May 13, 2013
Owners of the Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop in Mission, Kansas (population 9,300) have been put under the blade over a domain name.
If you grew up in the 1980's no doubt you would have been aware of the heavy metal rock band, Twisted Sister, which had a couple of major hits during the decade.
The band's attorneys have sent a letter to the proprietor of Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop, stating in part:
"Your adoption and use of our client's mark (or a variation thereof) is likely to cause dilution of our client's famous mark. Therefore, your use of this mark is an infringement of our client's federal trademark rights as well as unfair competition under federal law, and is in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1125."
The letter has requested that the coffee shop owners "cease all use of name TWISTED SISTER (and all variations thereof), including in domain names, business names, social media (such as Twitter®,Facebook.com® and LinkedIn®), advertising and signage. Further we request that you transfer the above domain to our client."
The domain name in question is TwistedSistersCoffeeShop.com; registered in December last year.
Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop co-owner Sandi Russell says her store's name is a reference to a label given to the sisters by their late brother back in the 1960s; well before the band's trademark was established in 1973.
However, it appears Ms. Russell will be changing her store's name. Every dark cloud has a silver lining though - her coffee shop has achieved its own international fame through related media coverage.
You can read more about the saga on the Prairie Village Post; but the moral of the story is before registering a domain name, it's wise to run a trademark search to determine if there are any potential clashes with existing trademarks.
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