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Old 12-22-2005, 11:06 AM   #1
komodo
 
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Thumbs down BMW Throwing a Hissy Fit About United Bimmer

Wow, I know we started this website without the text "B*W" in the it because that is crossing the line for copyright infringement, however supportive of the corporation as it is. Anyway, check out this email I just got. It's legit, I traced the origin back to bmwna.com.

Quote:
From: Renate.Kulnik@bmwna.com <Renate.Kulnik@bmwna.com>
To: hmaugans@gmail.com
Date: Dec 22, 2005 10:50 AM
Subject: Trademark Infringement

Dear Sir or Madam:



Your unauthorized use of the BMW trademark came to our attention when we saw an advertisement for your business on the Internet in which the BMW Roundel logo is prominently displayed on every page. A sample copy of the infringements is attached.



The BMW logo is a trademark owned by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG ("BMW AG") and is federally registered. BMW AG maintains the sole and exclusive right to use it. You have not been licensed to use BMW’s trademarks and are thus infringing BMW AG's trademark rights.



Accordingly, we hereby request that you sign this notice acknowledging that you will take immediate steps to cease this and any other unauthorized use of the BMW trademarks. We ask that you return this signed notice to us no later than 20 days from the date of this letter.



For your information and future reference I attach BMW NA’s Fair Use Rules. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.



Sincerely,

Renate Kulnik
Legal Assistant
BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC
300 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-3771
Phone: 201-307-3542
Fax: 201-307-9286
e-mail: renate.kulnik@bmwna.com

I have read the above and acknowledge that I will cease and desist all uses of the BMW trademarks and logos.



Signed ______________________ Dated__________________



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2 attachments — Download all attachments
Fair Use LLC.doc
45K View as HTML Download
SFX4AC.PDF
218K View as HTML Download
And here is a screenshot they attached showing where we were legally threatening.



I guess the giant company BMW is threatened by a 16x16 pixel image that you can't even read the text "BMW" on, and a banner from a sponsor that runs a completely different site.

Anyway, I removed the top part, and I'm about to email him back about the sponsor banner.

And finally, since you guys won't be seeing it "on every page" anymore, here's a tribute to the roundel, so you won't forget what it looks like. (and to see if that BMW guy signed up for our forums, haha)



(none of the images are hosted on our servers, they're all linking to other sites)

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Old 12-22-2005, 11:10 AM   #2
german speed demon

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That's a crock of shit, Harry, pardon my language. I agree with you. This is a little out of line for BMW. Perhaps you should send an email to the guy the banner belongs o and see if he's gotten the same, or similar email.

Dave
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:18 AM   #3
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That is just sad
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:24 AM   #4
komodo
 
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My mostly-diplomatic, however nonchalant reply:

Quote:
From: Harry Maugans <hmaugans@gmail.com> Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: "Renate.Kulnik@bmwna.com" <Renate.Kulnik@bmwna.com>
Date: Dec 22, 2005 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: Trademark Infringement


Renate Kulnik,

I have removed the 16x16 pixel image from the top of each page (on which the text "BMW" is not readable at all). I fail to see how a community website actively supporting the BMW corporation, and even taking measures from the ground up (such as naming the website with "bimmer") to protect your copyright interests, threatens your legal status. We've been very careful not to stop over the line and I don't believe that small image does since it is not large enough to clearly be identified as your trademark.

And on the other end, the banner is an advertising banner from our sponsor. It does not represent our website in any way, and is controlled directly by the company who owns it, so it would be best for you to contact them directly and ask them to remove it from our site (they have access to login and upload/modify their banner).

Frankly I'm a bit disappointed in BMW acting in such a rash manner for such a minor, or non-existent infraction. Even more so acting this way towards a community that is actively supportive. For example a few months ago we hosted an event in which around 100 BMW drivers came out to see each other's cars, and a local dealership even started sending test drivers down to see us, and show what a great community BMW has.

Regards,

--
-Harry Maugans
404-213-8616
Penguin Studios, Inc.
www.penguinstudios.com
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:27 AM   #5
german speed demon

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Do I sense a little sarcasm from our esteemed leader? Not that it isn't deserved, after all. Nicely put, and keep us posted on the results.

Dave
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:32 AM   #6
c1apton
 
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Harry, before everyone gets their asses bunched up, that's a "form" that's sent out to EVERYONE who uses their insignia without written permission. Look at everyone that sells "BMW" parts, accesories and the logo is everywhere. And few have BMW's blessings. So I wouldn't worry too much and you did the right thing by pulling logos that you inserted.
As far as your reply it was very professional & to the point. I doubt they'll have a problem with that. If they do, let me know - I have friends at CNN that would LOVE to "share this info"

C
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:33 AM   #7
ChrisWorrell

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Hey, do this take a picture of your car with the roundel, and use that all over the site. You own that car and no where is it against the rules to put pictures of your car on the website, so it may just be the roundel of your car. Are they going to tell you to take pictures of your car off the website?
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Old 12-22-2005, 11:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWorrell
Hey, do this take a picture of your car with the roundel, and use that all over the site. You own that car and no where is it against the rules to put pictures of your car on the website, so it may just be the roundel of your car. Are they going to tell you to take pictures of your car off the website?
Better yet - use the "black out titty tape" on all members rate my cars and all posts. That'll make them happy
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Old 12-22-2005, 12:23 PM   #9
Spieluhr

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fuck that...


and nice reply harry, very professional.
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Old 12-22-2005, 12:52 PM   #10
drz

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I don't see why you were surprised. I have been wondering how long it would take for them to contact you with regard to the use of their trademark on UB. I still think it qualifies as a hissy fit, but it makes perfect sense to me that they took such action.

I am sure we will not miss the roundels on top of the page.
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Old 12-22-2005, 01:02 PM   #11
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Big companies always get their panties in a bunch about the little shit. They pay their legal team to do something. You gave them a professional response. I doubt they will contact you anymore.
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Old 12-22-2005, 01:31 PM   #12
Dudesky

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It is a little crazy, but I can see their point as well. Consider the case of SamBucks , and you'll get an understanding of the concern . . .

Quote:
"If you think of a leech on an animal, one leech, if you leave that leech on, the animal won't survive," said Hansen. "If you don't take that off each time they come and you allow them to accumulate on the animal, the animal could actually become very sick or die."

Leeches?! It's about setting a precedent, he says. If they don't stop her, it's hard to stop the next one. And big money is at stake. Aspirin was once a brand name so was thermos, trampoline, cube steak, cellophane, elevator and escalator. The inventor of those products lost their valuable exclusives on those names because they fell into common use.

"You have to police your mark," said Hansen. "You have to keep it exclusive. If it's not exclusive and other people are using it, the strength of your mark deteriorates."
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Old 12-22-2005, 01:43 PM   #13
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Maybe we should all buy Mercedes instead!
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Old 12-22-2005, 01:57 PM   #14
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post the carbon fiber BMW roundel, that isnt a registered trademark, is it?
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Old 12-22-2005, 03:15 PM   #15
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Lets all e-mail that dude just saying "You Big Gay."
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