The Trademark Debate Continues: A Battle Between Two Organizations
I know technically this blog is violating trademark law, but for this particular trademark I am having second thoughts. The gal that is pursuing this is also giving me some time to make the change, which I am very thankful for. While I have more time to make the changes I've decided to think about it some more.
The letter from her attorney states, "Your mark is identical to our client's HEALTHY MOMS mark and the domain name thehealthymoms.net is confusingly similar (her domain is healthymomsfitness.com) thereto, and your informational services are competitive with or closely related to our client's services. For these and other reasons, it is our client's position that Internet users viewing your HEALTHY MOMS website at thehealthymoms.net are likely to believe mistakenly that the site derives from our client, is affiliated with her, or enjoys her endorsement or sponsorship, all in violation of the trademark and unfair competition laws."
Okay, so I run a health site for moms. I feature content on a variety of topics from health, nutrition, pregnancy, fashion, mental/emotional health and fitness. I also have expert writers in all of these areas so I can make sure my content is high quality. I also opened an online health and wellness store where I sell natural health products and affordable fitness equipment.
From the information provided on her website all she does is help pregnant and post natal mothers stay fit and healthy. Fitness is the main theme of her company and website. My website serves mothers of all ages from young mothers all the way to grandmothers. The main reason why I started it was to do my part in preventing childhood obesity. Is there a connection between the two? Are we that similar? I really don't think so. Okay so that is my first point.
Point number two, Internet search. If you do an Internet search on the term "Healthy Moms" this blog is number one and directly below it is her website. Sounds pretty fishy, doesn't it? I think that is how she found me. Also, there are 5,830,000 other websites under that search term. I will highlight some of them that appear toward the top of the search list.
This is a typical mom blog. She writes about her journey to stay fit and healthy for her kids. The site is simple and she uses a free blogger template that I recognize. She doesn't have a lot of comments which leads me to believe that this is a very personal site for her. Is she violating the trademark?
This is a blog which is a part of Working Mother Magazine. The content is very similar to mine. Different authors write on a variety of topics including, fitness, nutrition, friendships and allergies. Moms of all ages can relate to the content provided on this site. I think it is more competitive to my website than Healthy Moms Fitness. What do you think? Is Working Mother Magazine violating her trademark?
Okay, I suppose you are thinking, "Now wait a minute, how could they be violating her trademark?" I know the title is different but it has the same meaning. Healthy Mothers is very similar to Healthy Moms. And, when you type in "Healthy Moms" in Google this site is ranked number six on page three, which is pretty high in my opinion. Their website states, "As a community based organization, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of North Florida main goal is to promote healthy pregnancies by providing prenatal education, family support services and positive advocacy of maternal and child issues. This website provides details on our valuable services for the expectant families, from educational classes and programs as well as well as other community resources that will benefit you. Please take a look at the available resources and contact us if we can be of assistance or if you would like to volunteer your time or support." This I believe is the closest to healthymomsfitness. Also, they have their own registered trademark. How can two companies have a very similar registered trademark? Maybe I need to do more research on trademark law.
This website is about a blog and health service out of Madison, WI (where I am from). It is actually on their ABC news affiliate website. I think it is a community service program provided by the television station. Above is just a title of one of their articles. The complete series of articles are titled "Healthy Moms." Again their messages are very similar to mine. The article series covers a variety of topics from fitness, to eating right, parenting and making healthy lifestyle changes. Is WKOW out of Madison, WI violating her trademark?
This is part of the federal government program, Let's Move. If I am correct, government programs are exempt from trademark law. If an attorney is reading this and I am wrong, feel free to correct me. I think Let's Move was started by the first lady, Michelle Obama in her efforts to promote health and wellness and end childhood obesity. The first lady can't possibly be violating trademark law, can she?
This is another government program out of Humbolt County, California. They even have a logo. If you look closely on the bottom of their logo the artist dated it '01. This program is a drug and alcohol program for moms. Because their logo has "Healthy Moms" directly on it does that mean that the Healthy Moms Fitness company endorses the program? What do you think? Is Humbolt County violating her trademark? Or are they exempt because it is a government program?
This is another mom blog. She writes about eating healthy. It looks like the site is fairly new because she doesn't have a lot of comments. But I love her content! Is this mom blogger also violating trademark laws?
This is a community outreach program for pregnant mothers. Their website states, "Healthy Moms & Babes is an outreach ministry whose mission is to increase infant survival as well as foster the health of women, children and families." But because it is a .org site does that mean that they are also exempt from trademark laws? If I changed my website to .org would I also be exempt? What do you think?
This is another mom blog. Again, it is very similar to mine. She covers topics on health, fitness, pregnancy, product reviews and giveaways. Her blog looks like it is well established and she has over 200 followers on Facebook. Is this mom blogger also violating trademark laws? What do you think?
I know of other sites out there too, there is Healthy Wealthy Moms (mom blog), and Happy Healthy Moms on ning.
If I do have to make these changes I already have a domain name purchased from Go Daddy.com. I also have a new title picked out for my website, but I really do not want to do all of this.
My point is this; if she really wants to defend her trademark is she going to spend the time and money to go after all of these companies, bloggers and organizations too or am I just being targeted because I am ranked number one in Google, have a large following on this blog and in my social networks and this is threatening her? What do you think? Do you think it was wise of her to trademark the term "Healthy Moms?" Should she have trademarked "Healthy Moms Fitness" instead? Should I take the time to make major changes to a website and community that is well established or just skip it and face the consequences? I worked hard for three years to get where I am now. While I have the time I am going to think hard about this decision.
I am looking forward to reading your comments on this topic.
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