The blog tells quite a story, one that starts with the PTO erroneously accepting Nordstrom’s intent-to-use application for a trademark that is confusingly similar to a registered trademark owned by two Colorado women, and ends with Nordstrom using its financial might to beat back the registrants who believe they have been wronged. I don’t want to re-tell a re-telling, so check out the post yourself. However, here’s the punch line — from the unhappy trademark owners to the Commissioner of Trademarks:
“We filed for a trademark so that we could reasonably secure ourselves from someone else using that name. If your office cannot protect us from this, why would we, or anyone, file an application? The law is supposed to be accessible to all people. Just because Nordstrom has money and we do not does not give them the right to use the name for which we have the trademark…. [T]he cost to work through the TTAB will easily exceed $70,000 just to fix the problem The Trademark Office made in the first place. We understand that we must stand behind and police our trademark. How is this possible for a small company to stand up to a behemoth like Nordstrom for $70,000? Your office has ensured our demise.”
Decide the facts for yourself. Here are links to the subject registration; the prosecution history of one of Nordstrom’s intent-to-use applications; the TTAB docket to Nordstrom’s now-dismissed cancellation proceeding; and the TTAB docket to the registrant’s ongoing opposition proceeding.
In this follow-up post, the Global CIO Blog reports today that Nordstrom contacted it, apologized, and stated it intends to settle its dispute with the Colorado trademark owners.
The blog quotes Nordstrom as stating:
“A customer of ours e-mailed us a copy of your story from yesterday expressing their unhappiness with how they feel Nordstrom has handled this issue. I’d like you to know our thoughts. Our intention from the beginning was to co-exist with Beckons in a manner that would enable Beckons to use their trademark on yoga merchandise, while we used the Beckon name for fashion apparel and accessories. We never intended to adversely affect Ms. Prater’s business and we are sorry if this has happened. We are reaching out again to Ms. Prater’s attorneys to reach a settlement that we are hoping she will find acceptable. When we have resolved this issue, which we are hopeful will be soon, we’ll get back to you to share the outcome.”
World Trademark Review writes about the dispute today, and quotes me (among others).
To be tested by Nordstrom twice in a week is either a testament to the power of information or a demonstration of their corporate belief that we are such blithering idiots that we will buy any piece of crap they throw against the wall.