Not yet Cease & Desist: Am I violating Trademark?

I received an email this afternoon that someone believes I’m violating his trademark on “Pixel Dust Productions” by using “Pixel Dust Industries.”

That may be, though I prefer to not just take the word of a stranger. I started using PDI in 1998 when I became a sole proprietor software developer. I’d really rather not have to retool everything, but of course will respect trademark law if need be.

Have any of you been the subject of a similar notice? If you have any tips, I’d be delighted to hear them. For now I’m off to bone up on trademark law.

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7 thoughts on “Not yet Cease & Desist: Am I violating Trademark?

  1. Hi, Christof-

    Thank you! Yes, I spent rather a lot of time on the US Patent and Trademark site today. Very interesting. I *think* this case is an earlier one the people contacting me had filed against them. Though it is somewhat difficult to tell. It’s nice of you to take an interest. This is all rather new for me.

  2. I had a similar problem a couple of years ago. Do the research, of course, but if this guys seems serious about his complaint then you should hire a lawyer (or just change your name). I decided it was easier for me to change my name than fight the legal battle b/c I was just starting my company and didn’t have much invested in the name yet. For you it will likely be different. My experience was that if he has any evidence that he was using the name to conduct business before you have evidence of using it, then he can cause you a lot of trouble. If you have a good lawyer he may be able to perform legal magic, but it will probably be expensive (legal magic always is).

  3. Thanks for your comments, Laura. I respect trademark and copyright, so am certainly willing to hear what the gentleman has to say. I replied to his email asking for additional information from him regarding the matter, but I haven’t heard back. I take what you’ve said to heart.

  4. Not going to research this a ton, but wouldn’t trademark infringement require that you be in the same industry and that you are using an ‘identical or similarly confusing’ copy of their trademark? To me, Pixel Dust Industries and Pixel Dust Productions sound vastly different and you should be fine. I’m not a lawyer so don’t take my word for it. Make him force you. They don’t need the law on their side if they simply email you and you oblige as quickly as possible.

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