So I am off to attend a personal function and pull up my FB to do a quick scroll through my friends Facebook posts one night, and I am confronted with a blaring message that my business page for 2 Dogs Design has been removed because of a trademark violation. What? Really?
OK, so after clicking through the notice and seeing that I would need to jump through hoops to re-activate my page that was taken down – without Facebook even taking a look to see if the logo was the same or what the deal was – I decided Facebook is not worth my time from a business perspective. They clearly do not care about their users – so I will take my business and my dollars to other social platforms.
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of that notice – since I saw it on my phone and did not think to screen capture it. They do also send an email, but the email I had on file with FB is one I no longer use – I so wish I could share it!
Basically the email simply stated “Your page has been removed because someone claimed a copyright or trademark infringement” – then they provide a case number and the name of the person filing complaint and a summary of the complaint. Yep, that is it. They complain. Your page comes down – all your content and fans – POOF GONE! Money you invested in ads – WASTED! Way to treat your CUSTOMERS Facebook.
So the person who complained I violated her trademark?
Here is her website: (not clickable since I do NOT want to give her link juice at all):
Here is her logo and my previous logo (I just changed it today on the website – more on that below)
I don’t know – unless I am really image challenged they do not look alike to me – and considering she does logo design for a living — I am a little disappointed in her creativity here as well.
Oh – and for the record – clipart or using another designers work does not a logo designer make. We found this while doing our research – look familiar?
For the record – I have NEVER claimed to be a logo designer – I actually kind of suck at it – just making that clear!
But let’s do a little more digging now shall we:
She was smarter than me – because she registered her logo. So kudos to her for being a good business owner. I have wanted to trademark my logo, but never made it a priority – clearly that was my only mistake.
But here is her registered trademark details in full: http://www.trademarkia.com/2dog-design-86485428.html
Now the point I want to stress here about the trademark details in the link above is this:
“The mark consists of the wording “2DOG DESIGN” in black stylized font above two black Labrador retrievers facing each other. The Labrador retriever on the left is wearing a yellow collar and the Labrador retriever on the right is wearing a red collar.”
That is what she is claiming as her trademark – as you can see it is pretty specific.
So when we evaluate the trademark to compare the logos – we have the wording “2DOG DESIGN” (and notice the 2 and the Dog are together – kind of like mine is right? – but my text is 2DOGS DESIGN – so the wording is different, only 1 letter, but still different – and I am not using a black stylized font – I am using black and gray. I do not have labradors, I have a pit – I do not have 2 dog silhouettes in my logo I only have 1. I do not have colors in my logo as she does with her collars which is specific to her trademark – mine is gray scale —- so technically speaking the trademark infringement we could probably fight and win.
Now let us dig even further.
She filed her trademark in December 2014. My website with this logo went live in November 2014 (the Divi logo shows in the screen capture for some reason, but this is when this new redesign was launched with the logo I designed) https://web.archive.org/web/20141104140139/https://www.2dogsdesign.com/
Now if we look at her website – I do not know when it was launched – but as of August 1, 2015 it seems to have been an empty slate – you can view how the website looked in the past here: https://web.archive.org/web/20150615000000*/http://www.2dogdesign.com/
Then we look at the domain details: http://www.hosterstats.com/historicaldns.php?domain=2dogdesign.com
It looks like it was available via buydomains.com for a while and she purchased it in January 2015…..
So, to me it would seem it is a new website…..like really new.
What about us? We purchased this domain in December 2008: http://www.hosterstats.com/historicaldns.php?domain=2dogsdesign.com
Ok – the last ironic part here – she does not even do what I do – she does illustration and design. We do web development and SEO – it probably would have been much more beneficial for her to reach out to me personally and discuss the situation – who knows, we could have possible become allies and worked together.
I don’t care that our logo’s both have a similar name – we are different brands with different clients. Even if my logo was trademarked – I would have never thought to do what was done to me. They are not even alike.
So – if we look at the whole scenario – who is violating who?
Other than me NOT registering my trademark – “I have first right use anyway” – I know I have a clear case to win back my Facebook page.
But honestly, I do not have desire to even deal with the hoops that I would have to jump through to get that 5% reach I was getting. We are a small agency – me and a few contractors, I do not have the means to take legal action to fight this – and have decided to take the bigger road – one that I think will even bring my business more growth in the future.
TURNING LEMONS INTO LEMONADE
Believe me – I am a fighter. But honestly, this person may have done me a big favor – so thank you Lisa for accusing me of violating your trademark!
When I launched my little agency I was primarily focused on design – so that is why the domain is what it is. But my legally registered business name with the state is 2 Dogs Media, LLC – it was registered back in 2009. I never used it because years ago it did not make sense – but now, it does.
Because we do so much more than design now like digital marketing and SEO Services – it is time to do a little re-brand and use the name that it was originally given – going forward we will be branded as 2Dogs Media – still your best friend on the web! This has been something we have been considering for a while, so this was the push we needed to make it happen.
Oh – and the logo, yes I will be applying for a trademark tomorrow first thing!
Lessons To Take Away From This Story
- TRADEMARK your brand! Your logo, your tagline whatever you want protected – do it NOW!
- Don’t put all your dog bones in the Facebook bowl – this could happen to you too. Do a search, it has happened to many and getting your page back is not always guaranteed.
- Keep track of everything you do in your business – website launches, logo launches etc — first use offers some protection and may help (not legal advice – just what I have received as feedback from my situation from my friendly legal gurus!!!!!)
- Make your WEBSITE your primary marketing tool – social media will not alway be here — beg if you have to but get those emails and rss subscribers…..keep your content on YOUR WEBSITE!
- Search the web – make sure your brand is being protected and not being used by others….
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Am I out of line for writing this? Does she have a case? Should Facebook reinstate my page? Do our logos look alike?