Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

I’m an Organizing *beep*

benitalarsson Twitter feed

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I got an e-mail yesterday from a company claiming I'm infringing on
their trademark.

On my about page I call(ed) myself an organizing maniac. Apparently "the continued use may lead to confusion between yourself and Name Withheld, who is the owner of the registered trademark, *beep*,
we request that you cease and desist in the whole or partial use of *beep* trademark in all of your current and future communications and
materials, including but not limited to blogs and promotional/ marketing
materials."

Say what?!

I wouldn't want to step on somebody's organized toes so I changed the
wording from maniac to fanatic. Same, same but
different, you know.

2a

Then this came from Yvonne 🙂

3a

Crazy indeed.

4a
The vs an…

5a
Haha, hihilarious! (Later Martin told me that someone had actually claimed the moon!)

6a
End of story. Couldn't resist sharing. Gosh, I probably stepped on that toe again. Ouch.

61 Comments

  • Di says:

    Benita, this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, how very, very creepy and unenlightened. It is not hard to find this person’s website, I found it and it is dull and uninspired. I will not be purchasing her book. Shame on her, she probably would have gone further by befriending you and being kind, rather than sending an escalating letter from the start. As a PR and marketing consultant please know that she may have a handful of corporate clients, but you have a larger audience – rest comfortably in that knowledge. With good wishes all the way from San Francisco…
    Di from San Francisco

  • Mary says:

    You know, one of the blogs I’m also following had a similar issue. I mean next thing you know its the whole English dictionary that’s a trademark or copyrighted. Do you know some colors are also trademark and can’t be used by anyone. This is ridiculous. They should put limits to what can be protected and what shouldn’t. But yeah, hopefully ‘fanatic’ isn’t protected. haha.

  • Anke says:

    Pretty silly move! By ‘attacking’ (for want of a better word) you, she angered all those she hoped to sell a book to or hoped to win as readers. Their trademark is so important to them that they can’t think far enough to consider they might head for a PR disaster instead. As Mary said – one day all words (and I’m not limiting myself to the English language here) will be copyrighted. Crazy.

  • Rattling On says:

    You should be very proud that they consider you such a threat…

  • Judith says:

    It would be hilarious if it weren’t so dumb!

  • jja says:

    Dear Benita you just got the best compliment you could from such a person. If somebody is afraid that one blog can influence/jeopardise his success then this person actually thinks you are much better! And you are one of the most original and authentic bloggers I read! And you are an organizic maniac :-).
    I found the other web page and find it confusing and much of babble and too less of a real thing.

  • Lisbeth says:

    I’m tempted to fill up this comment box with the two words in question. However, since it might get you into even more trouble, I shall refrain from doing so 🙂

  • Monica says:

    I went to that website and I found it uninspired and pale. Anyhow, she is “The Organizing Maniac” and you described yourself as an organizing maniac. Does she have copyright on the English language?

  • karibombari says:

    it’s very organised and very very maniacal of the trademarked om to find people on the www who use the word organising maniac.
    i wonder: when introducing themselves would they use the sentence: i’m and organising maniac, or would they use: i’m an organising maniac TM (said in a very dark low voice, maybe with a big of echo on it)
    cos that would really crack me up.

  • m.winter says:

    According to a trademark search the only trademarked terms for organizing maniac are ‘Organizing Maniacs’ and ‘The Organizing Maniac’. So unless you called yourself either of the two I would say from a legal standpoint you were in the safe. 😛

  • Petra from NL says:

    STRANGE!! How paranoid can you get?

  • Angel says:

    I think this may be part of their marketing strategies to get more attention, you should be proud of yourself, Benita!

  • London Mummy says:

    I detect a touch of the green eyed monster from this maniac, oh wait, is green eyed monster trademarked. better be careful 🙂
    I agree with Di, they would have been much better off befriending a FOP (fellow organised person) rather than being churlish!
    Esther

  • That’s funny! I just googled “Organizing maniac” and this post is the second result! Of course, I just had to hit “Promote”! I bet this organizing maniac person is sitting at home googling themselves and was peeved that your link was appearing. Silly really.

  • Ade says:

    Why not spell organising the English way? Then continue to use it!

  • That’s just silly. From what I know a registered trademark shouldn’t be registered for commonly used words. I don’t know how something like that could really get registered at all. Silly really.

  • Liz says:

    I’ve just Googled the phrase too so I hope this post stays nice and high in the listings close to this ‘maniac’. And just think of all the interesting posts we’ll be reading here while they go and email the other 132,000 search results!

  • Miss VanDroo says:

    I don’t get it. At all. What is the world coming to??!!
    (I ♥ your blog, btw!!!)

  • Zarah says:

    I am shocked. Seriously. That’s as insane as suing McDonalds for having tipped your mug of coffee into your lap – or suing the peanutbuttecompanies for their products containing peanuts. Only stupider.
    Whoa…

  • Franziska says:

    As I read this I thought “what stupid persons do this?”. Stupid, really stupid. *eyes rolling*

  • dede says:

    I have been dubbed A Domestic Ninja, and I give you permission to use it free and clear, with blessings and good wishes,
    dede xox

  • Eric says:

    I get where they are coming from. One of the requirements of having a trademark is protecting it. If someone sues them for use of the term, and they can prove they have defended their use successfully (and now your post is actually in their defense), they will win the lawsuit.
    It’s a strange double edged sword.

  • jessica says:

    Oh my, we are getting dumber as a whole species, aren’t we? And Monica is totally right…perhaps this person can’t distinguish between his/her definite and indefinite articles?
    I am going to copywrite the word “the” so no one can use it any more. I’d like to own the language, too!

  • kirstie says:

    How odd – I don’t think this person is correct legally, although you are correct to be the bigger person and not get involved.
    In Britain we have a company called ‘Lovefilm’, which I think is like Netflicks – are they busy searching the internet and asking people to desist from the using the sentence “I love film”.
    I think the clue is in the word ‘maniac’.

  • quinn says:

    May I just point out that IF this was a tactic on a certain person’s behalf to drive traffic to that person’s website…it is WORKING.

  • O my, thank you! I might just do that!

  • I’m starting to feel sorry for them now. So if I’m sending them some business I’m happy to…

  • NancyV908 says:

    I agree it is ridiculous but I think it is common. I do understand the principle of protecting your trademarked name, but I don’t understand how people are able to trademark common phrases. I know of a restaurant on a golf course called The Fore Seasons (get it?). They were challenged by the famous NYC restaurant The Four Seasons & had to back down. But really, how could the NYC restaurant legally have any claim to that common phrase? Maybe technically they didn’t, but the smaller restaurant didn’t have the means to defend itself. On the other hand, I often hear of people or companies trademarking very common words or phrases. And how about Young House Love, formerly This Young House? I always thought the original name was kind of clever. At least they–& you–had good alternatives to fall back on.

  • Gosia says:

    I’m so proud of you, Benita, for taking the higher road. The other side was in the past and, totally and absolutely, IS irrelevant to YOUR success now in the future.
    Love.
    Gosia

  • lisa h. says:

    Ah well, no worries for me then, since I’m a Maniac of the Disorganized variety.

  • April says:

    Yes, but it’ll only be a temporary boost in traffic, which is worse than little traffic to begin with.

  • norma says:

    I like fanatic better anyways!!! Good grief, what a lot of hoop la over nothing. I love you, you organizing fanatic woman in a different part of the world from me!!!! Keep going strong!!!!!!!!

  • Vicki K. says:

    Wow. Maybe you could just switch it up and become An Organizing Person of the Maniacal Variety (OPMV) or Maniacally Organized Mom (MOM) or Maniacally Persuaded Organizational Person of (MPOP) or…

  • diana says:

    Maniac, indeed! Maybe you’d better trademark “Benita Larsson” …

  • Men snälla, fortsätt kliv på bara – såna tår är så trista i vår värld! 🙂

  • Jennifer S. says:

    I think you should trademark “I’m Swedish, I’m organized.” I love this description. It’s so you (and only you if you trademark it!)

  • Jessica Zee says:

    You handled it with aplomb. I would have been sorely tempted to refuse which probably wouldn’t have been the smart approach, but are these people serious with their trademarks? Soon, we’ll be paying licensing fees to use regular old English words. (I’m kidding, but it *is* irksome.)

  • Alessandra says:

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    Maniac
    1) madman, lunatic
    2) a person characterized by an inordinate or ungovernable enthusiasm for something.
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maniac

  • Ania says:

    Dear Benita – you are awesome and your blog is my absolute favorite. Shame on the other person. I am sure they went after you out of pure jealousy!
    Keep up good work!
    BTW – this is my first comment. I have been “lurking” here for a few months, admiring your writing, creativity, simplicity of your solutions, and your cute kitties.

  • Shelly says:

    That is ridiculous! It’s right up there with the poor kids at Young House Love (formerly “This Young House”) getting bullied into changing their blog name by This Old House.
    Well all I can say is your site is amazing and obviously J or OM is using you to get hits on her page.
    Just like This Old House J will just damage her reputation.
    Why can’t people just be nice?

  • Hur roligt som helst! 🙂 Go Benita!!!

  • Sheesh and double sheesh. It’s not like you started a whole blog called The OM, for heaven’s sake. You simply used a descriptive phrase.
    I call myself an organizational freak all the time. Do you think I could be in trouble for that? Again, sheesh!

  • Olana says:

    COMPLETELY stupid and unnecessary. Some people don’t have enough to do. I guess the business isn’t taking off the way monomaniacal egocentric systematic spatial planner* might like.
    *Registered Trademark of Messy,Inc.

  • Christine says:

    I doubt legally this would hold up in court. I understand trademarks. I think if they had asked you nicely and explained themselves better, we would not think so poorly of them.
    How about organizing fiend:
    Satan; the devil.
    2.any evil spirit; demon.
    3.a diabolically cruel or wicked person.
    4.a person or thing that causes mischief or annoyance: Those children are little fiends.
    5.Informal. a person who is extremely addicted to some pernicious habit: an opium fiend.
    6.Informal. a person who is excessively interested in some game, sport, etc.; fan; buff: a bridge fiend.
    7.a person who is highly skilled or gifted in something: a fiend at languages.
    Here are some things from the thesaurus:
    Main Entry: maniac
    Part of Speech: noun
    Definition: person who is crazy, overenthusiastic
    Synonyms: Section 8, bedlamite, bigot, crackpot, enthusiast, fan, fanatic, fiend, flake, freak, fruitcake, kook, loon, loony, lunatic, madperson, nut*, nutcase, psycho, psychopath, schizoid, screwball, zealot
    Notes: a maniac is an insane person, while manic means affected with or marked by frenzy or mania uncontrolled by reason
    * = informal/non-formal usage
    Then there are these:
    Main Entry: enthusiast
    Part of Speech: noun
    Definition: person active in interest
    Synonyms: addict, admirer, aficionado, believer, buff, bug*, bum*, devotee, eccentric, fan, fanatic, follower, freak, habitué, lover, maniac, monomaniac, nut*, optimist, participant, partisan, rooter, supporter, votary, worshiper, zealot
    Antonyms: critic, detractor, pessimist
    * = informal/non-formal
    Organizing addict, and Maniac Organizer, and organizing fiend are my favorite. Or you could call yourself the Organizing goddess and start your own religion.

  • Jenifir says:

    I am inclined to think of you as an organizing goddess as Christine suggested and indeed, you are my go to blog for such information. I find the whole trade mark thing rather ridiculous when it comes to this sort of situation. Jealousy of your success must be at the route of this but like many things this could back fire in the end. I recently heard a story on the radio that nice guys really finish first and we are actually wired to be empathetic and helpful to each other. I will make sure that I link to your blog as often as it makes sense to do so on my blog and would encourage other bloggers to do the same as it will pass on useful information to our readers and increase Benita’s blog traffic.

  • I cannot believe that they sent you a cease & desist because you said you were ‘an organising maniac’ and they have a trademark for ‘organising maniac’. I cannot believe you can’t describe yourself as whatever you want, it’s not like you were saying you had a business called ‘an organising maniac’. It’s like me saying I’m a fabriholic & having AA come down on my head ‘cos I used ‘…holic’. Bizarre. But as somebody else said, they must be really threatened by you, and that’s a huge compliment!!

  • martha says:

    Maniacal Organizer would torture them just enough I think.

  • That’s it! I’ll be OSF Organized Swedish Fruitcake!

  • Awww, guys…
    Thank you so much for your support! I love you!!!

  • anne says:

    I would prefer if you all wouldn’t use the word “and” so often. It is very similar to my name and it gets very confusing for me. Are you calling me or not…?
    😉

  • Kellie says:

    People are so ridiculous! Who made up these rules anyway!? BLAH! 😛 So wait does that mean none of us can say we are ‘organizing maniacs’? I’ll have to tell my sister to stop calling me that, cause that it already owned by someone! WT!? Hmmm… maybe we could pick various verbs and nouns and claim them for our own, so no one could ever use them or we’ll cease & desist them! Oh, watch out! 😉

  • Marianne. says:

    I am not an organizing maniac. Should I expect an e-mail now?
    How ridiculous. Your blog is popular though or else they wouldn’t contact you.
    Oh yes, did you ask them if they own the right to organizing fanatic as well. Just to be on the safe side 😉

  • Natalie says:

    Oh my goodness, that is ridiculous! The same thing happened to “Young House Love” {formerly “This Young House”}. People are sue-crazy! :p

  • Peter says:

    I doubt this person would have a leg to stand on if they choose to press you for saying you are an organizing maniac. You said AN Organizing Maniac not THE Organizing Maniac. You did not suggest or imply that you and only you are The Organizing Manic (as this person seems to have done). With this rate we will all be rendered mute for using someone’s alleged trademark. I’m a very disorganized person but, I will close with…
    AN ORGANIZING MANIAC

  • I found your blog when you were featured in Beautiful Blog Designs, my sister’s blog. I was telling her last night how much I have enjoyed your blog since she featured it when she mentioned to me that she had received her first “Cease and Desist” legal notice over your blog. She had also called you an “Organizing Maniac.” Sorry…it is ridiculous.

  • sarah says:

    well, that person sure is a maniac…. O_______O

  • Juni says:

    hummmm
    how long till your blog shows up first when searching for OM on google?
    LOL