Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Love Potions, Anyone?

I wish someone would give me one right now. Did you know that if you use the term "love potion" in connection with perfume that there's a crazy #@%$^& (my opinion) online who will threaten to sue you?

Apparently, somebody gave the owner of a perfume company in Southern California the idea that marketing a perfume called "Love Potion #9" by getting that name and the term "love potion" trademarked was a great thing to do. Then, since no one in their right mind would ever expect that a phrase that has been in public usage for thousands of years could even be trademarked, she spends her time googling the words "love potion" and harassing people who use it in connection to perfume by threatening to take legal action.

"Google," by the way, I'm sure must be a registered trademark but I think they'd be pleased as punch that I'm using the term "googling" in the above paragraph so I'm not worrying about that.

Still, I understand that someone who misuses the legal system (in my opinion) to trademark a phrase people use a lot as a name for a product is required by law to "assiduously protect" that trademark or lose it. So that is what this perfume company has tried to do.

I don't have a perfume named "love potion" or "Love Potion #9" on my list. I do, however, have a love potion perfume (yes, I'm going to call it that-- the term "love potion" in this instance is considered an adjective) that I once named "Heart-Centered Sexuality" and is now called "Opening the Heart." The name of my perfume company is Mama Love. In the ad copy for this perfume I describe it as Mama Love's very own "Love Potion #9". Notice the quotation marks. I don't use them because I knew about the trademark. I use them because I once made my living partially as an editor and it is a grammatical convention to put the names of popular songs in quotes.

However, the average person might overlook that and certainly wouldn't expect it to be a requirement. So, it turns out that one of my favorite and most long-standing customers decided to feature my perfume on their website and left the quotation marks out. Bam! They get sent an email threatening to take legal action if they don't take my product off their site (or rename it) within 7 days. Now, of course this is a mistake as my product is not named "Love Potion #9" or anything like it. Apparently, the person writing this email used a search program and sent their threatening email without just cause.

And that makes me think I could take legal action against them for interfering with my business. But how does someone without the resources of a Jessica Simpson (the most famous person this #@$%^ in my opinion went after) handle such a thing? Should I register a complaint with the state district attorney? What do you think?


Kris said...

Try pointing out that there was a film (and rather funny one at that) made in 1992 called Love Potion #9 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102343/)and see what happens. I bet the producers may have something to say to them about that.

Cindy said...

I too, got slammed with a less than sweet email for the use of "love potion" The description of my sea salts were actually compared to Victoria's Secret scent. I didn't even know this other company existed, & it would seem they spend more time googling than creating. My response was to quote the dictionary.com definition of love potion, which ironically did not bear the trademark of the uh, how was it you put it, #@$%^.
The Clovers, who originally sang the song of the same name, might not be pleased either.
Just shakin' my head. Now I'm going to go back & make some more of my potions....uh....elixirs...uh salts.

Daniela said...

OMG I am so glad to see I am not the only one!! See my blog about my nightmare. Her attorney just called me back yesterday I am curious to see what he has to say. I am a Sinti Gypsy and my people have been using the term Love potion for centuries and she has the nerve to yank my ebay listings down for describing my product SINTI LOVE as a love potion!!! I guess people say she is a money grubbing nut case as I have been getting all kinds of e-mails about it from others. Her attorney must be sick of this. He needs to put a muzzle on her before she loses her TM. I agree though WHO would ever give someone a TM on Love Potion. Especially someone as disresectful and iresponsible as her. Shame Shame Mara Fox, you are going to drum yourself out of these communities with that behavior. No one wants to wear you product when it comes from such a negative and dark place! See my blog for my experience where her partner tries to lie and pretend she is an attorney. http://thegypsyconnection.blogspot.com

lovepotion said...

Um, yah, the b* got my auction kicked off eBay for bath salts. But when I looked up her trademark information on the government website, it says that Mara Fox of Love Potion Perfume (that's who she is, who is causing all the problems), only has a trademark for her perfume oils and essential oil blends. NOT BATH SALTS. Now she's a bright one. Creating enemies for something she doesn't even have!

Sheryl Karas said...

You know, she's threatened so many people around the net that she may actually have crossed the line into breaking a couple of laws. My boyfriend says it's illegal to threaten people with lawsuits when there's no obviously justifiable cause. It's a form of harassment -- coercement in her case because on her website, at least, it says you can buy a "license" to use the term "love potion" from her. In other words, she's making it pretty obvious that she can be "paid off" to lay off her lawsuit techniques. It's not crossing the line into extortion, actually, but someone could make the case that that actually is her underlying intent. She's certainly been allowed to undermine people's businesses for no legally justifiable reason. That's reason for legal action against her itself! Class action counter suit, anyone?

Will Entrekin said...

It's frustrating how people who don't understand conventional usage attempt to enforce trademarks. My personal favorite is the term "book trailer."

Then again, you have to question that somehow the idiot managed to trademark the term in the first place. Is there no qualification system?

Sheryl Karas said...

Yeah, I agree Will. I'm amazed this trademark was allowed to go through in the first place.

John Thornton said...

Same twit e-mailed me last year. I replied that is she wanted to see some action she could have a Cease and Desist letter sent. Otherwise I have no proof of her claim. Never got a response, but as the product hadn't been selling for a while I was phasing it out. What a terrible person. Why doesn't she get a real job?

DogEatDogWorld said...

Yes, definitely file a complaint! This is harassment. Someone needs to get a life. So much negativity around this "Love Potion" perfume, I don't see why anyone would want to buy it. They obviously had dollar signs in their eyes when the lawsuit was filed against Sephora/Jessica Simpson. I'm sure there were Perfumes, Oils, act. Coined Love Potion on the net before these radicals got on their high horse. Now they try to intimidate anyone on the net with the Love Potion term. BTW how is that lawsuit going Mara?