Mathematical "PI" symbol is trademarked? 2 pages: 1 [2]
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 8:01:30 PM
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FYI Deactivated by zazzle:

JerryLambert
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9:15:37 PM
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MarBethHolidays wrote:
Hey maybe Zazzle listened and put your products back up. I hope so for all of your sakes. I just did a search for pi and found these.

http://www.zazzle.com/pi+gifts



there are still plenty of Pi shirts in the MP but all of mine are still gone and I had a whole section dedicated to them.
kimchikawaii
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9:35:51 PM
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Also got this notice and at first thought 'What the heck?' as I've had my pi design in the shop for a really long time - probably close to 4 years now. I think what really irks me (aside from the abuse of the trademark system by some jerk who wants to just be a jerk) is that Zazzle deactivating my design will also remove 4 years of link history that has built up. I won't be able to get that back which may affect sales and traffic to my shop.

Zazzle really needs to have a better review process than just knee jerk automatic removal of designs that may not be infringing after all.
dchmelik
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9:51:56 PM

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Joined: 7/23/2010
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I am enraged! Here many of us are trying to spread the mathematical truth (I run Mathematics shop), and some lunatic thinks he owns part of the Greek language and its usage as part of the language of the universe! Do you think you can even make t-shirts without pi being utilized in the process somehow?! Restore everything that was deleted!
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 10:36:11 PM
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dchmelik wrote:
I am enraged! Here many of us are trying to spread the mathematical truth (I run Mathematics shop), and some lunatic thinks he owns part of the Greek language and its usage as part of the language of the universe! Do you think you can even make t-shirts without pi being utilized in the process somehow?! Restore everything that was deleted!


The truth is, Phil "What's it" does rule a good proportion of the usage of the Pi-symbol as long as the issue with T-shirt designs is not resolved and remains viewed as trademarks rather then an expression, a micro-publication, piece of clothing culture and a pi as a pure decorative element on a piece of clothing.

Despite the fact that the freedom of expression has a higher ruling in court than trade rights, trademark disputes concerning T-shirt designs are ruled on a regular basis in violation of the right of freedom of expressions. The court still fails to recognize the medium T-shirt as a micro-publication most of the time. The court refuses to recognize the perception by the people.

But as long as companies like zazzle rather cave than take a stand and fight for the right to publish expressions and simplified art, we lack a lobby to enforce the right and make trademark owners think twice before they file a claim.

I still don't buy Wolfskin products for over aggressively sending out cease&desist notification for their paws and I will continue to boycott companies who fail to restrain themselves and choose sensible logos in the first place.

It is up to us however to create awareness to the fact.
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 10:53:50 PM
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kimchikawaii wrote:
...I've had my pi design in the shop for a really long time - probably close to 4 years now. I think ... Zazzle deactivating my design will also remove 4 years of link history that has built up. I won't be able to get that back which may affect sales and traffic to my shop.


At this point, I'm still giving Zazzle the benefit of the doubt in hopes that they'll do the right thing here... i.e., reinstate any pi designs that don't violate the trademark and keep the link history/ranking intact.

I filed a counter claim and I'm trying hard to be patient while this mess gets sorted out.

Does anyone have stacks of cash lying around to file a legal class action suit against this guy?
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:16:00 PM
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Quidama wrote:
[quote=kimchikawaii]

Does anyone have stacks of cash lying around to file a legal class action suit against this guy?


I'm aware that the American legal system works different from the German legal system but I doubt that without an army of lawyers and journalists in your pocket their is a case to win.


-- Despite the fact, that the trademark is confused with the math symbol and not the other way round Laughing
it is a legitimate trademark and will be recognized as such
-- The trademark is within the range of trademarks registered every day.
-- Actions taken by Phil are within his rights and are even necessary to keep the trademark viable
-- Zazzle wrote the contract with their design partners in such way, that they can pull any design any time


T-shirts unlike newspapers lack the higher function to uphold a democratic society. If you can argue that expressions on shirts have a higher purpose than a little fun in our everyday life a human rights organization engaged in preserving the freedom of expression and freedom of art with bigger pockets and a pack of good lawyers might help resolving the issue.

I can imagine, that speaking up time and time again and writing to journalists, politicians, judges and trademark oversight might help in time. Kind of like the death of a thousand cuts.
vivendulies
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 12:10:53 AM
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klockheed wrote:
Actually, 4473631 is for a very specific use. "Paul Ingrisano AKA PI Productions Corp INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 1933 73rd street brooklyn NEW YORK 11204 - Description of Mark Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of the pi mathematical symbol followed by a period."

So if there's no period, it doesn't count, or if it's using a different font, it doesn't count. If it's not on apparel, it doesn't count. Finally, someone needs to challenge this in court.

I'm sure there's plenty of prior art that would nullify this usage.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/opposing-canceling-trademark-registration.html


Published for Opposition Date 2013-11-12
http://trademarks.justia.com/857/85/pi-85785006.html

To take this trademark down it takes a little more than just an opposing note to the registrar.

Instead of taking down the trademark I would concentrate on the usage on shirts which is an expression and viewed as math symbol thereby not confused with the trademark. And grounds for a complaint usually is the likelihood to be confused with the trademark.

File a cease&desist not to interfere with your rights to decorate products with the creek symbol since it is not confused with the trademark but clearly recognized as a mathematical symbol.

Preferably get a ruling by the court and if you have this ruling you might try to file compensation for loss of income with the trademark owner. You might not win but get a ruling that each party pays for his own legal services. Attacked by a group this will hurt the trademark owner, since his lawyer will charge him for each case.

The trouble for us, the one design does not justify any legal action from an economic standpoint. To spent several hundred or even thousand dollars for legal actions on a design that brings 50 dollars a year at the most.
Leon
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 2:50:42 AM
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zipteedoo wrote:
BTW the guy behind this is a D-BAG: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-ingrisano/48/375/7b7

Here's his linkedin profile:
Paul Ingrisano's Overview

Current
Owner at Pi apparels
Education
Nunya Business University
Connections
50 connections
Paul Ingrisano's Experience

Owner
Pi apparels
June 2007 – Present (7 years)

Paul Ingrisano's Education

Nunya Business University
How to be Immortal, awesomeness
2013 – 2020 (expected)


Can anyone find anyhing about pi productions?
only thing i can find is Paul Ingrisano's facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/PI-Production/1433976383490520
With an amazing 105 likes (notice the logo does not use a period)
vivendulies
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 3:28:50 AM
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On the facebook-page the logo is not in use. This indicates, that the logo is not in use. To keep a trademark valid it needs to be market. In Germany there is a grace period of 5 years in which a company can establish market relevance. I assume there is a similar rule in the US. But not using the logo strengthens the case against the trademark holder. How can anybody confuse a trademark which is not in use at all.

Unfortunately internet is not the only place where logos might be used. Absense of proof is not proof.
Maz
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 4:06:24 AM
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The trademark was granted in January 2014.

http://www.trademarks411.com/marks/85785006-pi
DigitalDreambuilder
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 4:34:19 AM
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He also has a pending trademark registration for the use of

I< 3

(I love.. I heart.. ) on a very large list of products


http://www.trademarks411.com/marks/85481027-i-lt-3

ArtmakersWorlds
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 4:38:31 AM
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I got mine pulled too. I only have two designs (several colors and on several things) but only two designs.
NEITHER OF THEM has the period. ONE is not even close to the same font!

Here is one of mine.
Pi in the round

And my first design which has been up for sale for oh.... about 15 YEARS now!
Pi Square

I got the same canned response from zazzle that several people here already posted.

I called zazzle yesterday. A nice girl picked up and asked for my order number. I said no order, I'm a seller. She said Oh... and connected me to a guy with a thick INDIAN accent. Nice enough, but still. He had trouble understanding me and I had trouble understanding him.

I asked if anyone actually looks and no. They use google. SO... did zazzle get a request for specific items to be removed? Or did some computer algorithm pluck out random designs. I say random because I still see TONS Of PI symbols on zazzle. Many that resemble this guys so called logo much closer than mine.

I asked how can someone possibly trademark a math symbol? Well that one flew right over his head.
Then I pointed out the lack of the period. But he can't see my image. He tells me he can't open attachments. Now what the hell? A link to the images in question are in ALL of the many notices I got. I told him simply go look at one. Nope, can't do that. Clearly this was not his department at all.


He told me he would expedite my request. Fine. Then I asked him for his name. He starts spelling it for me.
"S.... H.... OH no... I misspelled it." Really? SO they are now outsourcing calls to India to a guy who can't even spell his own name? And only a four letter name no less. SAHR.

Oh MY GOD!

No one from zazzle will read this. Clearly THEY DO NOT CARE!

Legal action? Since zazzle got rid of our personalized looking shops my sales have pretty much tanked anyway. Stopped uploading anything new. Except for these two designs which have always been my best sellers I only rarely see a check. SO now those are gone.
I don't earn enough to afford a lawyer. All I can do is complain. Tweet. Post a webpage. Post on a few free legal boards. SELL ELSEWHERE And that's that. My best selling designs are arbitrarily removed with no recourse what so ever.

Thank you ZAZZLE!!!!! Angry
vivendulies
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 4:38:48 AM
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DigitalDreambuilder wrote:
He also has a pending trademark registration for the use of

I< 3

(I love.. I heart.. ) on a very large list of products


http://www.trademarks411.com/marks/85481027-i-lt-3



It's not hard to guess what happens next.
ArtmakersWorlds
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 4:56:29 AM
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vivendulies wrote:
DigitalDreambuilder wrote:
He also has a pending trademark registration for the use of

I< 3

(I love.. I heart.. ) on a very large list of products


http://www.trademarks411.com/marks/85481027-i-lt-3



It's not hard to guess what happens next.



OH MY GOD! From the same guy???? Is he going to register every number and symbol possible?

He claims to be a design company. What lack of imagination huh?
Megatudes
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 7:02:00 AM
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By reading the Trademark document sent to me by Zazzle it becomes painfully obvious that the guy does not have a trademark on the symbol "pi"... he has trademarked a "logo" which consists of the "pi" symbol followed by a "." (period). If he asked Zazzle to remove products that simply contained the symbol "pi" it's a fraudulent claim at best. Sad that Zazzle just blindly went along with it. It would be the same thing if McDonalds asked that all merchandise containing the letter "M" be removed or if Volkswagen demanded that any logo with a "v" or a "w" be removed. To illustrate how stupid this claim is... if Zazzle wanted to be consistent... they should also be removing any design that's includes a "." (period).

Let's just hope nobody trademarks the greel letter Zeta... "Z"... because if they do... somebody is going to have to change their name and logo!
Jez Kemp
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 7:10:10 AM
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Location: Wellington
There are a LOT of unhappy people out there right now and Zazzle has made a huge screwup.
The facts:

- The trademark they reference is specifically the pi symbol followed by a period, in a particular style. So any pi symbol without a period/fullstop is (rightly) not covered by this trademark.

- The style of the pi symbol itself is taken from the Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons and is, rightly, not trademarkable. Many designers including myself have incorporated this style into their designs, which is why it is so recognisable.

- While Paul Ingrisano is the opportunistic pirate here, Zazzle are the ones who have made a monumental error. Fraudulent claims over copyright and trademark are made to print-on-demand sites all the time. But this instance is not about commercial property, e.g. Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars etc.

---- Zazzle have received a claim that a generic symbol mathematical is private property
---- Zazzle have accepted this claim without even thinking that you cannot trademark generic symbols and characters
---- Zazzle have acted on this claim without checking the details of the specific trademark they are referencing in their emails.

There are many people who are p***** off and thankfully several are following up with counter-notices.

I am in Australia and I am very wary about trying this myself. Creeps like Paul Ingrisano make their business out of people being afraid to get involved in legal action. But still, I'm concerned about getting involved in a legal dispute in another country. Should I be worried about sending a counter-notice?

My worries with the counter-notice situation is that it focuses on the wrong thing. Each one will look at each work of each seller.

The main issue here is that Zazzle has made a monumental screwup, and should make a formal announcement apologising for it. I don't know if designs can even be physically reinstated once Zazzle has deleted them. The main issue as I see it is Zazzle accepting they got it wrong and apologising.

Side notes:
- The trademark apparently only covers apparel which is why other products (e.g. mugs) are still online
- For some reason, all apparel has been removed except ties. Ties are clearly categorised as apparel on the Zazzle site, so wny haven't they been removed?
- As an experiment I've tried uploading some apparel with one of my pi designs on. They usually take 24hrs normally, so I'm waiting to see if they get released. My question is, if there is barely an intelligent human being operating the Content Review system, will there be someone connecting the dots who will block new uploads with the pi design?

I highly recommend that people blog about this, post on Twitter, and contact Zazzle both via the Content Review email (content UNDERSCORE review AT zazzle DOT com) and via the normal Contact procedures.

I would also recommend getting in touch online with science/geek/math groups such as io9, gizmodo, Boing Boing, Reddit, Science Blogs to name a few, because if they cover it, the story will be out and Zazzle will be forced to accept they have screwed up - which sadly they may not do just from us complaining about it.

It is quite astounding that no-one from Zazzle has posted here (unless I missed it?). It suggests either they are not aware it is a problem (unlikely), that they know but are looking into details before making an announcement, or that they know and are just hoping it goes away. Well this kind of piracy should not stand and this trouble won't go away.

Blog posts I've seen so far:
http://jezkemp.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/some-loser-has-tried-to-trademark.html
http://www.daveexmachina.com/wordpress/?p=8880
http://fluffmouse.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/how-not-to-use-a-trademark-zazzle-says-no-pi

Twitter streams for terms "zazzle pi" and "pi trademark":
https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=zazzle%20pi&src=typd
https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=pi%20trademark

Jez Kemp
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:25:45 AM
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Joined: 8/16/2011
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Location: Wellington
I have received a different reply from the Content Review team.
Hold onto your butts.
It's very late here in Aus and I need to sleep, so I'll just paste their email and my reply directly after.



Thank you for your email to Zazzle.

You are correct in the description of the registered trademark as having a period. However, representatives of PI Productions Corp. is exercising their rights to protect their mark by not only restricting the use of their trademark, but also any similar marks that is likely to result in consumer confusion as part of the Lanham Act.

Due to this takedown notice, Zazzle as an online service provider is required to comply as failure to respond may result in willful infringement for this trademark.

Best Regards,
Content Management Team,
Zazzle Inc.




Hello, I wondered when you were going to reply. Others have been getting faster, more generic replies, but yours took a while and is more specific.

Sadly, it shows that you have spent time looking up how you can cover your bad decision, rather than accepting your team made a mistake.

Put simply, you are wrong. People are very angry, and this is a big screwup.

It is late here in Australia and I am going to sleep but I will list the important things at stake in relation to the justification you have just provided:

- Paul Ingrisano's style of the pi symbol is taken from the Wikimedia/Wikipedia Commons. This makes it, on its own, untrademarkable. Compare the logo illustrated in the trademark here:
http://www.trademarks411.com/marks/85785006-pi

with the version here:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/FileStick out tonguei-symbol.svg
(How do you disable smileys? Image found via Google search here:
https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=667&q=pi+symbol&oq=pi+symbol&gs_l=img.3..0l10.16.988.0.1187.9.6.0.1.1.0.369.369.3-1.1.0....0...1ac.1.45.img..7.2.374.bCnOIUpXKLs)

Paul Ingrisano AKA "Pi Productions" has used this version of the pi symbol like just many other designers. He has zero rights over this particular style of the pi symbol on its own.

- Paul Ingrisano's ownership of a trademark that INCLUDES a pi symbol does not, under your mention of the Lanham Act, make any design with any pi symbol, "likely to result in consumer confusion". McDonalds have a trademark on their version of the letter M, but it is not confusingly similar to any other trademarks, designs or logos that feature the letter M.

- Again, Paul Ingrisano's trademark specifically covers the pi symbol used with a period/full stop. It is specifically NOT just the pi symbol on its own. Yet you say you had to remove all designs featuring the pi symbol because they might be confused with his trademark. That is not a valid reason.

- Trademark 4473631 was granted in January 2014, having been filed in November 2012, LONG after people have been using the generic symbol pi in their designs.

How do you justify your decision in the face of all these points?

This whole event stinks - not just because pirates like Paul Ingrisano are trying to fraudulently claim ownership of symbols they cannot possibly own, but because Zazzle's bad decision-making and invalid explanations are complicit in helping him do this. It sets a bad precedent for other generic symbols and characters to be "claimed" by other pirates on other websites.

Thankfully the internet is already shouting loudly about this and I do hope and expect it to be reported on by the science/geek/math community. If it gets reported by io9, Gizmodo, BoingBoing, Reddit etc. there is a high chance it will make its way up to the mainstream media. Zazzle would be in the media spotlight for upholding a fraudulent claim and would look extremely stupid. I will certainly try my best to make this happen, and others are too, using their voice on the internet.

More specifically, people have already been filing counter-notices and are discussing a class action lawsuit for loss of earnings. This fraudulent claim and Zazzle's acceptance of it are costing designers money and people are seriously looking at legal options.

Again, please explain how one person's trademark which incorporates a generic, untrademarked mathematical symbol can be justification to remove all designs using this generic symbol? And some designs which don't even include it, but simply have "pi" in the title?

Regards
Jez Kemp
Felosarix
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:45:21 AM

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Joined: 12/1/2013
Posts: 165
People affected may find this information useful:

http://www.markhound.com/trademark/search/LYlQqGE0g

Plenty one could do with this information, though I won't make suggestions. I trust y'all to be creative.

colorwash
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 9:22:11 AM

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Joined: 3/27/2014
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Location: East Greenbush
Very odd. I posted a link to my tweet on the subject for people to retweet if they wanted. It was here--I saw it--but it appears to have been deleted. Why would that be? It's a tweet concerning the fraudulent (to my mind) registering of a mathematical symbol, there's no reference to Zazzle in the tweet, and the strongest part of it is a "Really!?" concerning the government acceptance of the mark.
Steve Crompton
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 9:31:24 AM
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colorwash wrote:
Very odd. I posted a link to my tweet on the subject for people to retweet if they wanted. It was here--I saw it--but it appears to have been deleted. Why would that be? It's a tweet concerning the fraudulent (to my mind) registering of a mathematical symbol, there's no reference to Zazzle in the tweet, and the strongest part of it is a "Really!?" concerning the government acceptance of the mark.

It's in this thread(?)
http://forum.zazzle.com/create/pi_symbol

Steve.
ott123
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 9:48:03 AM
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Quote:
Thank you for your email to Zazzle.

You are correct in the description of the registered trademark as having a period. However, representatives of PI Productions Corp. is exercising their rights to protect their mark by not only restricting the use of their trademark, but also any similar marks that is likely to result in consumer confusion as part of the Lanham Act.

Due to this takedown notice, Zazzle as an online service provider is required to comply as failure to respond may result in willful infringement for this trademark.

Best Regards,
Content Management Team,
Zazzle Inc.


I got the same canned response.
vivendulies
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 9:56:24 AM
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Joined: 3/25/2011
Posts: 332
Zazzle chose to answer to my informal notification with a general response, and the repeated request for a counter claim. I will not. My answer was as follows:

Quote:
Dear Zazzle-Team.

I am familiar with the legal issue of "likelihood of confusion" concerning trademarks. It doesn't mean that any usage results in a risk of willful infringement and I can only assume that you are aware of this fact. Especially with the math symbol the risk of confusion is minimal if the pi is presented in a a mathematical context or puns. Trademarks with pi are weak and you should know that.

You are willfully mistreating you partners. I'm appalled by your action and I'm not alone.

There is no need for my design to file a counter notice and employ costly lawyers since their is no risk of confusion as it is with many other designs you deleted in the last few hours.

For you to ask for a formal counter notice, which you received informally with my last mails, shows poor judgement. It most certainly does not serve a good relationship between partners and zazzle. Who knows, maybe you asked for the * storm as a means to produce awareness.

Since you're not the only service out there and at least I had 300% more sales with pi on your direct competitors. Guess what: stick where no grass grows.

Yours sincerely
...
colorwash
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:11:35 AM

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Posts: 309
Location: East Greenbush
Steve Crompton wrote:

It's in this thread(?)
http://forum.zazzle.com/create/pi_symbol

Steve.


Apparently!Grin
vivendulies
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:17:11 AM
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Though this pi is in the public domain it doesn't mean that it cannot be part of a trademark, though it sides more in the side of generic esp. a widely used math symbol.

Generic means free to use by anybody.
geracedesign
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:43:10 AM
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JerryLambert
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:43:14 AM
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Joined: 2/17/2007
Posts: 55
ott123 wrote:
Quote:
Thank you for your email to Zazzle.

You are correct in the description of the registered trademark as having a period. However, representatives of PI Productions Corp. is exercising their rights to protect their mark by not only restricting the use of their trademark, but also any similar marks that is likely to result in consumer confusion as part of the Lanham Act.

Due to this takedown notice, Zazzle as an online service provider is required to comply as failure to respond may result in willful infringement for this trademark.

Best Regards,
Content Management Team,
Zazzle Inc.


I got the same canned response.


my college years are well behind me but I remember learning about the Lanham Act. If I am not mistaken this law was put in place to prevent consumer confusion and false advertising where one entity is trying to emulate another's image while one's reputation could be damaged. A good example would be McDowell's.



which means this claim holds no water in this situation. no one here to my knowledge, and certainly not myself, is trying to emulate this guys "business" or leach from his "reputation". There is in fact no logical cause or excuse to cite the Lanham Act in this claim.

Again it has been awhile so I may be wrong but I don't think I am.




lol, love it! Smile
Liz
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 11:38:05 AM
Groups: Zazzle Admin

Joined: 11/4/2013
Posts: 610
Hi Zazzlers,

As you know, Zazzle provides an open marketplace where user-generated content can be used to create a wide variety of products and apparel. By its very nature, the platform thrives on creativity and the opportunity for people to share their designs with the world. When a product is brought to our attention that violates our terms of service, we take swift action to remove it. We encourage the Zazzle community to use our platform to share their creativity, and we ask that they continue to maintain an open dialogue with us to ensure Zazzle features only the highest quality merchandise for our customers.

Recently, we were contacted directly by the legal representatives for Pi Production Corp. with regards to the trademark for the mathematical symbol of “Pi” on clothing items. The United States Patent and Trademark Office registration number for this trademark is 4473631, which can be found along with more information about the mark via a trademark search by registration number on the USPTO’s official website http://www.uspto.gov . As a result, Zazzle removed apparel designs containing the symbol while we evaluate the complaint.

More information about Zazzle’s Copyright Policy can be found here: http://zazzle.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/424

Thank you as always for being designers with Zazzle, and thank you for your patience and understanding on this matter.

Best,
Liz
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