminal act.

    Eithor way, I'm sure they are going to lose BIG TIME in the end.

    Morons, should have just been happy with the great domain name they own, and make the best out of life.

    Lisa

    [ 01-16-2002: Message edited by: Lisa ]

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador parentsworld's Avatar
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    Cool. Now take that information, sit down take a big breath and write out a very point blank letter stating eveything you said. Send it to them. Watch them back off [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  14. #14
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    Hi
    Well what a mess they seem to be in. I would like to point you in the direction of a well known case of a major software company who wanted to have a certain word which is used in everyday life regestered to them as a trademark. This said company had major battles on its hands as people did not want to see this happening as it would mean that this word could not be used again by anyone else in the world.

    The company lost the battle and the word is free to be used by the whole world.

    What was the word you ask me?

    Well its very simple

    "WINDOWS"


    regards
    John

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador parentsworld's Avatar
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    Here in Canada you can't trademark common English.

    When I was in college our English Prof contacted the War Amps to complain about their campaign "Play Safe" stating that it was improper English. "Play Safely" is correct. In talking to them she found out it had to be that way because you can not trademark a commonly used phrase or word in proper English.

    Would gamble to say it's the same thing in the States. What I can't imagine is how they got the trademark in the first place??

  16. #16
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    Lisa. Don't reply to their letter in any way shape or form. It doesn't come from a lawyer or a legal company - it's from their own "offices"

  17. #17
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    Oh these things slip through. Interestingly enough, "they" first applied for the trademark in 1977... apparently their "Freebies" changed hands -- it was first registered to "Brian Weiss, Individual" and is now with (yes, it is the same Freebies) "Freebies Publishing composed of Eugene F. Zannon and Gail Zannon, both U.S. citizens PARTNERSHIP"...

    Interesting to note that several others have trademarks on phrases that include the word "freebies"...

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador parentsworld's Avatar
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    Really? I'd write back, I see it as ample opportunity (keep in mind, I'm no lawyer). They wrote you, you write back. If their lawyer writes you, then your lawyer writes back. Right now it's still at a person to person level. If you ignore them then the next letter might be from their lawyer. I would say let them know your intensions now and the reasons behind them.

    Had a friend who got an email when he registered digitalguru.net from the guy who owned digitalguru.com demanding that he stop using it and give it to them.

    He basically wrote them an email telling them to p***off and he never heard from them again.

    He let the domain go a few years back and now the .com guys have it, but through it all they never grabbed the .org name. You'd think if it were such a big deal they'd grab the open domains.

  19. #19
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    I wouldn't make any type of reply without legal advice.It doesn't matter if the company wrote it or a lawyer, it has no legal
    merit.A company or their lawyers can't dictate or enforce laws,that would be up to a judge.The only papers that would mean anything would be from a clerks office in some courthouse where a lawsuit was filed.Until I seen that I would sit tight.The best words I would have for them come from a very good lawyer who is now departed,I had a problem many years ago when I was about 22 where a person came to me threating to sue over some matter,I called this lawyer and he told me to tell them to "hit the road and sue" I never heard another word from it.One more thing I would
    say about the law,you've probably heard the expression clear cut,well when it comes to the law nothing is clear cut.

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisa:
    Been doing a little legal research today, and it seems that the certified letter they sent me , which essentially declares me an "accused infringer" , now grants me the legal rights to challenge that trademark, on the grounds that it does not meet the statutory requirements for trademark .


    The more I look into it,
    they basically opened a big can of worms by sending out those foolish certified letters, and they may just wind up with their trademark invalidated after owning it in peace for many years .

    If they do fork over the cash for a costly trademark litigation suit, and by some miracle ,they win it...
    I am sure there exists an appropriate state or federal antitrust law that they would be in violation of , by their attempts to use that one word trademark to create a monopoly , and THAT is illegal ,punishable by fines , and possibly even jail time .

    The best part is, they do not even have to sucessfully "create" that monopoly, the mere attempt to do so, in itself, is a criminal act.

    Eithor way, I'm sure they are going to lose BIG TIME in the end.

    Morons, should have just been happy with the great domain name they own, and make the best out of life.

    Lisa

    [ 01-16-2002: Message edited by: Lisa ]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Lisa,

    Exactly as I said ... but do not issue a reply unless the letter head is from an attorney ... I am RWA to fight for you if you want ... I beat Phillip Morris, Jim Beam Brands and Anchor foods ($500 Million) ... I know my TM stuff!

    If you were to take up a case against them for the (R) ... it will be heard by an examiner at the USPTO ... not a court ... and be forewarned .. the USPTO's "judgments" are fudged!

    Anti-trust suit [img]tongue.gif[/img] ... leave it alone ... make more pages and leave these boofs to kick themselves in the head (or lower and other side) [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] !

    Haiko

  21. #21
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    Haiko-
    Thanks a lot for your support.
    I don't plan on doing anything about it, but I felt the need to check in to the matter a bit.

    I understand about the boards favoritism towards trademark owners in their decissions, and have heard about this problem before.

    Unless they actually slap me with legal papers, I'm not doing a darn thing.
    However, if they do, I will fight back on principle . To me, it doesn't matter if the site only winds up getting 1 visit per month, I will fight for it, because it is my first baby, and holds a special place in my heart .

    For now, they can kiss my sweet arse , and call it a freebie [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Working on a new site, so I don't really have time for this crap .

    What do you think ? Good domain I managed to buy ?
    HomeDecoratingCatalog.com

    This one is going to be my first "real" project, not a freebies, or coupons site, but a clean, well layed out shopping site of furniture, and decorating products .

    Lisa

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador cusimano's Avatar
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    Here's a little insight as to what the trademark (TM) holder might try and do....

    If the TM holder is serious in pursuing this matter, what will likely happen is that the TM holder will pursue a case against you using one of the domain dispute arbitration companies in accordance with ICANN's Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

    For a good insight into domain dispute cases and some good points, see the following actual case summaries at:
    http://www.eresolution.com/services/dnd/decisions.htm

    (the cases at this site give you some good insight into what the criteria are for determining whether or not you are in violation)

    Unfortunately, eresolution.com is no longer taking on new cases because trade-mark holders who are disputing domain names seem to prefer other arbitration companies that are more favorable to the trade-mark holder (see: http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/172619.html )

    The fact that they have a TM doesn't help your case. What you might have to do is claim that your use of "freebies" does not infringe their trademark or cause confusion as to the source in the eyes of the public (if you put a disclaimer on your site, it might actually be evidence that people are being confused and hence the need for a disclaimer).

    I did a search at the www.uspto.gov and their trademark appears to be for: "periodicals; namely, magazines and newspapers with information about mail order offerings"

    Does your use involve a periodical, magazines, newspapers with information about mail order offerings?

    Also, make sure that your logo does not look like theirs in any way.

    What you have going for you is that there are 1336 domains with the term "Freebie" in it. See: http://www.domainsurfer.com/ssearch.cgi?dom=freebies

  23. #23
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    You can look for trademarks at www.uspto.gov.. the info for Freebies states:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    IC 016. US 038. G & S: periodicals; namely, magazines and newspapers with information about mail order offerings. FIRST USE: 19770901. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19771109
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If you search for Freebies at USPTO, you'll notice that there are *other* trademarks with the word "Freebies" in such as:

    TEACHER FREEBIES
    BIRTHDAY FREEBIES NETWORK
    FILL YOUR BASKET WITH FREEBIES

    I just registered gofreebies.com so they can threaten me too!

  24. #24
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    Thanks, everyone ...

    Going to forget the whole thing for now, and those of you that didn't get their letter, and this whole thing applies to you, now have something to look forward too [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Seems they are taking their time on this, some got the letter weeks ago . The owners of Freebies.com, a husband a wife, probably have to lick each stamp themself at the kitchen table, and only have enough money for so much postage per week [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Lisa

  25. #25
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Yeah the freebies.com website sucks!

    They'd be best off selling it. Besides, I'm pretty sure that the Trademark doesn't cover a website and they are in error in saying that Freebies.com is a trademark, since only "Freebies" is.

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