I had read about the effort by Ford to protect their trademarks more than a year ago. At the time I was glad I had chosen “triplewhitefox.com” as my domain name. Well, today I received some very bad news from CafePress.com which is the site that I have been using here for the Shop:
In accordance with our Intellectual Property Rights Policy, Gregory D. Phillips on behalf of Ford Motor Company provided us with a notice stating that your use of Fordâ€™s trademarks, or any confusingly similar variations thereof including its related and subsidiary entities, Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar and Mercury infringes upon their intellectual property rights (trademark/trade dress/copyright).
I had thought I was pretty careful in respecting those. But, I have used “Mustang” on some items as well as in descriptions and search keywords and also “Ford”; but only in descriptions and keywords and not on actual items. They pretty much disabled every image that I have uploaded except my foxes.
So far I have not determined the pattern used against my images to identify them as violations. I feel that I need to understand this before I can resume the Shop. My best guess is that it was my use of “Ford” in descriptions that attracted their attention. If you search on “Mustang” on cafepress you will still get tons of hits that are no less in violation than my stuff was. This is very different from the results you get when you search on “Ford”. But, it seems obvious that it’s only a matter of time before they crack down on the use of “Mustang”.
Some of the images flagged were not even being used on merchandise and not visible to the outside world (or so I thought). These were the images for the signs I had printed for Carlisle and those are not visible on my public shop and do not contain any description or keywords. I don’t know how they were identified but it makes be very nervous about what I can and cannot use and what sort of depths they are going to in order to find violators.
Not knowing exactly why each image was flagged is what makes me nervous. Is it the content, the description, the usage, what? I have thought about contacting Gregory Phillips and even started to craft an email to him. But, I decided that, by definition, he will have a very black and white view of this as will Cafepress.com. I can probably predict the answer to any question I would ask — no, you cannot do that.
For now, I am going to lay low and rethink my approach on the items I offer for sale. And, I have to keep telling myself “I am not going to be negative about this.”