I recently posted a blog and review about my favorite childhood pizza, Di Carlo’s Original Pizza, and a recipe tribute to the pizza I grew up eating and now miss living here in Florida. I gave the particular pizza and company rave reviews and shared my own interpretation of the recipe in the same article. It appears that post has drawn some unwanted attention.
*Update, I have been getting several emails from people who have pinned or bookmarked the original post of the recipe. I have since edited the article and you can find the recipe here. I haven’t pulled it. It is still alive and well.
I received a comment on my About Page from a representative of the company. Here is the unedited comment:
Dear Di Carlo’s Pizza:
I can only assume from your above response that you either have not consulted your legal counsel before firing off that ridiculous comment, or you were ill-advised by your counsel. I hope it’s the former. In my opinion, this is a futile attempt on your part to silence my Constitutionally protected right to Freedom of Speech. I feel this was conducted for personal reasons cleverly disguised as accusations of Trademark Infringement. Not cool.
I’ll admit, initially you had me shaking in my “blogger boots” and scrambling to wrap my head around what I did. I almost felt as if someone may even come drag me away in handcuffs. Although, I must thank you for the crash course in Trademark Law and Trademark Bullying.
I think it would be doing a huge disservice to myself and other bloggers by not calling you out on your bad behavior.
You would have me believe I can not mention your Trademark name in ANY capacity whatsoever. Luckily, I’m not that gullible. That is blatantly untrue and ridiculous, and I imagine, somewhat embarrassing on your part.
If you are going to police the internet under the scope of your trademark rights, threatening small time bloggers, such as myself, along with a plethora of Yelp and Trip Adviser reviewers, stating we can’t mention your company name without asking your consent, you should at least have some knowledge of Trademark Law and a structured factual basis for your claim.
It is my suspicion that you have either knowingly or unknowingly resorted to:
1.) Unreasonable interpretation of the scope of your trademark rights.
2.) Intimidation and Manipulation tactics, related to the above, in order to enforce your demands by way of manipulative insulting remarks (i.e. your emails regarding my lack of compliance which you inferred as unladylike and “extremely low class,”) and inciting threats of “legal problems.”
You went on to ask why I would “fight and lose over a legal battle over something so small?” Which, in my opinion, is the “pot calling the kettle black.”
This is outright legal intimidation, highly suggestive of legal superiority. It’s somewhat nauseating. Fortunately for me, I’m not the defenseless imbecile you make me out to be.
Furthermore, you have failed to fairly assess my website and its primary use. It is a Recipe Blog where I express myself artistically through food. I write reviews, share stories, develop, and recreate recipes for a small circle of readers. I’m not on some covert operation to single handedly bring down your company.
My website is noncommercial. I also do not carry a mark similar to yours, nor link to any advertisers or other third party commerce sites. Therefore, I’m not sure how any of this constitutes infringement. Please refer to Warner Brothers Corporation policing of third party non commerce Harry Potter sites. It was quite the red-faced debacle for Warner Bros.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I’m still confused to the alleged claims in regard to “misuse” of your trademark name. Your last email sounded somewhat desperate in nature, given that the prior threat promised legal problems if I didn’t remove your name from my article within the next 24 hours. Finally, in a last ditch effort, accusing me of “causing many problems” with your business and “tainting” your product and name. This is almost laughable.
Rest assured I take it quite seriously; however, I’m sure you can understand my confusion. I trust you will make this more clear should you decide to move forward with your threat.
In that event, I’ve compiled a list of requests that I hope you will kindly forward on to your counsel, as this will expedite the process for all parties involved. After all, you have a business to run, and I have a full time job to tend to, since my blog doesn’t bring in any income.
1.) Please explain clearly and concisely, kindly keeping the legal jargon to a minimum, the exact nature of your client’s Trademark Infringement or Trademark Dilution claims. As we know, neither qualifies.
This leaves one obvious reason only. Encroachment upon my First Amendment right by your client through intimidation and bullying tactics. I suspect this is more personal than business oriented. I can’t imagine this person has that much time to police social media sites making such false accusations.
2.) Please kindly forward copies of all Cease and Desist letters or expressed Written Consent for the below sites, whom according to your client, “illegally” mention the use of her trademark name without consent.
b.) Bordas Law Blog
c.) Candace Lately
d.) The Food Guy
f.) Serious Eats
g.) Iowa Girl Eats
I could go on, but I think this will suffice for now.
3.) In regard to accusations that I “caused problems” with your client’s business and “tainted” the product and name, you may want to advise your client that their social media site shared my blog on 12/15/2013 and continue to share other followers posts’ in relation to the very article she claims is undermining her business. Oopsie!
4.) Please advise your client to stop emailing me with continued threats and intimidation.
I am open to an amicable resolution for all parties involved. In the meantime, I will report the Trademark Bullying activity to Chilling Effects.
Please understand I hold no ill will toward Di Carlo’s Original Pizza. I love their pizza and I would choose a slice over my version in a heartbeat. I would walk into a shop right now and order up a slice, but I fear I’d have to put on a wig, hat, and sunglasses first.
* If commenting below, please only leave respectful comments and avoid disparaging remarks. Comments will be moderated and removed at my discretion. Some have been emailing me comments and I welcome those also. Thank you.