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    8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 24, 2007 3:18 PM by Lighthouse24

    Trademark, Attorneys, HELP!

    MedlineRecrui Newbie
      So here's the deal. My company is only 6 months old. The name is "Medline Recruiting" (Pharma/Biotech Recruiting Firm). I recently received an attorney letter, representing a company called "Medline Industries", stating that I must Cease and desist operating under their clients Medline Mark. They are also demanding me to transfer my domain names to them. I began doing research to discover that the only trademarks they have a relative to Medical products (hospital linens, syringes, etc). They attempted a trademark relative to services a couple of years ago, however that never went through.

      The cost of changing the name at this point, would cost me $20K+, but attorney fees could cost me too. Do you think they are trying to Strong-arm me? Or, do they have a legitimate claim. (I don't sell products and don't see why they are giving me such a hard time...there are a ton of companies with names like "Pioneer...Access...Apex, etc")

      PS Anyone know any good Trademark attorneys? I'm in the Tampa, FL area
        • Re: Trademark, Attorneys, HELP!
          DomainDiva Ranger

          It looks like you may have to open your wallet a bit. Medline Industries is a huge company with an international presence as well.

          You need an attorney NOW. Whether or not anyone here on the board thinks their claim is legitimate is moot....the point is you are using their name (way after the fact) and you need to get this resolved now.

          In Tampa you will want to talk to Smith-Hopen @ 813-925-8505.

          Companies are not always ready to litigate and you may actually be able to negotiate something with the help of an attorney.

          • Re: Trademark, Attorneys, HELP!
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            As DomainDiva advised, a qualified attorney will tell you up front what to expect.


            Medline does have a history of aggressively protecting their trademarks, so what if you and/or your attorney determine that the cost of a fight is not worth it? You might contact the Legal department at Medline yourself, explain the situation as you did here, and outline a plan/schedule/budget to transition your business identity (send a copy of your proposal to the attorney representing them). You noted that it would cost $20K+ to make this switch, but I'm guessing that's for a "blitz" approach, and that a gradual identity change carried out on your schedule would be much less expensive. If your schedule is reasonable, they will likely agree rather than taking this to court or through arbitration - especially if your current use of the Medline name is not a real threat to them anyway. If they don't agree, you're no worse off - in fact, you will have great documentation to support the fact that you tried to reach an agreement (whereas they jumped straight to legal action).

            No question, we need legal representation for some issues. Even so, the beauty of being small business owners is that when people have a problem with our companies, they can talk to us about it directly, and we can take action. Very often, that's precisely how we stay in business and compete successfully with much larger enterprises. We're personally accountable, and we can deal with people as people, not litigants.


            It's a small world, and in most industries, we encounter the same people over and over. If someone associated with this at Medline should cross your path in a different role in a few years, do you (or does anyone else in a similar situation) want to be remembered as the person who (a) beat them in court, (b) lost to them in court, or (c) took the initiative to sit down with a "big dog" as an equal to work out an acceptable agreement?
              • Re: Trademark, Attorneys, HELP!
                MedlineRecrui Newbie
                Kuddos!!! WELL SAID Lighthouse24. In fact, I did contact the attorney that sent the letter, a month ago. I was pretty straightforward and did my research before I contacted him. When I put him on the spot regarding their actual "Trademarks" and irrelavance to my name/business, he seemed to stumble over his words a bit...which made me believe that they were just bullying me around. I have researched their prior litigations. The ones they won were because they were selling products confusingly similar to their own.

                It has reaffirmed my gut instinct, I need to secure an attorney...there's no question. The question is, "WILL THEY SETTLE", "HOW MUCH COULD THIS COST ME"? This whole thing is stressing me out. I guess I need to start brainstorming on new names (haha).
              • Re: Trademark, Attorneys, HELP!
                simplycharly Newbie
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                • Re: Trademark, Attorneys, HELP!
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger
                  "Let the buyer beware."