What’s in a name?

We began offering crocheted, miniature, fully-jointed animals to collectors over two decades ago.  We decided that Thread Bears® was a name that suited our business.  It was not a term that any artist used at that time to primarily refer to the products that they made.  The common terms bear and doll artists used to describe their products are: crocheted, miniature, bear, animal, doll, made of thread, made of yarn, etc.
Our federally owned trademark, Thread Bears® (Reg. No. 2146208) has been the subject of many discussions through the years. We acquired the much-earned trademark after a long trial process and attempts of trademark cancellation by competitors.  Artists began using Thread Bears® to describe their products, even if the product they made wasn’t a bear!  What they didn’t realize is that in doing this, they ultimately hurt the chances of some prospects finding their product.  If the artist had titled the item as a “bear”, and the possible customer was searching for “dolls,” they would have never seen the item.
The primary goal for the trademark abusers was to ultimately have our trademark deemed as a generic term.  However, since it was not a term that was primarily used to describe these products, it was decided by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that our federally registered trademark was NOT generic, and that any person (who made items similar to ours) was in violation of Trademark Law.  The decision of the Board can be found here:
http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92046025&pty=CAN&eno=25
The only people/businesses who can use the term Thread Bears, other than us, is persons who DO NOT make soft sculpted, jointed, crocheted, knitted, felted, sewn bears, dolls, or animals of textiles–such as yarn, thread, fabric, etc.
Any person using our trademark to describe their items similar to ours will be held accountable, since that would be considered as offering counterfeit items–if it is not a Thread Bear®, do not call it one.  Any website featuring our trademark in connection to an item that was not made by us will be removed.  If the person in violation does not make the necessary adjustments, further action will be taken.  This further action could also consist of a financial obligation on part of the violator.
We do not take these measures to hinder any of our competitors.  We do this to protect what we earned–what we have created and fought to keep.

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7 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. If anyone is actually reading this or cares about this topic…it is worth reading the disclaimers in the “Thread Teds by Thread Bears” case. In that case the owners of the “Thread Bears” trademark have disclaimed the term 'thread bears' meaning, as I understand it, that they do not and can not claim exclusive rights to that term. In addition to this disclaimer their registered trademark “Thread Bears” is deemed 2(F) meaning, as I understand it, the words are not inherently distinctive. So, in my opinion, any measures they take to prevent people using the words thread bear or even thread bears descriptively would not, in my opinion, be legal. They have sworn to disclaim this term and should do so. This is my opinion. However, no one else but the owners of this blog have the right to represent themselves as the “Thread Bears” company.
    Another note..in the side panel of this blog their is an R beside the “Thread Teds by Thread Bears” trademark…deeming it as registered. It is not…it is still in litigation.
    Here is the link to the disclaimers.
    http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4005:6qiv64.2.1
    blogspot.com/2011/10/whats-in-name.html?showComment=1320951411096#c225007337253896235

  2. This response is for those who care to know the facts/truth about Thread Bears®. The accurate disclaimer on our registered trademark “Thread Bears®” can be found here… http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=75245684

    Notice the disclaimer is the word.. “bears'' listed just above the 2(F)… which DeBBie notices yet sends you to a different TM application.

    The actual whole 2(f) rule states that a phrase can't be trademarked unless it is inherently distinctive or unless there is proof of an acquired distinctiveness to an examining attorney. This is the simplest way we can explain the 2(f) rule: “Inherently distinctive” is a word or phrase that is so completely different from the products offered, and none of the words in the phrase are typically used to describe these products, for example: Kelloggs®. No other company used that name to describe features of their cereal. “Acquired distinctiveness” is when each word of the phrase, separately, could possibly be used to describe features of the products offered–for example made of thread, crocheted bears; however, when those words are put together, it isn't a phrase that the general public primarily uses to refer to these types of products. A person is not considered the 'general public' when they have been coached or encouraged by DeBBie, Berta, or Bobbie to use our trademark with this type of goods. So, when the argument of 2(f) comes up, we are covered under the 2(f) rule. Again, here is the link (Page 10)for the decision of the Thread Bears® registration that states that we had proved an acquired distinctiveness, and therefor, could register the phrase. http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92046025&pty=CAN&eno=25

    The TM application DeBBie is referring to does disclaim the terms, “thread teds” and “thread bears”. What DeBBie doesn't understand is this doesn't invalidate the mark Thread Bears® because it is already registered. The full, clear description for trademark disclaimers can be found on our “Legal Made Layman's” blog entry.

  3. “However, the previously attached evidence demonstrated that the term “THREAD BEARS” has become the recognized and commonly used name for small, crocheted, sewn, or felted bears, dolls, and animals. (See evidence attached to Letter of Protest). In this case, applicant’s goods are known as “THREAD BEARS” in the collectable bear industry. As such, the combination of words is generic and the term “THREAD BEARS” must be disclaimed.”

    http://tdr.uspto.gov/jsp/DocumentViewPage.jsp?78553324/OOA20070214133711/Offc%20Action%20Outgoing/41/14-Feb-2007/sn/false#p=1

    This is the ruling of the trademark office. It is something that you agreed to. It does not take away your trademark Thread Bears but does rule the term is generic.

    And I ask again to be specific if you are going to accuse me of something. I have no knowledge of using your trademark or encouraging it's use. I will excuse myself for emails sent in private at the beginning of this mess before I knew what your agenda was.

  4. What you don't seem to understand is that we own the rights to Thread Bears®. This link you have included is NOT the link to the final decision. It is a link to an OPINION of an examining attorney from 2007–it is not any judgment that we agreed to. The final decision was made, by the Board, that we won the right to the term in 2008 (AGAIN, the link to the final decision is in our previous comment). The judge even went to the extent to state that the decision is made by the Board, that they do not adopt the conclusions made by any Examining Attorney. It is the other way around. The Attorney merely presents information. The Board makes the decision. The Board found it not to be a generic term. That is why it is still registered.

    You want specifics? You have exposed your intentions through these continuous comments you've posted on our blog. You can see that we own the trademark Thread Bears®, yet you claim it's generic. You attempt to pursuade any readers to believe that it is generic–so it can be freely used by you and other abusers. Not only are you attempting to harrass us on our own blog, you have misinformation posted all over the internet. You are doing this because you are a sore loser, and you don't want to accept the truth. You, as well as anyone involved, know that we won the rights to it. Plain and simple–if you make items that resemble ours in any way, shape, or form–DO NOT USE OUR TRADEMARK.

    This blog is to give the readers the facts about Trademark Law, in reference to Thread Bears®. This is not an opportunity for abusers to try to convince us that we don't have rights to our Federally Registered Trademark.

  5. The link I included is to the “Thread Teds by Thread Bears” application, not the judgement in the “Thread Bears” cancellation attempt.

    In your application for “Thread Teds by Thread Bears” you agreed to the disclaimer in order to go forward with this application.

    As I have stated before I disagree with the way you have gone about this and what you are still trying to do and that is why I am posting here, my personal objections.

    If I am posting “all over the web” encouraging people to use your mark, why can you not produce one link?

    Even in my blog regarding this issue threadbears.blogspot.com I do not encourage the use of this mark, even descriptively.

    I DO believe that it is generic and that people should be free to use it descriptively. But I do not encourage it's use because I do not trust that you will behave ethically if they do.

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