October 31, 2007
Spoolies® — 'When elephants dance, the grass gets trampled'
The African proverb up top came instantly to mind when I received the following email last Thursday, October 25, 2007:
- Trademark Infringement — Spoolies
Dear Book of Joe,
Please remove reference to "Spoolies" on your website in conjunction with Vermont Country Store.
Spoolies is a registered trademark name and is protected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Vermont Country Store does not have a legal right to use the Spoolies name and they have removed reference to Spoolies on their website, catalog, and search engines.
Today when I typed Spoolies into Google, your subject heading came up referencing Spoolies to an old screen shot of a Vermont Country Store ad.
Please notify Google that you must remove this heading from your Book of Joe.
The official website for Spoolies hair curlers is www.spoolies.com
The website is under construction and the Spoolies hair curlers will be released early next year in the original rubber version not the PVC version that Vermont Country Store sells (now as hair spools).
Thank you for your help,
Let's all take a deep breath and see what the Spoolies kerfuffle is all about.
I featured the item in a post that appeared on September 14, 2006.
I guess the Spoolies people (Jeanne James et al) got their knickers in a twist as a result of the Vermont Country Store's apparently unauthorized use of the word, and did the usual lawyerbot cease-and-desist dance.
Now Ms. James is trying to put lightning back into the bottle and walk back the cat, after a fashion, by eliminating evidence of the Vermont Country Store's featuring the product using the Spoolies name.
And so they came to me.
If you put Spoolies into the Google search box you will get back about 10,000 results, with my September 14, 2006 post number 3.
The Vermont Country Store, where their "Hair Spools" appear when you click on the link.
So even though the Vermont Country Store has cleansed its site per the Spoolies lawyers, it still comes up on top when you search for Spoolies.
I suspect the same thing will happen if I go back and fiddle and diddle around with my post on the item.
And I haven't a clue how to get through the Google firewall and do what Ms. James would like me to do.
And besides, I'm a very, very busy and important person and I simply don't have the time to deal with stuff like this.
So I'm going to invoke the useful philosophy of Maxwell Maltz, to wit: "The best response is no response."
It usually does the trick in the OR and I see no reason why it shouldn't apply out here in the trademark space.
I'm also reminded of Henry Kissinger's wonderful observation, to wit: "The reason academic politics are so vicious is that the stakes are so small."
October 31, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink
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Oh WOW, I loved "Spoolies", I used pink ones as a kid; do you hav any? I would love them; I try explain them to people, they look at yah, like your nutz; plez contact me, love to find some spoolies...they were like and empty spool when open, hard rubber and they looked like you had little flying saucers in your hair........firstname.lastname@example.org...I don't remember black ones, as seen in the ad, they were pink, regards ttys
Posted by: nanc | Feb 22, 2010 2:42:12 PM
where can I buy the real thing? I want to find some spoolies
Posted by: kat | Jun 14, 2008 1:29:34 PM
To Jeanne James:
I, for one, am glad to see that the Vermont Country store can't advertise these as 'original' anymore! I got sucked into buying a couple packages and was appalled when I got them.
NOT the originals at all... but cheap plastic ones which do not work worth a damn! What a waste of money. :(
Posted by: sillyeagle | Nov 3, 2007 5:04:09 AM
Nothing to do vs. nothing better to do. I can only speak for myself. I took a break late evening EST and commented on the disaster, or the lack of, oh nevermind! too late for me and I have, you know, stuff to do tomorrow. I completed some sort of grade at some point in time. I'm never on target although I'll tease the tar-jay thing. "sigh, dragging my guilty rear end away to sleep!"
Posted by: NotCreativeEnough | Nov 1, 2007 12:27:32 AM
Snort. Those people have nothing to do, do they? The academic quote is right on target.
Posted by: bioephemera | Nov 1, 2007 12:15:25 AM
Oh Snap!! There go my trade marked pin curls :)
Posted by: NotCreativeEnough | Nov 1, 2007 12:03:37 AM
This brings up an interesting point over trademarks.... I checked uspto.gov quickly regarding the registration date of that trademark, which turned out being within the past few years. Obviously, the original trademark was probably abandoned many years ago (renewal required every 10 years plus an additional affidavit halfway though that 10 years) and if in the meanwhile there is evidence of that term being used as a common noun while under no trademark coverage, the recent granting of said trademark could probably be overturned, if anyone actually cared.
Posted by: johnjohn | Oct 31, 2007 9:48:12 PM
That was one heck of a response. :)
Posted by: hubs | Oct 31, 2007 1:57:04 PM
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