Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Don't Mess With Knitters!

I've not mentioned this yet here, but suffice to say, as the listmama for the Downtown Columbus Stitch n' Bitch group, this whole Sew Fast Sew Easy trademark debacle peeves me, to say the least.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a stickler for trademark and copyright issues. I know what it's like to have my stuff stolen. I had a poem published in a wine magazine a few years ago and later found out there was a restaraunt in Connecticut reprinting it on the inside of their wine menus. Didn't make me too happy to be ripped off like that.

But I don't think that SFSE has a leg to stand on when it comes to policing the use of the phrase "Stitch n' Bitch" when they have trademarked the phrase "Stitch & Bitch Cafe." Not the same thing there.

But I am not a lawyer, so I will leave the pontification on such things to those who do know more. In the meantime though, I'll direct you to the newly launched boycott site, which is already serving as a clearinghouse of legitimate information and has links to fundraising, etc. So fight the rumors and go give them a little looksee:

Also, if you're interested in reading more, The Girl From Auntie breaks the whole situation down quite well.


Blogger dirtgirl said...

i can't weigh in on the legal issues either, but just wanted to mention that i once took a class at Sew Fast Sew Evil in NYC It was a bizarre experience. The instructor was a crazy, mean old lady who would YELL at us for lateness, ringing cell phones, or gum-chewing. Mind you, this was a recreational class in the evenings that we paid to take. My classmates and I were appalled, but basically laughed it off. I never took another class there.

so i guess i'm saying if anyone deserves to use the word "bitch," it's them.

1:10 PM  
Blogger jenifleur said...

I am especially incensed that they have chosen to harass fellow crafters who are using a phrase which they have NOT trademarked on non profit yahoo sites. Nobody is attempting to divert business from them (and their business seems to be conducted under the SF/SE name, whereas Stitch & Bitch Cafe is a guestbook.) and nobody is trying to make money off something they invented. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I hope they go bankrupt.

6:51 PM  
Blogger laughingrat said...

Speaking of which, have you trademarked the Witty Knits name? The thought occurred to me when I saw your sidebar, is all.

7:24 PM  
Blogger just_me_2 said...

Ironically, I am a former trademark attorney that now owns a yarn shop. I won't really comment on the merits here since I haven't read everything. I will, however, thoroughly enjoy watching this as it develops.

From the small bit that I scanned, I could actually see both sides to some extent. I could also see a side not yet represented. It is possible that someone could intervene at the USPTO by filing a claim that the term Stitch N Bitch is too descriptive and/or generic to function as a trademark. It was my understanding that the term has been around since at least the 50s. How many of you know of local groups and local yarn or craft stores that have late nights at the shop they call Stitch 'N Bitch or some variant thereof? I know that one in my town has used that term since before 1998 at least.

Can you tell that I just might miss my old job a little? :-)

10:59 PM  
Blogger wittyknits said...

Dirtgirl--You aren't the first one I've heard that from. Seems they have an .... odd business model?

Jenifleur -- Precisely!

'Rat -- not yet. Am working on it this year likely. There is an expired trademark from the 70s with a really freaky 70s logo in the US trademark database.

Sheila-- That third option actually is going on right now. If you check out the trademark database, Deb Stoller has filed a claim that SFSE's trademark should be null and void for just that reason. I kind of wish I'd gone to law school myself--I find this fascinating!

1:19 AM  
Blogger The Fluffy Ewe said...

This whole issue seems a lil crazy to me. I have read a few items on the topic and still think these SFSE people don't have a leg to stand on. I know that the Yahoo group that I belong to also got the Yahoo notice of infringement. We have no idea why. I am interested to see how it all washes out. I'm with Jenifleur on this one, I hope they go bankrupt!

11:30 AM  

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