I Cannot Call Myself A Frugalista

So if you have been following the saga of the “Frugalista” trademark silliness, then what I say here probably won’t surprise you. That is especially true if you are a frequent reader of my blog. This has irritated me and I feel I need to explain why.

Let’s start with the fact that the term frugalista (oh no…I didn’t use quotes!) is a common term for its market with a general meaning. This alone should be enough to warrant scrutiny over the trademark application. We aren’t even talking about people who claim to be the Frugalista (looky there…it’s capitalized and not in quotes…oh dear me) of a certain geographical area. This is actually a pretty common practice, not just in blogging but in journalism. You stake claim to a geographical location and name yourself the authority over some particular subject matter that you focus on. Well guess what, bucko…you aren’t peddling that name around here. Doing so will get you a nice fresh C&D from the lawyer of the git that thinks she can just rip a word journalists on pain of lawsuit.

That seems awful anti-Frugalista-ish (oh ho…now we’re getting fancy with changing up the word) to spend that kind of money on frivolous unenforceable crap. Perhaps Ms. Self Important should read some of the blogs and forums and general online media on the subject of frugality and being a Frugalista. (Have I earned my very own C&D yet? I’m certainly trying my hardest. After all…every letter costs money and the tool that thinks she can trademark such a broad and general term deserves any bill she gets.) Now I’m sure some of you are wondering how I could possibly get a C&D for simply writing about this fight in the Frugalista community. It’s simple, really. My previous post has the excerpt from the C&D sent to the Jackson Frugalista blogger that holds the key to my crusade. Apparently the law office declares in said letters that they expect you to cease any and all use of the term in any derivation on any type of online media. Shucks…I think I failed to comply with that.

And to add to this idiocracy would be the article in U.S. News where the lawyer directly contradicts the statement of the letter. Now tell me, Madame I-Trademark-Common-Terms, do you actually pay for this contradictory tripe? If not, then I applaud you not only for your ninja skills at being frugal (for these guys MUST be cheap), but also for the sheer amount of ignorance you managed to locate in such a tiny little place. If you don’t yet understand what I mean, allow me to show you.

This is from the C&D sent to the Jackson Frugalista blog owner:

Further, please let us have your prompt written assurance that you and any affiliated companies or individuals will promptly discontinue and refrain from the use of the term “FRUGALISTA” in any form or derivation in any online blogs or journals.

This is statement from the lawyer as reported by U.S. News:

McDowell emphasizes that other writers can still use the word “frugalista” in their stories—which may seem obvious, given the fact that it is a commonly used word—but that they cannot identify themselves as a “frugalista.”

Call me craz…erm…Frugalista, but I don’t think this will hold up in court. Oh heck, I went and did it again. You know, If I keep this up someone might get the impression that I am trying to make a point with all the subtlety of a frag grenade to the face. It’s gotten me in trouble before and probably will again. I cannot, however, sit back and keep my mouth shut when I see something as blatantly stupid as this happening right before everyone’s eyes. This would be like Best Buy trying to trade mark the term “Geek” and saying that nobody could use said term in any online publication to refer to themselves because it “unfairly capitalizes on the goodwill and reputation embodied in our client’s use of the Mark”…not that anyone every accused the Geek Squad of being the recipient of goodwill or anything resembling a (good) reputation. Please, read the story at US News, read the letter and the response at Jackson Frugalista…and by all means boycott the stupid trademark lady’s blog until she apologizes to the internet for being a tool.

And before I forget…

I Am Not A Hypocritical Frugalista That Hates Freedom Of Speech.

  • jacksonfrugalista

    Thanks much for the support. The post is great, I needed that!

  • Honestly, the tool-that-shall-not-be-named needs to get a clue and drop this idiocy. I'm really hoping this thing gets enough media attention that she pretty much has to let the mark go.

  • I am now the Artist Formerly Known as Jackson Frugalista.

    I caved and changed the name — my “buy cool stuff cheap” blog is now http://frugalmississippi.blogspot.com. I ma looking forward to posting info about garage sales in Pelahatchie, MS, without the threat of a lawsuit.

    THAT SAID — I am not willing to let the issue die. So I created a second new blog, “Really Dumb Trademarks.” Its address is http://reallydumbtrademark.blogspot.com.

    I CAN’T believe I am the only person this has happened to — other people have had their online freedom of speech cut off because of some ridiculous trademark filing. I’d like us all to have a place to go and vent.

    I also want to post resources for site visitors who wish to fight the fight.

    Ideally, this new blog will catch the attention of some organization that works to protect individuals’ rights online. If I can get someone like that interested, I’d like to see all the people who offered ME money to help in a fight against Trademark Girl in Miami direct those funds to a larger effort to make trademarks work fairly for everyone.

    Those of you who have spoken out on the plain craziness of this trademark, I hope you’ll stay interested in the topic. Maybe we can continue to make some noise, get some things changed, and then I CAN CHANGE MY NAME BACK. And laugh maniacally towards the general direction of Miami.

  • I am now the Artist Formerly Known as Jackson Frugalista.

    I caved and changed the name — my “buy cool stuff cheap” blog is now http://frugalmississippi.blogspot.com. I ma looking forward to posting info about garage sales in Pelahatchie, MS, without the threat of a lawsuit.

    THAT SAID — I am not willing to let the issue die. So I created a second new blog, “Really Dumb Trademarks.” Its address is http://reallydumbtrademark.blogspot.com.

    I CAN’T believe I am the only person this has happened to — other people have had their online freedom of speech cut off because of some ridiculous trademark filing. I’d like us all to have a place to go and vent.

    I also want to post resources for site visitors who wish to fight the fight.

    Ideally, this new blog will catch the attention of some organization that works to protect individuals’ rights online. If I can get someone like that interested, I’d like to see all the people who offered ME money to help in a fight against Trademark Girl in Miami direct those funds to a larger effort to make trademarks work fairly for everyone.

    Those of you who have spoken out on the plain craziness of this trademark, I hope you’ll stay interested in the topic. Maybe we can continue to make some noise, get some things changed, and then I CAN CHANGE MY NAME BACK. And laugh maniacally towards the general direction of Miami.