8
Feb/06

Trademark Attribution For Dummies


One of Jason Calcanis’ blogs at Weblogs, Inc. Network, used the term SUPER BOWL GUIDE FOR DUMMIES as the title of a single blog post.
No, it did not receive a demand letter from the owners of the SUPER BOWL mark.
It got a demand letter from Wiley, owners of the FOR DUMMIES mark.
Wiley’s letter is not a demand letter in that it doesn’t allege an infringement of rights and doesn’t demand cessation of activity. When pressed by Calcanis (CEO of Weblogs (now an AOL company)), Wiley acknowledged that one-time use in a title was not trademark use, and that Wiley was merely asking for attribution. However, the original letter resembles a demand letter in that it starts out with a recitation of legal rights, and asks for written assurance that Weblogs is complying with the request.
On these facts, Weblogs does not have to provide attribution. If you write a letter asking someone to do something they do not have to do, then you are asking them for a favor. When asking for a favor, If you do not use magic words such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘we respectfully request,’ then do not be surprised when your letter gets posted on a website.

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