A couple weeks ago I received a message on Etsy explaining that I was infringing on a trademark by using the name “Fairy Dust” in two of my listings. I’ve been using the name for 10 years as have thousands of other crafters and sellers.
This is the message I received…
“I have been hired by Brookelynne Designs to review Etsy for infringement on their various trademark protections for the use of the words “fairy dust.” You have infringing items in your store. Prior to filing a formal report, we have chosen to provide you the opportunity to cure the infringement voluntarily.
This would mean removal of the words “fairy dust” or like sounding words such as “fairie dust,” from tags, titles and names of your items. Specifically, jewelry, pendants or pouches containing glitter and decorative glitter.
If you wish to verify our trademarks, protecting the use of “fairy dust,” or like sounding words, in any fashion by you for the following items, you may verify them at the USPTO site:
Reg. No. 3168645: Bracelets, charms, clocks, jewelry, jewelry watches, watches, wrist watches
Reg. No. 3168649: Decorative glitter
Reg No. 3574068: Toys, novelty snow globes, plastic toy figurines, plush toys
Reg. No. 1706812: Novelty pouch and/or pendant containing glitter
We do not believe your infringement has been intentional and are therefore hopeful that you will voluntarily remove the words “fairy dust” or like sounding terms from your listings, titles and tags. Basically, if you search your own listing for these words, there should be zero results.
If you would be kind enough to advise that you have done this to end the infringement, and I can verify this in your store, no formal infringement report will be made. Should you not contact me within the next three days to advise of your willingness to voluntarily cure your infringement, and actually have cured the infringement by that time, I will have to file a formal report. Etsy then simply shuts down your listing.
Our goal is not to hurt your business by shutting down listings, but to protect our trademarks from further infringement. Your cooperation would certainly be appreciated. I will add that I am not able to tell you what phrases you may use to evade the trademark, just that you may not use the words as set forth below. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Diana Cunningham “
I assumed that this could not be the case so I decided to see if Etsy would indeed remove my listings and today they did. It was only one design and it was only two listings so the impact for myself is very small. But the fact that this is legal, and even possible is deeply disturbing to me.
Is it fair that one company can own a common phrase and prevent anyone else from using it? The purpose of a trademark should be to protect creative property, not to help someone create a monopoly and mow over small sellers and crafters that stand in their way. Maybe a large company could challenge this trademark, but of course crafters on Etsy don’t have the resources to do that. Should everyone who makes something have to have thousands of dollars for a lawyer and legal fees?
How sad that hundreds of artists and crafters can’t use this term to describe items that are unique and made by hand, items that truly are magic and worthy of the name. All so someone can make more money on selling more soulless mass produced items. The planet is getting so cluttered with them already, so they must be getting more creative.
Is happiness found in laws and paperwork? Shouldn’t we just be free to create and make the world a better place?