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What would you do?

Tint Wife

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Hi All

I am after your opinions. I own a reasonably successful small tint shop and I have recieved the first notice of an impending lawsuit from an industry competitor. The basis of this is the use of a generic word that refers to 'darkness'. Now I have to decide whether I'm going to roll over and let this go away or stand up and fight them. My legal advice is that I have a better than average chance of winning but this will cost. If it were just me I would probably fight but I employ 3 tinters.

Just to complicate this 1. The complainant is one of those manufacturer-distributers who set up their own franchises to compete with those they try to sell film to. They have just opened one around the corner from me which has been really good for my business. Bottom line, when it comes to legal fees, they have more money than me!

2. I am not an active body within my business these days, I do the books, hire and fire, and check in with my trade accounts occasionally but otherwise my tinters run things, as I now rep for another manufacturer, so it could be a personal attack.

I have 3 days to decide which way I go. What would you do in my shoes?

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Welcome from Oregon! Tough question. My thoughts have always been never to get into a legal fight I don’t believe in. These are hard times for most right now so if you don’t have just real strong feelings about this I would save my money and get even later :bmw. A few years back 3M threatened to sue me but from what I understand they do that a lot. Call um up and ask to tour their factory where auto film is made. :dunno Better yet don’t get even get ahead :lol2:lol2

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sounds like a crazy thing. I know FTI had the Midnight film line before....and a google search pulls a bunch of businesses with Midnight in the name.....

I don't see how they can trademark a WORD but only a specific use of a word.....

Now let me relate a story of big business being STUPID about names.....

In a town in Illinois there is a "Burger King" restaurant! Now this place is not the national chain place but a mom and pop burger joint. I first saw it and asked how the got away with the name. I was told that Burger King franchise found out about this place and came after them for infringement. Turns out that the mom and pop joint had been in business longer and owned the name in one way or another.....NOW Burger King franchise pays the mom and pop joint money for using the name!

So, I say if you think you have a chance then kick the big business in the teeth, but of course consult a lawyer....

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Guest tintnmoreok

The essential question you need to ask yourself is: "How critical is this term to my business?" Take the emotion completely out of it. If it truly is not that critical, let them have it. Otherwise, if you feel this is a true threat to your business then by all means fight them with everything you've got.

A few years ago the city I'm located in decided to close the street adjacent to my building. This would have closed me down. So, I spent scads of money to fight them and after over a year through the court system I won the right to keep my street open.

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I would let it go! Only my opinion though!

It will take you away from your work and also isn't good for CASH FLOW which is so inportant in a small business. Doesnt sounds like its that important to you although maybe it is?... Change the name for your benefit and kickstart a new idea of marketing it..

Good luck with that one....

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Thanks Guys!

flat rock stan- I share your sentiments! I have been to court with them before, 13yrs ago I won that one but it was a long and tiresome process.

lildetails- I have done the google thing also, same result..... I didn't think you could trademark a word either...... I have had similar advice to your Burger King, but this still costs and could jepardise my ability to keep my boys employed, I do like the thought of being the David to their Goliath though.

tintnmoreok- Not critical at all. I just don't like 'bully boy' tactics.

irishtinter- You have basically nailed it! I owe my boys job security for their loyalty so it's easy to roll over.

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