Cornell University harasses maker of Cornell blog
Cornell University harasses maker of Cornell blog:
Elliott Back's personal site about Cornell University has attracted a nastygram from the university, which argues that it's possible that someone (presumably someone very foolish) might mistake his site (whose URL is cornell.elliottback.com) with Cornell University's site.
Some trademark holders are confused to the point of ridiculousness on what TM does and doesn't protect. Trademark lets you sue people who use your mark in commerce in a way that's likely to confuse the public about the origin of goods and services. It isn't enough that Pepsi calls itself a "cola" when Coke invented and trademarked the word -- Coke has to prove that people who buy Pepsi Cola sometimes think they're buying Coca-Cola.
Elliott's site won't confuse anyone. It is, instead, a fan site about Cornell University, spreading goodwill about the institution. Priceless, genuine goodwill. They've squandered this goodwill and wasted the time of their expensive lawyers who have better things to do (or, if they don't, are a waste of money and should be laid off and their budget reallocated to teaching and research) because of the remote, infinitesimal chance that somehow, cornell.elliottback.com will be mistaken for Cornell University.
Chilling Effects gathers, publishes and analyzes letters that threaten web-writers with legal action in retaliation for free expression. I hope Elliott stands his ground and sends a copy of this notice to them.
I am writing to request that you remove the name Cornell University from the name of your blog and website at cornell.elliottback.com. While we appreciate your hosting a forum in which Cornell news and events can be discussed, your use of the words Cornell University on the blog is confusing and can easily be misinterpreted to mean that the blog is maintained and/or sanctioned by the university. In fact, neither is the case.
Cornell University is a trademarked name and can only be used with the permission of the university. More specifically your use of the Cornell University name in this manner is unauthorized, misleading, and in violation of Section 397 of the General Business Law of the State of New York.