Cease And Desist

Today I received an email from Joel Lesser at Creative NetVentures, Inc, containing a Cease and Desist Notice from LinksManager.com, referring to my B2 Link Manager. The email says

“it has come to our attention that your unauthorized use of the trademarked name LINK MANAGER on your site (http://zed1.com/b2links/) is too similar to our trademarked name LINKSMANAGER”

The email provides a link to the US Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval service. Wherein you can find details of their registered trademark which is LINKSMANAGER. A search on the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) turns up Asyst Technologies, Inc. who own the trademarked name LINK MANAGER, described as “Computer hardware, namely, serial communications port multiplexes”.
Now my little B2 add-on describes itself as “B2 Link Manager” six times on the B2 Link Manager page which Joel references. There are also eight buttons on the page which very specifically describe it as “B2 Link Manager”, and in the provided HTML I use both Title and Alt tags with the text “B2 Link Manager”.
The email also says

“Because your product manages data in a similar way to how LinksManager manages data”

Well lets just look at that for a minute: From their home page we get:

LinksManager Features
 * No software to download or install
 * Fast, easy setup, or get a free setup from LinksManager support
 * Import your current links pages - no retyping or recoding necessary
 * Full cosmetic control to seamlessly blend your links pages with
   the rest of your website
 * Quickly add, edit, and delete links from your website - no coding or
   FTP necessary
 * Pages can live on our server, or your server
 * Automated Top Link Lists showcase your most popular links 
 * Automated email notifications for every step in the link exchange
   process
 * Reciprocal link checker searches the net to verify that your link
   or banner exists on all websites listed on your links pages
 * Dead link checker identifies and flags dead links listed on your
   links pages
 * Auto link rotator rotates your links nightly to insure equal coverage
   for all of the links on your site
 * Highlight new links with special graphic identifiers
 * Special automation features use LinkPartners.com to find link swap
   partners fast and easy
 * And much more!  Click here for a full feature list 

None of these apply to B2 Link Manager!
If we look at their code of ethics page which describes the “Linksmanager concept” thus:

LinksManager was designed to automate the following tasks:  
 * Manage link categories, including add, modify, and delete
 * Manage links, including add, modify, and delete
 * Rotate links pages alphabetically
 * Check for dead links
 * Check for link reciprocation on other websites
 * Send courtesy emails between webmasters swapping links
 * Search links
 * Import links site name, URL, and description only (LinksManager
   does not import email addresses)
 * Upload links pages automatically the account owner's server
 * Perform visual cosmetic changes to the account owner's links pages
 * Create Top Links Lists to display the most popular links 

Now, B2 Link Manager can do the first two; but none of the others. So I’m a little puzzled as to how “your product manages data in a similar way to how LinksManager manages data”.
Maybe Joel has mistaken me for one of these people.

4 thoughts on “Cease And Desist

  1. Blah, blah, blah. Standard “Cease and Desist” tactics. You handled it correctly, responding promptly and politely. One problem with trademarks is that companies *must* defend them in this manner, or risk losing them.

    Likely events at this point:

    1) You’ll never hear from them again, and you can just keep calling your add-on “b2 link manager”.

    2) They will continue to insist that you stop infringing. In which case, you’re probably best off to just make up a new name for your add-on.

    There is, of course, the extremely unlikely 3rd option, in which they say “Oh, you’re right, it’s not similar enough to worry about. So sorry about the inconvenience.” But I wouldn’t count on seeing that one. 🙂

    Of course, you could always consult an attorney to get advice about it. But since you don’t have money tied up in the name “b2 link manager”, I don’t imagine it would be worth the hassle.

  2. Dougal,
    Thanks for your comments. You are right about me having nothing invested in the name “b2 link manager”, I’ve already changed it to “B2Links”.
    After over a week of net-related woes, I couldn’t be bothered with this hassle.

    Mike

  3. Pingback: cease and desist - Siobhan McKeown

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