« Go on Alan | Main | More Shameless Bragging »

November 26, 2007


Johnnie Moore

In my head I'm imagining the energy with which you wrote the original post, and now this one.

And then I'm imagining what's happening inside the head of the person who sent you this letter.

Then I'm wondering, who would be more likely to sustain their enthusiasm for a fight?

My money's on you, Earl. What they've sent you is small, nasty and mean. It is also now part of the meaning I will make when I hear about YellowPages.

Jon Husband

'Tis somewhat surprising (well, not really ... ). It's actually sad.

I'd bet that most high-schoolers, if given your initial post as a case study. would be able to sort out that you are not "using" their trademark and that, as a response to the issues posed in the case study, would suggest developing a more effective and responsible service. nopot seeking to squash "your widdle blog posting".

It's such a nice, clear, short and succinct example of how corporations with money think and act as if they are more powerful than a thinking ex-customer armed with a keyboard and hyperlinks ... but it's so much harder to shut people up now than it was a decade ago. Previously, they could ignore and not respond ... now it's somewhat harder and more costly to do so.

David S. Isenberg

This is a classic "chilling effect." It's kind of like when the Harvard book store recently declared that students could not write down the prices of products they sold because it violated their intellectual property rights.

Earl Mardle

Hi Guys,

Yep, yep and yep. Just updating with my reply and a copy of their letter.

Jon Husband

I clicked through to read the letter from the law firm.

From the wording (and your elaboration makes it clear, i think) nobody actually read the blog post or if they did thought that a polite but peremptory letter from an actual official big-pants law firm partner would have the chilling effect to which David refers. But as you point out, chilling what, exactly ? Your competition for them ... ha ha ... criticism of their service ? You're allowed.

if you ever need to cite a classic case, check out www.untied.com (one of the original "blogs" re" customer complaints), referring to United Airlines. I am certain that United Airlines would have liked to have shut down that site at least 9 years ago.

I hope boatloads of people stop by and drive this post up the pop charts.

Earl Mardle

Hi Jon

Yeah, I found it very odd to send this boilerplate crap that tries to cover all the exits by specifying nothing.

Hello, officer? Someone just committed an offence against me. No, I can't specify what offence nor tell you how they did it, I just want them stopped"

Well, it worked in the DDR for a generation, why not Australia in 2007? Anyone want to make the case for a difference here?

As for the pop charts, 'twould be nice, although I'd have preferred it on the basis of the original post. Still, it would be fun to watch the law of unintended consequences go to work.

Interestingly if you Google yellow pages Australia the post comes up on the second page, which is what someone from said YPA was probably doing and had a little fit.

Incidentally, compare this little effort with the response to my shot across the bows of The Flight Centre a couple of years ago. At least Skroo Turner had the wit and the cojones to front up here and post a response defending his company.


This is standard practice when attempting to get unfavourable publicity voluntarily taken down. Wheel out lawyers, crank out official-sounding threats.

Trademark protection prevents you adopting or infringing their commercial identity in order to compete with their existing or likely market.
Game over.

It does NOT provide protection against reviews or commentary on the trademark holder.

You've already responded to them, but should they come back to the party, I suggest the above potted summary could be a useful shortNsharp "fuck off" notice.

I suggest you also add something along the lines of:

"It is clear your claims have no basis in law. Your persistence in pressing them implies two possibilities:
1. your lawyers have no knowledge or understanding of the laws they cite
2. you and your lawyers are attempting to mis-use the legal framework for your own commercial gain.

It is possible BOTH possibilities are the case. If so, I strongly recommend you purchase a legal dictionary and look up the important term: 'Vexatious Litigant'.

If you still do not understand how the courts view vexatious litigation, I recommend you read various of the cases where the court has found the plaintiff vexatious.

Thank you and goodbye."

Earl Mardle

I'm waiting to find out whether they have found THIS post and how they feel about their unsolicited (pardon the pun) correspondence being posted as it happens.

I wonder too how their will clients will feel about the discussion that they are NOW being associated with.

And god help them if David I decides to link to it.

I did think of an alternate approach to the FO letter; I could offer to sell them the space currently occupied by the offending posting, and this one, and any subsequent ones.

Now, what would it be worth? And does that constitute a shakedown or would that have to have been the original intention of the original post?

Questions, questions.

The comments to this entry are closed.