Mathematical "PI" symbol is trademarked? 2 pages: [1] 2
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 2:31:09 PM
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Urgh. I've gotten a ton of design removals this morning for my "pi are not squared" images.

Seriously, how can someone trademark a mathematical symbol? I looked it up and it appears that the trademarked version includes the pi symbol followed by a period, and my design doesn't have a period, so I'm hoping it will be reinstated. I'm just really peeved that I'm receiving takedown notice emails for every product this design is on! what the heck?

"Your product has been removed due to an infringement claim from Pi Productions Corp. The mathematical symbol “pi” is a registered trademark, U.S. Registration No. 4473631. For more information on the trademark, please visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office at: http://www.uspto.gov/."
klockheed
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 2:46:28 PM
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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
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 2:54:24 PM
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Apparently I'm not the only one with this problem. A Google search shows that others are getting the same notices in the last day or so.

I certainly understand the need for trademark protections, etc., but this is just crazy! What a waste of time and resources. Maybe I should register the plus sign as a trademark? Heck, maybe I'll register the ampersand and the equals sign too. How about the @ symbol? That'd be a good one!
klockheed
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 2:55:47 PM
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This is informative.




Unfortunately I think someone's going to have to challenge it in court.
ingasi
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 3:22:05 PM
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I got the notice too. My pi symbol is on a shirt, but there's no period. What can this Pi Productions possibly gain by chasing around everyone who uses the Pi symbol?

We should be able to file a complaint somewhere on the trademark website stating that an infringement claim is frivolous.
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 3:29:39 PM
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klockheed wrote:
This is informative.




Unfortunately I think someone's going to have to challenge it in court.

Thanks for the link.
Unfortunately you're probably be right that someone will have to challenge it in court. That's probably what this scammer is counting on. Judging by his Twitter, FB, etc., he's a real piece o' work. How do these people face themselves in the mirror?
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 3:34:08 PM
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ingasi wrote:
I got the notice too. My pi symbol is on a shirt, but there's no period. What can this Pi Productions possibly gain by chasing around everyone who uses the Pi symbol?

We should be able to file a complaint somewhere on the trademark website stating that an infringement claim is frivolous.


I replied to each one of the emails I received, asking for my designs to be reinstated, along with an explanation and link to the registered trademark that says the pi symbol is followed by a period and my designs don't have that.

I also wonder what this person has to gain. Maybe he does have some pi designs and simply wants to get rid of all his competitors? Or maybe he's some twisted juvenile hack living in his mother's basement with nothing better to do?

I wish everyone affected could file something against his frivolous claims and be awarded damages for lost time or something, haha!
ott123
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:38:09 PM
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Good luck getting anything reinstated by Zazzle. I doubt Zazzle can restore any designs. All anyone can do is to re-create them.

As far as the trademark, I think I'll go and trademark a stylized letter Z with a period inside a circle.
wislander
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:51:28 PM
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Every time I have a design removed for something as ridiculous as this I just move it to one of my other store fronts on another system. My "Thank God it's PI Day" designs have been selling on Zazzle since 2006 without issue, and now they will be sold exclusively from another site. I'm sure I will sell less of them on the other site, but what can you say.

As for them tracking down all the Pi designs on Zazzle. I'm assuming they do not have to. They just need to make a claim, and then most likely Zazzle will have to track down all of the "offenders."
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:58:19 PM
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I protested and answered to each deactivation as followed:

"In my Mail-Response I" wrote:
The confusion with the registered trademarks mentioned below is not given. Neither has my PI-design a period after the symbol, nor does it stand alone. The context in which the symbol is presented in my design puts it uniquely in the world of mathematics.

Claims only have any substance if a likelihood of confusion with the brand is present. This is not the case here.

Please reactivate the products again. Thank you.


I hope it helps.

If it is not mathematics but the pun pi vs pie or wordplay [PI]rate change the content accordingly.

It was clearly ridiculous and it is outrages how fast and radical zazzle is willing to deactivate products.
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:02:28 PM
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wislander wrote:
Every time I have a design removed for something as ridiculous as this I just move it to one of my other store fronts on another system. My "Thank God it's PI Day" designs have been selling on Zazzle since 2006 without issue, and now they will be sold exclusively from another site. I'm sure I will sell less of them on the other site, but what can you say.

As for them tracking down all the Pi designs on Zazzle. I'm assuming they do not have to. They just need to make a claim, and then most likely Zazzle will have to track down all of the "offenders."


Yes, and zazzle clearly overreacted by not deactivating manually. Neither of my designs stood alone and presented a likelyhood to mistake them with the trademark.
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:04:19 PM
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Well, here's the response I got. The attached "trademark certificate" clearly states that the mark consists of the pi symbol FOLLOWED BY A PERIOD, which my designs do not have. I guess I'll have to file a counter-notice, and I encourage everyone else who has had this issue to also file counter-notices. This is just nuts.



"Thank you for your email to Zazzle.

We’re sorry to hear that your products were removed due to an infringement claim. Unfortunately, we were contacted by the legal representatives for Pi Production Corp. with regards to the trademark for the mathematical symbol of “Pi” on clothing items. Attached is a copy of the trademark certificate from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for your review.

Once Zazzle received the notice, as a service provider we are required to remove the design from Zazzle’s marketplace to avoid the risk of any willful infringement on the mark.

Again we apologize that your products were effected due to this infringement claim, if you wish to file a counter-notice with regards to this mark you can do so by replying to this email with the following information:

• your electronic or physical signature
• a description of the design that has been removed
• your name, address, telephone number, and email address
• a statement that you have a good faith belief that:
• you have authorization from the copyright or other intellectual property owner... or
• you otherwise have the right to post the design for use in commerce.
• a statement that you will accept service of process from the person who provided notification of the alleged infringement.

If a counter-notice is received, Zazzle may send a copy of the counter-notice to the intellectual property owner who sent the original notice. Unless the intellectual property owner commences suit against the Zazzle Seller, Zazzle will decide, in its sole discretion, whether or not it will allow the Seller to re-post the design.

More information about Zazzle’s Copyright Policy can be located at: http://zazzle.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/424"
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:07:10 PM
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ott123 wrote:
Good luck getting anything reinstated by Zazzle. I doubt Zazzle can restore any designs. All anyone can do is to re-create them.

As far as the trademark, I think I'll go and trademark a stylized letter Z with a period inside a circle.


I'd seriously think twice before doing that. As ridiculous and wrong this issue is, I certainly don't want to have to defend myself against charges of "willful infringement."
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:14:41 PM
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By the way - this blog post http://jezkemp.blogspot.de/2014/05/some-loser-has-tried-to-trademark.html deserves lots and lots of google juice. Any heat Zazzle receives for this action is well deserved.

The Pi-rates, Pi-Angles and the creepy crawler shows that Zazzle deactivated by a simple database query without a human review. This is wrong and should not be accepted without counter reaction.
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:31:06 PM
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vivendulies wrote:
By the way - this blog post http://jezkemp.blogspot.de/2014/05/some-loser-has-tried-to-trademark.html deserves lots and lots of google juice. Any heat Zazzle receives for this action is well deserved.

The Pi-rates, Pi-Angles and the creepy crawler shows that Zazzle deactivated by a simple database query without a human review. This is wrong and should not be accepted without counter reaction.


Yeah, it definitely looks like lots of people are affected.

To be honest, I'm frustrated with Zazzle's reaction to this as I think it should have been more thoroughly investigated before a mass removal of all "pi" products, but IMO the real blame lies with Pi Productions Corp", aka Paul Ingrisano, aka "Pi apparels" who owns the trademark. Sharing the blame, again IMO, is Jill Prater the "examining attorney" who approved this nonsense trademark. ACK!
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:49:29 PM
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Quidama wrote:

I'd seriously think twice before doing that. As ridiculous and wrong this issue is, I certainly don't want to have to defend myself against charges of "willful infringement."


I agree as far as realistic "willful infringement"-claims are concerned. This doesn't mean, that presenting a trademark registration should result in a grass root extermination leaving a wasteland of deactivated legitimate artworks and designs.

A willful infringement claim is only valid if a likelihood of confusion can be assumed. Neither mine nor the designs in the blog post linked above presented such a likelihood of confusion with the trademark.

Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:02:47 PM
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Oh, I absolutely agree!

To me, though, it's just not worth the risk of having to defend myself against frivolous charges. It's already wasted too much of my time and energy. I did file the counter-claim, though.


It seems a lot of people are fighting back in various ways (social media, counter-claims with Zazzle, etc), so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

I'm sorely tempted to make a design "The sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet is π."

Jez Kemp
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:05:22 PM
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I'm still waiting for my own email reply from Zazzle. But it's disturbing they've come back to someone and have taken the side of Paul Ingrisano/Pi Productions when any human looking at it would see the claim is completely fraudulent. Any human just THINKING about it would know that you can't trademark a mathematical symbol!

I feel this could do with actual media attention, or at least internet: "The * Who Stole Pi"

If anyone's on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=zazzle%20pi&src=typd
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:11:34 PM
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Quidama wrote:
vivendulies wrote:
By the way - this blog post http://jezkemp.blogspot.de/2014/05/some-loser-has-tried-to-trademark.html deserves lots and lots of google juice. Any heat Zazzle receives for this action is well deserved.

The Pi-rates, Pi-Angles and the creepy crawler shows that Zazzle deactivated by a simple database query without a human review. This is wrong and should not be accepted without counter reaction.


Yeah, it definitely looks like lots of people are affected.

To be honest, I'm frustrated with Zazzle's reaction to this as I think it should have been more thoroughly investigated before a mass removal of all "pi" products, but IMO the real blame lies with Pi Productions Corp", aka Paul Ingrisano, aka "Pi apparels" who owns the trademark. Sharing the blame, again IMO, is Jill Prater the "examining attorney" who approved this nonsense trademark. ACK!


It's a bad logo and an extremely weak trademark and someone should have explained this to the company owner.

Taking this to court should result in any Pi-Symbol on shirts back on any marketplace including the zazzle marketplace and the claim thrown out the window as the perception will always be with the math-symbol and with the word puns even it is identical with the logo with a period at the end. ;)

On the other hand there are a few dumb court decisions out there. Therefor for the time being I can accept deactivating standalone plain Pi-Symbols but not any and all designs containing a pi-Symbol.
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:12:55 PM
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LOL at "The * who stole Pi!" Sounds like a great t-shirt design Idea

There are actually two issues here, though:

1. The USPTO approval of this "trademark" (which consists of the pi symbol followed by a period).

2. Zazzle's reaction of pulling all designs that include "pi" with or without the period.

Both are absurd.
Quidama
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:18:23 PM
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vivendulies wrote:


It's a bad logo and an extremely weak trademark and someone should have explained this to the company owner.

Taking this to court should result in any Pi-Symbol on shirts back on any marketplace including the zazzle marketplace and the claim thrown out the window as the perception will always be with the math-symbol and with the word puns even it is identical with the logo with a period at the end. ;)

On the other hand there are a few dumb court decisions out there. Therefor for the time being I can accept deactivating standalone plain Pi-Symbols but not any and all designs containing a pi-Symbol.


Yes, agreed! Makes me wonder about Jill Prater, who was the "examining attorney" who apparently approved this bogus trademark in the first place.
zipteedoo
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:34:18 PM
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"U.S. Registration No. 4473631" can be looked up, thanks to the internet:
http://trademarks.justia.com/857/85/pi-85785006.html

A very, very quick look shows:

"Illustration: Drawing with word(s)/letter(s)/number(s) in Stylized form Typeset"

i.e. not the mathematical symbol itself, but a logo which incorporates the mathematical symbol pi.
This would be like McDonalds claiming the letter M as a trademark. The trademark is in the combination of style and symbol, not the symbol itself.

"The mark consists of the pi mathematical symbol followed by a period." [i.e. full stop]

My use of the generic mathematical symbol pi does not actually include a period.
zipteedoo
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:37:52 PM
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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)
MarBethUrbanscapes
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:45:57 PM
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Okay i have said this before and I will say it again. If you are in business and willfully do something that damages a competitors business, you are liable for damages. This would mean that Phil what's his name could be liable to all of you for the work hours that you lost when your products got taken down and any potential loss of sales.
A class action lawsuit might stop the next person from pulling this.
zipteedoo
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:50:59 PM
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What's gonna happen to PI Day?Shocked
zipteedoo
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 6:54:19 PM
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Here is what got pulled from my account:

vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 7:03:28 PM
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Quidama wrote:
LOL at "The * who stole Pi!" Sounds like a great t-shirt design Idea

There are actually two issues here, though:

1. The USPTO approval of this "trademark" (which consists of the pi symbol followed by a period).

2. Zazzle's reaction of pulling all designs that include "pi" with or without the period.

Both are absurd.


Actually there is a third issue. The general problem with trademarks and T-shirt designs. Trademarks of everyday items, symbols and words which result in deactivation with loss of income and costly claims defending oneself against them.

Whether this concerns a bully, a fender guitar, a pi-symbol or words like angel or shopaholic. The reality is, that right now any D*ck, Dumb and Idiot can register trademarks and file claims, even successfully claim these trademarks and get regress for designs which existed long before his registration and following claim.

I employ legal help at the moment for use of the word "shopoholic" since in Germany someone trademarked "shopaholic" (My costs at the moment approx. $ 1500 and hopefully at the end of the dispute zero dollars). A German judge already ruled this word a legitimate claim despite the fact that there are several comparable German high court decisions on shirt decoration that rules similar claims legitimate shirt decoration and not trademark infringement. Since zazzle operates worldwide anybody using either word could loose his design any day.

It's not a matter of whether someone has a claim against a T-shirt designer only when.
MarBethUrbanscapes
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 7:04:22 PM
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Read this and post it where ever what's his name can see it along with the pi symbol.

http://www.inc.com/articles/1999/11/15387.html
vivendulies
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 7:15:37 PM
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MarBethUrbanscapes wrote:
Okay i have said this before and I will say it again. If you are in business and willfully do something that damages a competitors business, you are liable for damages. This would mean that Phil what's his name could be liable to all of you for the work hours that you lost when your products got taken down and any potential loss of sales.
A class action lawsuit might stop the next person from pulling this.


Talking of competitors. Lets clarify this, in textile the competitor of Phil what's it is zazzle. We sell the right of usage not the textile or any other printed product itself. "Phil what's it" didn't tell zazzle to pull all designs. He told zazzle to pull any designs that clash with his logo, which since his logo is registered makes his action not willful but legitimate.

zazzle on the other hand made a contract that allows them to deactivate any design at their discretion without the need of giving any reason at all.

The only valid action we have is public relation and to favore zazzles direct competitors in the hopes they act with more reason and grace and thus force zazzle to react more carefully with more consideration next time.
MarBethHolidays
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 8:00:35 PM
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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
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