Cease and Desist!

Oh my! Santa brought me another present yesterday! I must have been a VERY good girl this year!

Yesterday I received a FedEx (almost didn’t open it because I thought it was a work thing for G) and inside was a letter from some fancy schmancy lawyers in our nation’s capital telling me I made a big big boo boo on my blog. Apparently I put two completely innocent words together in a blog title and once these words were together: KABOOOM! I set off alarms all around the trademark world.

Not to worry, I fixed the offensive pairing and will offend no more. I learned my lesson. You won’t see Kle*nex here. Or X*rox. Or M*c. Or Ap*le. Or any other word that’s going to get some lawyers on my ass. No siree bob.

The kind folks down there in Washington want me to send them a letter back letting them know I’ve complied with their demands. My good friend Ann drafted it out for me and I found my best purple pen to write it:

Seriously, though, I understand that according to the strict letter of the law I MAY have done wrong. MAYBE. The letter states I used the words together in a promotional capacity, which I think is arguable since I never made a cent on what I was “promoting” and in the end helped raise $19,000 for charity. That’s neither here nor there. I immediately removed the words from my blog as per their request. And I’ll be sending them a real letter stating as such. Honestly, this was a nice wake up call. I’m not sure I realized how important the blog is to me until it was “threatened.” All in all, I’m just glad I’ve made some kid super happy on Xmas by helping their lawyer parent bill out $1000 to send a letter to ME, a completely unassuming KNITBLOGGER. (They printed out and sent me a copy of the blog post where I made my fatal mistake – did they bother to read it? I really have to wonder….)

And my Solstice present to you is a hearty laugh. Because I’ll be guffawing over this one for QUITE a while and I hope you will too! THANK YOU PCH! And Merry Christmas one and all!


  1. I hope they sent you a SASE.

  2. Maybe we should just ban their website and mailings and risk not being the million dollar winner

  3. People trademark the weirdest things. I suppose it’s so that lawyers who can’t deal with criminal/custodial/constitutional (ever notice they all start with a c? I dunno why that is) law will have jobs.
    (no offence to any lawyers though, y’all are awesome)

  4. A bit frightening, isn’t it? Do they search for infringers, or did someone just stumble across it? One wonders…

  5. That’s fabulous. Way to make the big time, Baby!

  6. Wow, kind of creepy that ‘the Man’ is even in our knitblogs πŸ™‚

  7. dearest one, check your hyperlink for Ann – you left out one teeny little “s” so it doesn’t go anywhere in the cyberverse the way it’s written – aside from that, you GO GIRL!!!

  8. I love the purple response letter. That rocks.
    You’ve hit the big time baby!

  9. pretty soon, you will have to pay to sign your own name. My Pc’s dad has a famous name… and he was told (recently) that is was trademarked. Huh. So, LEGALLY, he has to pay royalties every time he says his name, writes his name, etc. Very hard to enforce, but c’mon!
    PS- send the letter back “postage due”. πŸ™‚

  10. Well – now you have definitely ARRIVED. πŸ˜‰

  11. well i bet this means that ed wont be showing up at your door with the big check and balloons. πŸ˜€
    that is really funny tho. crazy, yet hilarious!

  12. hilarious! makes you wonder though how blogs can be used in court! i guess it’s a published doc.. hmm! what a good laugh though! if the blog doesn’t fit you must aquit

  13. OMFG.
    (Really, what else is there to say?)

  14. Love that purple response!! Thanks for a good giggle.

  15. Your kidding right? Ok, I know your not kidding… and that is so sad. PCH sends THE MAN in to stomp on a fund drive for charity. How NICE of them. I understand trademark laws, copyrights and such, but, I don’t know.. this just seems absolutely silly, as if any of us who participated ever confused what you were able to accomplish with of all things, tree killing and annoying commercial making PCH.
    Its so sad, it actually is funny.
    *note: I was skimming at first and saw “lawyer” “washington dc” “letter” and “KABOOM”, and I thought you got a letter from Homeland Security!

  16. I really think that this is funny. You have made the big time. I would absolutely love for someone to send me a cease and desist – but that is probably just the bored contracts lawyer talking here. The best part is thinking about the poor associate attorney who had to draft the letter.

  17. This is fantastic. It makes me laugh… and maybe cry a little since I’m a lawyer and we cause such problems!

  18. Oh geez. I must assume those jerks don’t have anything better to do with their time, other than play computer solitaire! A true waste of time and resources…. I guess you’ve made the big time now! LOL

  19. Hilarious, but you know who this makes me feel bad for? The poor, lowly law student who has the job of finding every instance of those two words out there and determining whether or not the person using them can be sued.

  20. Wow, what a story! gave me a laugh too πŸ˜‰

  21. Well, there are some of us out here who already found the PCH’s manner of doing business fraudulent and exploitive, but no matter. It’s good to know that a corporation that implies to millions of confused people that they stand a chance at fabulous wealth by sending out bogus legal documents are capable of sending out real ones. Did it end with a set of stamps naming magazines you could buy to get them off your a**?

  22. Unbelievable.
    Please tell me the purple response was not a joke and you really sent it. I love it!

  23. I knew there were too many lawyers in DC!

  24. Oh My… what a Christmas present indeed.
    Now honestly, I’d spend the first hour pissed and the secound hour laughing and who knows what all after that.

  25. jesus f*ing christ …

  26. hmmm – I just googled PP and found lots of non-PCH-affiliated references. I guess “someone’s” lawyer has got FedEx packages going out everywhere – I guess they’re like Christmas gifts! Or maybe yours was just a little scarier to them, seeing as how you got SO many folks reading your blog and becoming confused – thinking YOU ARE THE PCH PP – oops – I’ll bet they’ve trademarked those acronyms too!!

  27. oh. my. god. lawyers have WAY too much to do in this country. really. how stupid.
    love the letter back. be sure to print it up and put some perfume and stickers on it too πŸ™‚

  28. Does Ed McMahon still do PCH? Maybe he’ll show up at your door!

  29. So….. wait. You’re not PCH? I *totally* thought you were their official blog.

  30. Wow. You know you’ve hit it big when people want to sue you!!! Go you! lol

  31. This is just too much. Whatever happened to copying being the sincerest form of flattery? I think they’re getting paranoid.

  32. Thanks for makin’ my day!! ; )

  33. Troublemaker!! (I love it!)

  34. How very “big brother” of them to send you such a lovely gift. Seriously…I think G could get a frame as a gift for you for your letter-proof that you made your mark on the corporate world. Here’s wishing for a felony-free New Year.

  35. Please tell me you’re sending the purple response too?!? It’s *so* perfect!!! Especially with the pretty writing and embelishments!

  36. Oh, for heaven’s sake. I suspect someone at FancyPants and Snooty, LLP was short billable hours.

  37. More importantly than not telling your parents, better hope they don’t tell Santa, or it will be ALL COAL for YOU!

  38. Fucking tools. First, they piss in Ed McMahon’s cornflakes and now they’re going after bloggers.

  39. Huh. I wonder if “Wheel of Fortune” is coming after you next, or if the fact that it’s–like–a literary reference *before* it’s the name of their stupid gameshow will save you.

  40. OOOOOO I am so tempted to use that as a title on my next post……. dumbasses

  41. Dude! I’ve been chuckling about this since yesterday. It’s just too funny. If they only knew how powerful knitbloggers really are. They might be sorry.

  42. You HAVE to be kidding me.
    And by the way, I have not said it yet, but I am SO happy about your husband being cancer free. Best present you could receive πŸ™‚

  43. Well I guess I will wait for my letter.. cause I am .. that I am going to run and change my charity blog for these …!!! And you know what!!! I am going to use their precious phrase a second time just for kicks!
    Come on by PCH>> http://www.loomknittingmom.blogspot.com
    PS Love the purple letter!

  44. Damn lawyers πŸ™‚

  45. Unreal. Surreal. Also, very very funny, in that “you can’t make this sh*t up” kind of way.
    I wish you would actually send them the little purple note… πŸ˜‰

  46. This is hilarious, especially since it probably did more good for them than bad. The use of the phrase brings awareness, etc.
    Do you know that they pay people to look for patent infringements? I imagine that for PHC that is a shitty shitty job.

  47. I think we should all use those two words on our blogs in every post from now until your birthday! Then we would all get pretty F*d Ex letters!

  48. Whoa!

  49. OMG I’m ROLFLMAO right now. I am also UUHJTRWZing all over the place!

  50. Wow, lawyers really are the lowest life form. Or just the most bored people on the planet. And I think you should send the purple ink letter πŸ˜‰

  51. When you have lawyers patrolling the Internet looking for anything that might kinda sorta be a trademark violation, you have to be very careful lest they find some way to prize money loose from you.
    Like an overzealous high-school principal, keep those words separated at all times (25 intervening words should do it, I hope), so they don’t mate and give birth to subpoenas.

  52. Maybe it’s time you trademarked “January One” (or is it “january one”? How specific does one have to be?).

  53. Boy, you’re a better sport than I. Steam would be coming out of my ears on this one. It’s honestly upsetting that they have nothing better to do. Yikes. Happy Holidays! =-)

  54. Thank you for sharing…that is funny stuff!

  55. I think it’s cool that your blog is on the map enough that someone noticed it! That’s a wonderful holiday present!

  56. So funny. And sad. Is PCH even still around? I never even thought it was actually real. What a load of phooey. Glad you can laugh at it – cause that’s all it deserves!

  57. This gets the WTF Wednesday award of the year!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. Oh please! Funny thing is, I bet your blog post was more popular than their website and was coming up higher than them in searches for that phrase. I’ll bet it had nothing to do with using it in a promotional capacity as they claim. And do a search on that term — there are *tons* of people using it!! Are they going to send them all threatening letters?

  59. WTF, indeed. Sure, you were planning on making all kinds of money off the Internets with your diabolical scheme…
    (rolls eyes)

  60. Naughty, naughty!! What a funny little interlude. I am laughing right along with you!

  61. Dude. You are big time. They are worried about you! hahahahahahahahahaha. That is the best letter EVER. And good on you for having a sense of humor about it!

  62. I used to work in an industry where copyright/trademark infringement was a major issue. To be fair, the reason why the trademark holders had their corporate counsel (or whomever) contact you has to do with trademark protection. See, if they neglect to notify you and request that you remove the phrases from your web site, they are tacitly saying that it is okay for anyone to use their trademark catchphrase. I know that it seems really harsh and foolish since you were not trying to make money off the phrase or to take any business away from them. From their standpoint, though, if they let you “get away with it”, they have opened the door for anyone to use it and then someone else could come along and remove the trademark from them – as happened to Cellophane. Take a look at the section labeled “Avoiding genericide” in this Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genericized_trademark
    But don’t let it get you down.

  63. Holy shit! That’s creepy and dumb all at the same time. What a bunch of sad lawyers who seem to have nothing better to do with their time.

  64. And yes, it is really silly.

  65. And yes, it is really silly.
    I wonder if they singled you out since you are a domain.com and run a business through the Internet? Hmmm.

  66. Oh, yeah, and because I am home sick and really haven’t anything to do since my minivan is in the shop, here is a list of genericized trademarks of which most of them I was unaware.

  67. I think you should send the purple note :), hehehehe.

  68. W*w. Th*t’s so we*rd. I can’t bel*eve th*t th*t w*rd is copyr*ghted. M*ybe we sh*uld all j*st st*p bl*gging. OMFSM.

  69. I can’t decide if this is too funny, too sad, or too scary. I’m going to stick to the funny option and have a giggle. Thanks for sharing.

  70. I think the purple letter is the only one you should send. It fulfills the requirement while at the same time points out the silliness of the whole affair.

  71. Did a real person actually look at the post? Is there a room where a bunch of underpaid people are holed up to look through blogs for copyrighted materials or do the robots seach the offending wording out and automatically send you something? Crazy!

  72. Thanks, I needed a good laught right about now πŸ˜€

  73. Let me know which law firm and I can drive by and egg ’em. Oooh!! No wait, I’ll get an oversized check and dress up like a former TV host’s sidekick and hand out balloons and t-shirts on the street outside of their building with the forbidden words printed on them. Now that would be fun.

  74. Wow! That is the second most moronic thing I’ve seen today!

  75. That was good for a laugh!

  76. What a shame. Lawyers (unfortunately, I am a lawyer, but not the kind to send out stupid letters to innocent bloggers) are too often on “Douchebag Patrol.” So ridiculous!

  77. Oh good grief. Well hey- maybe think of it as a compliment? They’re aware of the size of your readership, I guess!

  78. Dude. You are my hero. You are definitely at the top of my bad-ass list right now. I used to send homemade cease and desist letters to my parents… they usually had something to do with green vegetables to dinner. Sadly, my parents were not as compliant as you are. You go, girl!


  80. Speechless!

  81. Yeah. Because this is exactly what you were needing right about now. Good gravy.
    Your ability to not lose your mind is impressive. Impressive, indeed. Purple ink and flowers for everyone!

  82. OMG! Big Brother IS watching!

  83. I’m worried. Do those of us who READ the offending words have to pluck out our eyes? Or just take some memory-removing drugs???

  84. I just think it’s interesting that the federal government, in its zeal to inform you of this grave error, chose to use Fedex–a privately-owned delivery service–rather than its very own mail service. What, certified mail isn’t good enough for our government? And here I thought we actually had one of the best postal systems in the world . . .

  85. I think the purple letter is priceless!

  86. You have got to be kidding me. That was my first reaction. Then I laughed. Then, I rolled my eyes about a million times because our society is becoming so stinking legaldiculous! Man.

  87. Oh sweet Jesus. Do they not have enough to do or something?

  88. kinda makes you wonder if there is some employee out there who does nothing other than search google for blogs that use certain words. ssheesh – get a life.
    they most obviously never read your blog, or they would have been happy to have their name affiliated with such a noble, wonderful cause as raising money for Heifer Int’l.
    Rock on girl!

  89. Just catching up on blog entries and let me first say that I’m so happy to read the GOOD news of the other day! Now, as for this, I’m not surprised. Considering the RIAA is going after little kids and old ladies for downloading music, I wouldn’t put this past anyone. Think of it this way, Dude! You’re like, totally famous!!! πŸ˜‰ Happy Holidays to you and yours. πŸ™‚

  90. Someone should start a PCH expose blog and drive them crazy! It could debut with a post about the PRY PATROL…

  91. OMG, I hope you see this comment among the other 90, because YOU’VE BEEN TAGGED!!! for the Six Weird Things meme. Visit me to find out more.
    PS, what the h33l is PCH thinking? I G**gled PP and there truly are a gazillion references to it, including some run by universities! Shocking. I also vote for sending the purple letter. πŸ˜‰ Happy Holidays.

  92. Absolutely priceless! I hope you plan to frame that letter! Imagine, just today I was planning on posting about a stupid m*c trick my son taught me. Would that have gotten the big boys onto me too, or do they only try to get the evil bloggers who raise $19,000 for charity?
    Happy belated solstice!

  93. Jenny in Jersey says:

    Well…huff….I never…..how dare they mess with people who routinely carry numerous sharp pointed objects. Wait..No.. are THEY listening? Was that a terroristic threat? Am I going to be arrested?

  94. I think I’d like to apply for the job of reading blogs to find trademarked words. Who should I apply to?

  95. Oh bloody hell. Every time I think I’ve heard my last stupid thing…
    Hey, did they read your fine print — that they weren’t allowed to copy or reproduce anything on this site without permission? Yet they sent you a copy of the offending post…. Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser.
    I wonder when someone’s going to sue the dictionary publishers for printing words without permission.

  96. Actually, if what you wrote can be considered a parody, then they can’t do a single thing about it. Parodies don’t fall under those rules. So stick it back to them!!! Unreal that they’d do this, especially during the holidays.

  97. ::sings:: Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law…

  98. My head is spinning! But I had a good laugh over your response letter … LOL, this whole thing is ironic. Thanks for the laugh! You too PCH.

  99. *You fought the law, and the LAW WON!*
    Well, as one of the rare ones who truly loves lawyers as they are usually the source of my livelihood, not to mention one of them is the father of my only child, I have three words for the authors of your letter:
    wait. I’m not done. Four more:
    Well, WTF, since I get paid by the page, I like to drag things out. One more sentence:
    (a little history. I once asked that question of an asshat lawyer who was having a temper tantrum during a break in court and in such tantrum he inadvertently hit my elbow — HARD — with a table. His response was to get within an inch of my nose and say, “You’re just the court reporter. We don’t pay you to think.”)
    The court officer later said to me, “I thought you were going to hit him, and I would have been second in line.” Hee.

  100. I vote for boycotting companies who act like Scrooge.

  101. Good Grief, Charlie Brown! What a bunch of bored losers.

  102. wow at least you have people reading your blog and even way more now.. Happy Holidays!

  103. lol that is funny. People get extremely anal this time of the year, I believe they’ll start crap with anybody. Merry Christmas by the way!

  104. It was probably some bored, bitter intern who alerted the copyright police. How petty.
    As for those specific brands, I’m surprised since they’ve become so identified with what they are that they’re part of our lexicon. But, whatever.
    Happy holidays to you and Georgie, Cara.

  105. I wonder if you could (if you had lots of time and lots and lots of money) fight this since they had you down as d/b/a Januaryone.com instead of a/k/a JanuaryOne.com since you aren’t doing any business.
    Absolutely UFB (un-fucking-believable)

  106. It bothers me a lot that word combinations are Service Marked and therefore “reserved” in their usage. Too bad curse words and epithets aren’t all registered… maybe we could reverse the deficit AND decrease uncivility by assessing penalties for the F-bomb and its friends.
    Will somebody please clue me in on your infraction? I can’t remember anything untoward. Maybe I should check my own site statistics and see who is looking at my midnight ramblings.

  107. Did you see this? I can’t imagine you’d get anybody confused……http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/matters/matters-0212.html

  108. Marc said to tell you (and I quote) “that Cara is a rebel – bad to the bone!”
    We love ya cutie πŸ™‚

  109. OMG…good stuff to know. About the PCH trouble, hubby said to pass along eff.org to you, in case you wanted to tell them something else.