A catch phrase will go here soon.

Dealing with Dummies, For Dummies***

2/8/2006

As you can imagine I’ve gotten a lot of legal letters over the past 10 years, but this one might take the cake.

It turns out the dummies at Wiley don’t want bloggers using “For Dummies” in their blog post titles–and they are searching the blogosphere looking for folks putting that in the title! One of our blogs, TVSquad, used “For Dummies” in a title recently and I had the email exchange below. Now, there is a long standing tradition of publications using slogans and trademarks in headlines (think of all the “Empire Stikes Back” headlines about Microsoft in tech magazines). That is *not* a trademark violation and it does *not* require trademark attribution–it’s a news headline. You are allowed to use a slogan or trademark from Coca-Cola or Pepsi in a headline as well. I hate these chilling effects bozos… get a clue dudes!

What next?!?!? Perhaps we should monitor chat rooms, message boards, and Skype conversations for people using “For Dummies,” and when they do we can force them to use the “FOR DUMMIES® is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc.”

*** FOR DUMMIES® is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc.

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Dear Mr. Calacanis,

No, I’m not kidding, and yes I realize it is a blog post. To clarify, we’re not saying you can’t use the FOR DUMMIES trademark in a headline. We’re
asking that if you do use the FOR DUMMIES trademark in a headline or elsewhere in a posting that you include the attribution language as
outlined in my previous email.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Robbins
Trademark Coordinator
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
111 River Street/Mail Stop: 3-05
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774

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From: Jason
To: KRobbins
Re: Use of FOR DUMMIES (r) on tvsquad.com

you’re kidding right? you understand this ia blog post… not a book or website right?

i think we can use for dummies in a blog post title… really.

best j

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On 2/3/06, KRobbins wrote:

February 3, 2006
VIA EMAIL:

Jason McCabe Calacanis
CEO
Weblogs, Inc.
2200 Colorado Avenue, Suite 729
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Re: Use of FOR DUMMIES® on tvsquad.com
“Super Bowl guide for dummies”

Dear Mr. Calacanis:

Wiley Publishing, Inc. (“Wiley”), publisher of the well-known and well-regarded FOR DUMMIES® series of reference books and products, has
recently become aware of tvsquad.com’s use of the FOR DUMMIES® trademark in a headline, “Super Bowl guide for dummies,” posted by Anna Johns at
http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/02/03/super-bowl-guide-for-dummies/ on February 3, 2006.

As you may know, Wiley has over 100 trademark applications and registrations in the United States and other countries for the FOR DUMMIES® trademark, including the FOR DUMMIES® black and yellow trade dress, and many Dummies formatives. The FOR DUMMIES® mark appears not only in Wiley’s books and magazines, but also on trade and consumer advertising, catalogs, t-shirts, DVDs, points-of-sale displays, websites and other promotional and licensed materials distributed world wide. The FOR DUMMIES® series has been in existence since 1991 and has enjoyed tremendous success.

Due to the significant efforts undertaken by Wiley to promote and protect its trademarks, and because of the potential for confusion or dilution regarding the FOR DUMMIES® mark in the manner tvsquad.com has used Wiley’s trademark, Wiley requests that tvsquad.com and all other blogs in the Weblogs, Inc. network include the following attribution language at the end of any postings that may refer to the FOR DUMMIES® brand, and that you provide Wiley with written assurance of the same.

Attribution Language: FOR DUMMIES® is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and your respect for our trademark rights.

Sincerely,
/s/Kathleen Robbins
Kathleen Robbins
Trademark Coordinator
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
111 River Street/Mail Stop: 3-05
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774

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Hello, my name is Jason. Welcome to my blog on the interwebs. You can reach me on twitter @jason and by email at jason@inside.com. My Skype is jasoncalacanis, and my mobile phone is 310-456-4900.

I only pick up numbers I recognize, and in terms of emailing me, the best strategy is to write short, blunt and to the point requests. I can quickly respond to short messages, and many times I simply don't have the time to read five page pitches. In terms of taking meetings, I only do that after reviewing an actual product (not a business plan). So, the best time to ping me is when you have mockups or an alpha site. I don't read business plans, and I've never written one.

Other twitter accounts you can follow: Inside.com, Ticker, This Week in Startups and LAUNCH Festival

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