I Don’t Own Words Like Frugalista

So the current viral story is the Jackson, Mississippi blogger being targeted by the Miami Herald for use of a word. That word…which will assuredly earn me a C&D of my very own…is “Frugalista”. I’m not opposed to branding. I also understand that if you have a trademark, you are required to defend it or you will lose it. I’m not even totally opposed to the idea of asking that the blog name be changed to avoid any confusion…silly though that is. That’s all fine and good. But the letter had this little tidbit:

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.

Let’s look at that for a moment. They want her to “refrain from the use of the term” not just in her blog title but “in any form or derivation in any online blogs or journals”. This means to comply with this order she can’t even say “I was reading The Frugalista Files” without being in violation. I think that’s a bit far. Being barred from using a WORD? It’s not even a word the trademark holder created. We’re not talking about Kleenex or Xerox here. We talking about someone that decided to use a word that is pretty generic and existed before she got into blogging and then trying to prevent the world from using it.

In that spirit, I am offering my feelings on this through my blog. Until the trademark is revoked as submitted, I will end all posts with the same line. And I dare you to C&D me…there’s no way my use is confusing to anyone.

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

  • jacksonfrugalista

    Thanks for the commentary. This whole thing has been ridiculous. I can't afford the cost of fighting this via the courts or the Trademark Office, but I hope that people talking about it will give the trademark people cause to think the next time something like this comes before them.

    I have NO HOPE that the markholder will change her tune, so JacksonFrugalista will become JacksonSomethingElse by the end of the month.

    If you want to read my objections to the mark, based on my reading of trademark law, please go to the blog — http://jacksonfrugalista.wordpress.com/ — and see it. I think the argument is sound, as do the attorneys I have shown it to. Maybe someone will take it and do something useful with it!

  • Well you have a friend in this fight. I can't abide stupidity and this is the biggest I've seen lately. I mentioned it on your latest blog post but I'll say it here as well…don't just throw in the towel. See if you can stall for more time…it's what a lawyer would do while researching things. Meanwhile, keep trying to get in touch with people and groups that might be able to help.

    I'll see if I can get any advice from my lawyer friends and I'll drop you a note if I get anything.

  • Well you have a friend in this fight. I can't abide stupidity and this is the biggest I've seen lately. I mentioned it on your latest blog post but I'll say it here as well…don't just throw in the towel. See if you can stall for more time…it's what a lawyer would do while researching things. Meanwhile, keep trying to get in touch with people and groups that might be able to help.

    I'll see if I can get any advice from my lawyer friends and I'll drop you a note if I get anything.