If you’re not in the mood for a funny rant (after all, technically, this is a blog), then please visit this page for a list of our articles on natural medicine: Posts in Chronological Order. Otherwise, read on! And make sure you are careful of who YOU do business with!
Every morning I wake up and watch Jon Stewart (Colbert on the weekends, taped from the week before) while I drink my single– and therefore precious– cup of coffee. It’s not that I’m overly liberal (I’m liberal on some things, conservative on others), it’s just that I believe that the only context that makes politics endurable is satire. I generally abhor politics of any kind.
After my morning cup of coffee, I head off to the computer and log in to check my email. I have nine email accounts (I used to have many more). I do this every morning as if it were a religious ritual. I answer emails (generally from visitors to eytonsearth.org) first; people asking for assistance from all over the English-speaking world, sometimes about how clay may be prepared and used, and sometimes with other issues related to natural and alternative medicine. This takes between 45 minutes and four hours daily.
This is something I’ve been doing, free of charge, for well over a decade. I believe that if one is able to assist another human being, then one should do so if possible, and without expectation of anything in return. This is part of my spiritual program in life.
Most of the time I look forward to correspondences. However, I do get my fair share of hate mail and complaints. Most of them are absolutely ridiculous, and provide some comic relief.
For example, I received a complaint about my free e-book from a reader, who was upset that, in one of my short stories, I used the Lord’s name in vain. I patiently replied that I had not used the Lord’s name in vain, that a character in one of my short stories used the Lord’s name in vain, and I was simply recounting what had happened… I’m sorry that the reality of life has offended you, but I don’t feel a need to change what happened to comply with any form of censorship.
I’m like that. I can’t stand bullies, abusers, and people who mislead others for their own personal gain. I can’t stand individuals or groups that take advantage of weaker people, sick people, or confused people. I can’t stand people who have forked tongues, who use words and ideologies to manipulate people, especially when they practice the exact opposite in their own lives.
Because I’m a generally a more quiet individual that practices a “live and let live” philosophy, sometimes people mistake my attitude for weakness. That is, quite often, a great lack of discernment on their part.
Last Sunday I was minding my own business, checking my email for the morning, when I noticed an email from I AM Perfectly Healthy (website of www.i-amperfectlyhealthy.com). I thought to myself, oh how interesting, another clay enthusiast is messaging. The email was from Maryanne Maldonado, owner/operator of this business. They distribute Terramin, as do we.
However, my interest quickly turned to outright shock when I read this email… It turns out, business and “politics” can get very ugly, even in the natural holistic world.
The Bullying Email: ‘Red Desert is Mine! Bwahahaha!’
Although we have never spoken or met, you can imagine what a surprise it was to find that you are using my registered Trademark Red Desert® on your website in several ways, most profoundly and literally selling Red Desert Clay. I am sure you have a clear understanding that this is unethical, but can you imagine how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot? … including having spent $13,000 alone in attorney fees to register Red Desert?
Please remove Red Desert from your website within the next 48 hours. This is not negotiable.
It is important to know that Google has been known to ban websites and their owners for life under certain circumstances and that is not really ever a good thing to experience when running a business nowadays.
On another note, life offers many opportunities for all of us to have good experiences, whereby the potential to have what we want can manifest more easily by moving into alignment with who you really are and focusing on that powerful place within. When that is your top priority, your influence on whatever you want to create in your own right will be quite powerful. We are all here to create what is just right for us to be successful… …. Really good things can happen.
With clarity and positive intention everything can work out very well for you. Maryanne Maldonado”
At first I experienced shock. Ok, someone here is accusing me of doing something unethical? I was confused. What exactly did this extremely rude individual think I’d done wrong?
It took me a moment to realize that this individual claims to have rights over the term:
My next response was sheer anger. How dare someone try to tell me that I cannot use a generic descriptive term to describe a clay that comes from the ground (we use generic descriptive terms for our clays for a very specific reason; to avoid influencing customers with “jingles”). Not only was I in disbelief that someone would actually think about trying to trademark this, but I was in awe that this person actually found a sleazy lawyer who slid that one through, and then had the audacity to believe that they actually owned this term.
This arrogant spiritual-pretending lady had managed to take part of the English language hostage! As a writer, this infuriates all of my sensibilities. I don’t like abusive people taking away my freedom of expression. The fact that she felt she held a moral high ground was even more hilarious.
I abhor people who abuse the copyright, trademark and patent system. Shame on their greed, dishonesty, and ugliness! And to think that they thought they could bully me into compliance?
Finally, as I examined the sheer absurdity of the entire situation, my anger melted into delight and comic relief!
I’m not a trademark expert so I did some research. Surely there must be some sort of checks and balance system to protect U.S. citizens right to free speech. I quickly discovered that there was. It turns out, a slimy lawyer can rip off a client and slide a bad trademark into the books, but it’s quite another thing to keep people from successfully contesting it!
In fact, it turns out that the trademark law protects the public from unscrupulous marketeers filing bad trademarks. Any trademark that tries to reserve a general or generic term is by definition invalid. One simply needs to file the proper paperwork (and pay the fee), demonstrate that the word(s) trademarked are indeed generic, and the government will invalidate the trademark completely.
The trademark information:
Having done my research, I emailed Maryanne Maldonado @ I-amperfectlyhealthy.com Sunday afternoon. My tone was a bit crisp and to the point as I informed her that I contested her right to trademark the term Red Desert. I’ve since sent another email to Maryanne, and have yet to hear back from anyone at I-amperfectlyhealthy.com .
This left me in a predicament. Legally, no matter how absurd it may be, her business has a stranglehold of this term, and I’m not allowed to use it, especially commercially. We always try to conform to both the spirit and the letter of the law (even when we don’t agree with it). I won’t be able to pay the fee for the trademark dispute until next year, most likely.
By examining her email carefully, I realized that the real reason she was probably upset was that we sell this clay for cheaper than her business does, and we also show in the Google Search Results. Craftily, if she bullied us to changing the name of the clay we sell to something like “Miracle Red Mud”, then we would drop from the search results.
So, in order to comply with the law (until we get the trademark invalidated), we simply changed the structure of the language to Red Mineral Desert Clay, which she has no rights to. We’ll still be seen by the search engines for the term in question.
However, I felt that everyone should know about the wolf beneath the sheep’s clothing. This is certainly not an individual or company that I’d like to do business with, and I wouldn’t associate with anyone who treats their business and other people this way.
I also took the time to examine what they had to say about clay on their website, and it became evident that they don’t respect the law when it doesn’t suit them. They also offer some very bad information about clay… It’s clear that they do a lot of parroting what others have said about clay, without professional experience (I will cover this in an article at eytonsearth.org about why we recommend clay from certain companies, but refuse to link to other companies, and I will use them as my primary example).
That’s one of the biggest differences between us and others: All of the work we have done, we have actually done.
Like most bullies, they also lie, twisting the truth. Perhaps they are only ignorant. Google does not ban websites for copyright or trademark violations. Anyone can file a DCMA report with Google, and have a particular page removed ****from the search results*** for the offending term. I wonder how many other people they have tried to threaten and bully with these sort of tactics (and then insult them with psuedo-spiritualism at the end of the email)?
I have some great spiritual advice for myself that I think I’ll take instead of listening to the dribble in the email. How about:
1. Hold fast to the center, and know (the truth).
2. The truth shall…
3. Hold not too tightly onto money, property or prestige, for they will lead you astray.
4. If you (I) don’t stand up for what is truly right and real, who will?
5. “Fear not. What is not real, never was and never shall be. What is real always was and cannot be destroyed.” (therefore, there is no reason to worry about good things coming, for we are here to experience both sides of life, and learn how to love and truly create that which humanity can experience freely)
So, what do you think? ..and of course, share and like this on your social bookmarking page! :O)