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Woman Trademarks Name and Threatens Sites Using It 273 273

An anonymous reader writes "Be careful mentioning Dr. Ann De Wees Allen. She's made it clear that she's trademarked her name and using it is 'illegal... without prior written permission.' She even lists out the names of offenders and shows you the cease-and-desist letter she sends them. And, especially don't copy any of the text on her website, because she's using a bit of javascript that will warn you 'Copyright Protect!' if you right click on a link."
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Woman Trademarks Name and Threatens Sites Using It

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  • Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Andy Smith (55346) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:21AM (#33636340)

    She says that using her name would be "illegal". That implies criminal. Isn't trademark infringement a civil matter?

  • by Improv (2467) <> on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:33AM (#33636548) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately, in the US we don't tend to protect terms very much - this is an area where we don't get the nuances of wanting political or personal expression to be relatively unconstrained versus the desire to ensure honesty in certain areas worked out correctly. Chances are somebody made up a board (maybe her?) and declared her to be a doctor - I suspect that using the title of doctor in that way is legal in most states.

    I think occasionally one finds the term "Engineer" protected by law.

  • by uglyduckling (103926) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:12PM (#33637214) Homepage
    Nah, what they're doing is the equivalent of saying "Mono is based upon .net, which was developed by Microsoft (TM)". That's not the same as violating a trademark, it's just stating a fact.
  • by MikaelC (584630) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:26PM (#33637432)
    I did a quick search for this Nutrilab Corp.

    Take a look at the following sites, that all link to each other, and revolves about dr. Ann: [] [ip:] [] [ip:] [] [ip:] [] [ip:] [] [ip:] [] [ip:] [] [ip:]

    Notice anything peculiar about the IP-number?
  • by InsaneProcessor (869563) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:35PM (#33638602)
    If you do more digging, you will find that this is just a diet product scam operation that they are trying to mainstream to con more of the public.
  • by canajin56 (660655) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:51PM (#33638862)

    Being famous only affects whether or not it qualifies for trademark dilution law. Trademark dilution protects you from non-competing uses of your trademark, if your trademark is famous enough that the trademark is associated with your product and nothing else. eBay makes you think of the eBay auction site and nothing else. Pepsi makes you think of the drink, not of anything else. On the other hand, while Apple might make you think of computers, there are many other trademark holders who use Apple in their own markets. So, if some new company starts selling "Apple" stuff they are free as long as it is a different market than existing "Apple" companies. But, you can't make eBay apparel, as that "dilutes" the brand, because the brand would no longer identify one, and only one, product. This is pretty much global, most countries have basically the same law. While, even if your name was "George McDonald", you cannot open a McDonald's restaurant you can probably open a "McDonald's Plumbing". (Probably). Wouldn't protect you from being sued, but you would have the right! Same with if your name is, I don't know, Gerald Ford, you're allowed to call yourself Ford, you're allowed to sell things under the name Ford, you just couldn't sell cars.

    However, whether you're allowed to sell a product under a trademark name, has nothing to do with being able to use it. Even well-known brands that identify a unique source cannot prevent you from using their trademarked name as a name. It would be beyond absurd to have Ford say "You cannot use the name of our company or our car in your consumer reports magazine, unless the review is sufficiently positive" and just block all negative reviews unless they say "A certain car from some manufacturer". That's just stupid (doesn't mean nobody has tried though). So, the thought that a person could ever get in trouble for having the same name is just dumb. Only if they sell a competing product under their own name.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)