A Cup Is at the Heart of a Trademark Dispute.
I was sad to read a news story in the NY Times about the State of NY harassing a small business owner even after they removed the logo in question from everything, which can be a very costly endeavor. Frankly, I don’t feel the “I [coffee] NY” tattooed on knuckles bears enough resemblance to Milton Glaser’s iconic I ♥ NY.
According to the article, “Everyman Espresso’s unauthorized and confusingly similar use of the I ♥ NY® logo” violated federal trademark law and implied “a misleading designation of source, origin, endorsement, sponsorship or approval by the New York State Department of Economic Development of your merchandise.”
Stop the French presses.
Down came the logo from Everyman’s Web site. Down to the basement went the mugs and T-shirts and onesies emblazoned with it. Out went the letter from Everyman’s lawyer, promising, “My client shall cease all use of its mark.”
Mr. Penix and his partner Jay Terrana hoped that would be enough. It was not.
“We expect that any entity that infringes on the rights of our client compensate it for unauthorized use,” the lawyer, Clare Neumann, wrote on May 20, requesting “an accounting of all gross revenues generated during the period when the I ♥ NY® Trademark was used” to help her set the appropriate penalty.
That, in coffee parlance, has left a bitter taste in Mr. Penix’s mouth.
“Basically, it’s extortion,” he said. “It’s also ironic because we are being threatened by the entity that has vowed to grow our New York business.”
Should NY State be allowed to bully small businesses to own icons and letters? and what can we do about it?
The conversation begins here.
Apparently if you are a corporate partner with New York State you can buy into the I ♥ NY Brand. hmmm. so that’s how it works.
THIS JUST IN…. another case