Because, as you know, everything on the Internet containing the words “stitch” and “bitch” is bound to be an infringement of the US-registered STITCH & BITCH CAFE trademark (yes, that’s sarcasm) and no ISP wants to get blamed for it, Yahoo! has asked some stitching and bitching group owners to change their names pursuant to Yahoo’s terms of service.
More ranting on LJ, but keep in mind that Deb Stoller does not have a trademark registration although she might arguably have common law rights in STITCH ‘N BITCH. Anyway, advising everyone to use “Stitch ‘n Bitch” in a group name on the assumption that it’s Deb Stoller’s trademark… (a) doesn’t protect you from the depredations of a certain other trademark owner–if that owner sees no difference between “&” and “and”, then why would it see a difference between “&” and “‘n”? and (b), seems to assume that in the event Stoller has rights in that name, she would be willing to have its distinctiveness frittered away by sales of t-shirts, etc. Maybe she is, and maybe she’s licensing all these groups. I don’t know.
This recent activity strangely coincides with Stoller’s Monday deadline to file a response with the USPTO about the non-registrability of her trademarks (due to confusion with STITCH & BITCH CAFE, as you might recall). If she misses it, that’s okay, a response can be filed a bit late, although the USPTO database may show her application as “dead” in the meantime.
Wow, that’s a lot. The “useful arts” category was supposed to be about craft-related patents. I need to make up a new category.
Edit: A missive from Deb Stoller to all those affected is reproduced here, as well as in the comments to this post. She’s recommending the prefix SNB. This reminds me of the time that an agent of the LSD made the amusing claim that even using the intials AS was somehow an incursion into A Somebody’s trademark rights.
Oh, and the forum on SFSE’s website now has a section where individuals can help each other find a SNB group. The heading: “Stitch and Bitch Group” and the description, “If you want to find a group, post here.” Currently no posts. Is this a way for SFSE to find other unsuitably-named groups?