Court Bars Defendant "From Making Any Comments That Could Be Construed As To Disparage [a Trademark]":

In The Freecycle Network, Inc. v. Oey, a federal district court issued a preliminary injunction ordering Tim Oey not to "mak[e] any comments that could be construed as to disparage upon Freecycle's possible trademark and logo." The court further ordered Oey "to remove all postings from the internet and any other public forums that he has previously made that disparage Freecycle's possible trademark and logo." (Oey is a former volunteer with The Freecycle Network who eventually concluded that "freecycle" should be a generic term, and not a privately owned trademark, and who has been trying to persuade others of that. Whether TFN actually has the trademark rights has not yet been finally adjudicated; it's part of a separate lawsuit in a different court.)

The order "specifically refers to, but is not limited to, the exhibits used by Freecycle in this case," which include, but are not limited to, statements such as,

I have encouraged people to use term freecycle as a generic term which would block The Freecycle Network (TFN), and all others, from holding a trademark on the term in the area of freecycling services offered on the web.

This would mean that everyone could use the term freecycle and no one could stop anyone else from using it.


The best way to keep freecycle in the public domain is for as many people and groups as possible to continue to use the term generically.

If you feel that the term freecycle is generic, you can let the USPTO know by sending a letter to: [the Commissioner of Trademarks] address.

Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, the firm for which I'm a part-part-part-time Academic Affiliate, is handling the appeal to the Ninth Circuit; here's the brief, which was written by Don Falk with the help of Ian Feinberg, Dennis Corgill, summer associate (and my former student at Mayer) Pete Patterson, and me.