So, since the UDRP decision (details here), deciding in favor of Friends keeping the sites in dispute… Mr. Steven M. Samblis, CEO of IC Places, Inc. has created a new website bearing his namesake. We have viewed the site, and have to say up front, as sites go, it’s not a bad looking site. We have said before that Mr. Samblis can build a decent looking site. We are not taking that away from him.
However, it appears Mr. Samblis is attempting to mislead viewers (investors) yet again. We are referring to the references to his name being a “tm”, trademark. Pictured below are the instances from the site we reference.
Now… we (and likely everyone else) could really care less if Mr. Samblis says his name is trademarked or not, but the larger picture here is the fact that apparently he feels the need to mislead visitors to the site. As many readers of this blog know, Mr. Samblis was unsuccessful at his attempts to force his will on Friends to get our sites. Readers will also know that Mr. Samblis needed to prove three aspects in order to prevail. If all three are not proven, the attempt is unsuccessful. The very first issue Mr. Samblis needed to prove was the issue of trademark rights. Namely, Mr. Samblis needed to prove he had rights (common-law or otherwise) to the professed trademark of Steven Samblis. The arbitrator (an attorney) who decided the case was of the opinion he did not prove such (and therefore did not need to decide on the other issues). See the excerpt below.
Quoting from the decision as seen above… “Based on the Complainant’s contention and evidence submitted, the Panel finds that Complainant has done an insufficient showing that STEVEN SAMBLIS is a trademark protectable and prosecutable under the UDRP and determines that Complainant has failed to illustrate rights in a mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Yao Ming v. Evergreen Sports, Inc., FA 154140 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 29, 2003…”.
Friends did a quick check on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website (here) and found only these 2 registrations, and they are both listed as “dead”. Of course there is no registration of the name, Steven Samblis.
Additionally, as Friends referenced in their response regarding the use of a personal name as a professed trademark, the arbitrator makes note of… “Under such view, any human being on earth could claim to have rights in a legal trademark dating back to the first day they started a job—a notion which is not possible under trademark law.”. See the excerpt from the law itself below.
So… apparently Mr. Steven Samblis is so narcissistic about himself, he needs to aggrandize himself to the public into thinking he is something special that his name is a trademark. However, obviously the arbitrator held a different view, and, lacking some legal documentation supporting otherwise, we feel the use of the name being a trademark is purely misleading. According to numerous sources, it is extremely difficult to trademark a personal name. It is doubtful Mr. Samblis could ever get his name trademarked, and he certainly shouldn’t be misleading readers into thinking it is, especially as the CEO of a publically traded company . Mr. Samblis… your name is not a trademark just because you say it is. Prove us wrong and produce the documentation supporting it is.