All Questions in Domain Names >> I Love NY website issue

I Love NY website issue

Posted by . updated on 11/11/2009
Hi, I own the website www.iloveanything.com  We sell custom "I heart" t-shirts that customers can make say they love (blank).  Recently I have been contacted by NYState Economic Development. Stating that I am infringing upon their trademark since I use an "I and a HEART".  They said something like I am creating an avenue or somebullnuts to infringe on their I love NY logo.  I told them we do not sell any I Love NY shirts and also that we can sell an I love Shirt to anyone with whatever they want on it, because we are simply a Screen printer and only producing what the customer requests.  If you go to your local screen printer and say please make me 50 I love NY shirts, they will because a screen printer can not go researching every customer to make sure you have permission and granted rights.  

Also the t-shirts on our site are only a preview of what the customer is ordering.  Our terms of use page state that the liability is on the customer and they assume all rights and permissions regarding trademarked text.  Anyways, check out my terms page and take a peak at the site.  Does the NY Dept have any grounds? Do they really own the trademark "I heart" and any possible word following it? They are threatening to shut my site down if I don't work something out with them such as limit my customers to a minium of 3 letters.  What do you guys think?? Are they just hating on me because I'm doing so well? ......I do have my attorneys taking care of this matter... but in the mean time i am just curious as to how this is going to play out.  


thanks  
-Dennis  

p.s. If i am in the wrong then aren't the largest online t-shirt sellers in world as well suxh as customink.com, spreadshirt.com, customglamgirl.com customizedworld.com All our custom online printers that will print a shirt to say anything you want including I Love (Blank).
Answers (5)
love  ny  website  issue 
 
Isaac
It seems to me that New York is only concerned with "I heart NY" and something similar being printed.  While it is true that a local t shirt shop might print an infringing logo out of ignorance, they probably would not willfully infringe after being notified and neither should you.
It would probably be best to take some steps to prevent people from printing "I love NY".
 
 
JSonnabend
Based on recent personal experience with "I [heart]" marks, I agree with Isaac and believe New York State is likely not concerned with anything other than "I [heart] New York".

- Jeff
 
 
Jessica Turner
I actually totally agree with you! I am pretty certain to say that this will play out in your favor because they do not own the trademark " I Love." And, as I'm sure there will most likely be a lot of fancy dance around who should do what and take such measures to prevent such and such. People are free to buy and wear what they want for personal use. It's not your job to make sure it doesn't say anything. now, they can say that if someone purchases an item that says,"I Love New York" that they are entitled to a profit and any other rules they may throw out but I wouldn't be too worried if I were you.
 
 
John Smith
I know nothing of trademark infringement ... or even if infringement is an appropriate term where trademarks are concerned. But, it seems like some here are suggesting that intellectual property enforcement can be defeated by claiming a customer wants an infringing product. Surely this is not a credible strategy. Of course customers want infringing products ... that's why people make and sell infringing products.

One says:
"we can sell an I love Shirt to anyone with whatever they want on it, because we are simply a Screen printer and only producing what the customer requests."

That makes no sense to me at all.
How can your customer grant you permission to commit infringement on the property of others?

Another says:
"People are free to buy and wear what they want for personal use."

I hope that is false.  I write patent applications all the time for the purpose of excluding people from doing things they might want to do. I once wrote an application that issued to a patent for a brassiere. I certainly hope that people are NOT free to buy and wear brassieres defined by the issued claims of that patent. The inventor PAID me to prevent such freedoms.

Y'all be careful about posting too much info here. The OP has been very specific so far ... your accuser may be watching. Get your attorney's help!
 
 
Isaac
I went to the url given by the original poster (whose post is nearly a year old by the way).

If you type in "NY" in the blank, you'll get a warning about trademark infringement, so apparently the OP has reconsidered their position on things.

For that matter, the whole post might well have been just a way to drive traffic to the web page.

 

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