commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
Or is it an oversight? Don't want to jump to any conclusions, but it doesn't look good.
I just wonder where poor old dmoz.org fits into all of this...
They've probably got a stronger case than both combined! Haha!
Be interesting to get the perspective of some Mozzers on this.
I'm sure we'll hear from them today. Don't forget that the birds aren't even up yet in Seattle this morning.
Very bad move. We all know SEOMoz (Moz) - Doz would look like a complete copycat if it weren't for this douche-lawyer or whoever called this move. I would like to see some comments from Mozzers too.
Actually, I personally called Anji in January 2012 before he launched to tell him there was a problem. I urged him to ask a trademark attorney and get good advice about this before he launched. I also emailed him again personally before we filed to give him a heads up and offer some help with the transition. He didn't take us up on our offer. We filed the cancellation proceeding a couple weeks later.
What do you think we should have done differently? I hate doing this stuff, so I want to do it as TAGFEE as possible.
Can you explain to me why the moz name is so near and dear to you folks? From a branding perspective, it is not associated with SEOmoz, it is a brand new name with no brand equity.
Quick question, curious on this since you are a lawyer. What is the difference between this situation and say "ABC" and "NBC" broadcasting companies? Should only one of them be allowed to exsit really given they are the same industry (TV Broadcasting) or is there a difference here?
Hope you guys work something out.
There's almost certainly more to this story; probably around the request to partner.
However, as a former lawyer, IF TRUE, this seems somewhat unnecessarily agressive of Moz. Typically (at least in the EU) you should get involved with protecting your trademark when:
1. Passing off's occurring - this means a brand is actively claiming that their product is yours (or closely associated with it)
2. A trademark application was filed in bad faith - someone makes an application that everyone knows is going to be problematic for you in the future and they're doing it because they're idiots
3. There's a chance of dilution - people will see your brand as less special because of the actions taking place
4. Confusion - someone's doing something similar enough that an average person might get confused between the two brands (e.g. buying Sqny headphones instead of Sony headphones).
Confusion, as with almost all trademark cases, is the most likely - especially with non-marketers - which is who Doz is targetting. Moz isn't a company I'd expect to be getting agressive with their legal stance though, so there's very likely to be more to it.
For reference, here's Capseo's application http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4803:m858i.2.1
When Anji reached out to us initially, they were CapSEO. At the time, I had no idea Doz existed, or that CapSEO was rebranding. As Anji and I talked, the discussion was around the functionality of CapSEO, which I saw as complementary. Later the discussion moved to their plans to rebrand to Doz, with a fuller focus on inbound marketing services (and software). This too is complementary, but not with the brand of Doz, as Sarah alluded to. There's obvious confusion and brand dilution of Moz that can come as a result, and it's our duty to protect our trademark.
I think it's important to have this context. It feel into our lap with no other option than the action we took, we didn't seek this out. We've taken every step to be transparent into why, and hope, still, that we can resolve this in a civilized manner. I've spent the past 8 years of my life doing startups, the last thing we want to do is derail a startup from their mission.
Andrew, in my first email from January 11th, with you and even Rand CC'ed, I was writing: "We are now based in San Francisco and will be launchingwww.doz.com".
Capseo is the name of our company and DOZ is our product.
I think you guys can't see the forest from the trees. Internally, the name has lots of meaning, but in the real world, Moz stands for nothing yet, there is no brand to dilute yet. Whoever is guiding your branding decisions is giving you poor guidance.
I fell in love with SEOmoz, but SEOmoz doesn't exist anymore. You killed a brand I loved, and now the only branding impression Moz has made on me so far is negative.
Meh... Do you really think they're being shit, or is it just business?
I can see where the confusion would come with the two brands. I'm sure the shift from SEOmoz to MOZ is not something that has been undertaken lightly. Trying to avoid brand confusion for such a successful, well known business seems only natural, even if this does come off as aggressive. Doz are just unlucky to be on the receiving end.
That's ugly, but I kind of sympathise with Moz. The purpose of trademarks is to avoid confusion for customers, amongst other things. One bad experience for one could easily hurt the other. First to register the trademark gets it.
If Doz were there first, sympathy would be with them, although I suspect there would be some kind of settlement in that case, Moz being the better capitalised of the two.
I do think this is a tremendous opportunity for Moz to demonstrate the G and E in Tagfee. Be generous and empathetic in helping Doz find and build a new brand name and identity, perhaps using some of their inhouse resources?
Curious to see Mozzers input here too...
Ugly situation to be in.
** Sidenote, can lawyers be Tagfee?
It looks like when Moz' lawyer refers to their mark's priority date he's talking about their Moz filling in 2011 (from which they can then claim infringement etc) rather than Moz putting an intent to use in on 'Doz'.
You're right James. He was refering to our intent-to-use filing on Moz in 2011. Doz filed in December 2012.
Well there goes my plans for Goz, the ultimate tribute site to Ryan Gosling...
I'd still like to see that, so don't give up.
You shouldn't have any problem with that.
Trademarks are assigned by type and industry, so you yes you can have companies with overlapping names if they're in totally different niches. When you register a trademark you register it for each classification. It's not a blanket "no one can use this name". In the UK for instance: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-applying/t-class.htm
Will have to double check, but if I opened a cafe or oil exploration company tomorrow called "Moz" tomorrow, and the Moz Inc. filing didn't cover those areas, I'd be fine. Similarly, Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation likely won't have an issue unless they start marketing software product or something like that.
Now, about that tribute site... :)
This is the moment where I either say: a) "dude, I was only kidding..." or b) "well in that case..."
You're going to let threats of legal action stop you from honoring the all and powerful Goz? Pffffft.
if Doz were there first then Moz should go for out of court settlement. May be buying DOZ!!! But this really shows the ugly side of professionalism.
We filed an intent-to-use registration in August 2011. He filed in December 2012. I called him in January to say there was a problem. He launched in March. I emailed him and told him we'd have to cancel the mark. Then our attorney contacted him to inform him of the filing documents at the US Trademark office.
What do you think I should have done differently. I asked him a couple times what we could do to make this easier. Doz is a great domain and it wouldn't make sense for us to own it. Someone should start a business using Doz.com, it just can't be inbound marketing software. It's a tremendous asset, and I hope they get a lot of value from it.
It seems that moz.com used to be owned by Mozilla few years back, how did they lose it ? from archives.org!
Is it immature to find it amusing that the guys at Moz are probably discussing how to reply to this thread?
Remember guys, be transparent, make a joke of it and definitely make sure to answer difficult questions with a smile :)
And I bet they woke up thinking, 'Tumblr's going to have a shit day explaining why there's Yahoo ads all over the dashboard.'
Running a business isn't always rainbows and unicorns. How far would you go to ensure the success of your brand?
Honestly I think I'd go as far as it's needed and it's legal
Well you clearly haven't heard of my new startup, UniBows. We develop quality custom rainbow and unicorn gifs for enterprise level marketing campaigns.
Ah trademarks. I've had some fun with the fifty6 one lately. I hope all parties come out of this as happy as all parties in my dispute did.
Hi Inound.org peeps. Sorry it took me awhile to get on the thread. It's early here and I was juggling my 16month old. I just left a lengthy comment on the thread. Maybe too long.
tl;dr: I hate doing this trademark violation stuff. I wouldn't have done it if I didn't believe it was potentially confusing to our customers. And I hope Anji can grow his business under a different brand. We'd still love to be partners someday. I'd much rather be helping entreprendeurs, than telling them that they shouldn't launch their baby because we have an intent-to-use mark that has priority is really similar to theirs.
Nice to hear also the other side of the story, thanks Sarah
Thanks Sarah, But changing brand is very coastly. Doz was started before Moz and short domain name is normal to be similar. How about woz.com and goz.com?
Gozil - read the comment above where Sarah states that Moz filed their intent to use in 2011, and Doz's was filed in December 2012. In that regard, Moz was first. Sure, Doz *launched* first, but Moz has been working on their rebrand for almost 2 years and had the legal priority. Launch date isn't what matters here, it's filing date (from what I understand).
It is expensive. I agree with you. That's part of the problem for us too. We also made big investment in the brand. We did everything we could early to protect the brand, including filing the correct paperwork at the trademark office. I also personally telephoned Anji before he launched his product to try and head him off at the pass. I didn't want him to waste more time and effort when we had the priority to the mark.
I have no problem with anyone using doz or goz or woz.com, so long as it isn't for inbound marketing software.
Doz.com is an amazing asset. They should be able to get a lot of value from it, just not for inbound marketing software. They could use it for anything else. I hope they are very succesful in monetizing the domain, and I hope they rebrand the inbound software using less confusing brand. :(
Wow, is it really true doz.com got their domain name just a day before moz.com?
With that said, I hate bullies. And it seems like Rand's company is being the bully here.
But ownership of domains isn't a claim of trademark. Similar to patents and intelectual property, they're owned to keep control of a whole brand and prevent confusion for customers across a whole range of issues - domains, logos, colour schemes etc.
Curious to hear what you'd have done if you were COO of soon-to-be Moz in 2011? :)
Let me get this straight... you want me to reply and then risk having you (or some other moderator) delete my comment (I've already had two deleted from this site today). Now that's rich!
And you want us to take you seriously when Rand's company pays you to run this site? Really?
Okay, I'll take the bait, mate.
If I was COO, I would have ignored doz.com completely.
Or if I was hired today to clean up this mess, I would drop everything and make a sincere YouTube video with a mea culpa - and would sincerely apologize to the community for this mess. But something tells me that won't happen - an ego is a terrible thing to waste.
What's REALLY interesting here is that Rand's "team" obviously setup a joint venture with the person they're now battling. The joint venture page is still up here:
What's up with that?
I've been in court several times. Every time I represented myself, I won - every time.
In the two times I came with a lawyer, I lost once and had a simple matter drag out for months.
Bottom line: I'll do my best to NEVER EVER use a lawyer again. They always win, and the little guy always loses.
This truly could be the demise for Rand's company. Go search Twitter for:
It's getting ugly (and I'm quoting your tweet, Ed).
This is not the first time Rand's "team" has blown it from a customer relation's standpoint... which is quite surprising to me because from the outside looking in, Rand's people seem to be on the ball.
Mr. Hater (?)
The CapSEO partner page looks like an affiliate deal?
I doubt it'd be a demise. Look at Netflix's online-offline split, GoDaddy's SOPA spat other companies crisis' - they went through more and yet they're still around and providing value. I guess in all these cases not enough of their customer bases know and care enough to change.
So far as "blown it", sure it's ugly, but not the end of the world. You must have been through a fair few ugly situations to go through court multiple times.
Sarah's clear it's not a bully tactic. It's a legal issue, and if Doz, or Moz, are in the right then they should and would win the case. But given it's a trademark issue, not a domain issue, it appears based on the evidence presented that Moz was there first.
I don't really blame the entity formerly known as SEOMoz for pushing the law as far as they can to attack competitors and mark out their territory. Most businesses would do the same but it seems really weak that the law is on the side of someone who 'intends to use' an arguably similar name to someone who had already started using that name. Most of our laws, to be honest, have gone way out of sync with what most people would consider 'right' or indeed in many cases 'common sense'.
I think there is a little more subtlety here. We actually filed paperwork at the trademark office to protect Moz because we knew we wanted to use and invest in the brand. This was in 2011. You actually can't file a regular trademark until you're actually using it. So, the only means of protection we had was to file the intent-to-use paperwork.
Doz filed it's paperwork before it was actually using the mark. And it filed in December 2012, well after we filed our intent-to-use paperwork.
Plus, I told them there was a problem before they launched their software. I know re-branding is expensive. We asked how we could help. They decided to launch under the Moz brand anyway.
What would you do differently? It's important to me to do what is right. We thought a lot about this and tried to address the issue quickly, personally, and privately.
Is that a freudian slip, "They decided to launch under the Moz brand anyway." in the second to last paragraph, or was it deliberate?
How about this Steve... why not just ignore doz.com? According to compete.com, it gets no traffic. And I doubt it's going to get anything in the way of typo traffic either.
Instead, this legal B.S. is only going to get more traffic to doz.com.
This "pushing the law as far as they can" legal douchebagery isn't empathetic - and ridicules the idea of TAGFEE.
Rand has done this before... even with people he claims to like - just ask Wil Reynolds. Rand sent a legal notice to Wil's company - and when Wil mentioned it in a speech, Rand claimed the threat was merely a joke. Yikes... I don't think joking about a cease and desist order is ever a laughing matter.
I'm not sure what your'e referring to regarding Will Reynolds. What happened. Did we do something wrong? If so, I'd like to fix it.
Regarding the option to ignore doz.com... First, it's not the domain itself that's the problem. It's the brand. We need to protect the brand, otherwise we risk losing it. He can use/sell doz.com for anything other than inbound marketing software. Second, I think Anji is really talented and he's solving an important problem. He will probably be very successful. Wouldn't it have been worse to wait until he is really successful and then tell him his brand violates our mark? I don't want him to waste valuable time and energy. I want him to succeed and build a lasting brand that is unique.
I think Moz is completely in the right in this case. Doz does inbound marketing and analytics. Moz does inbound marketing analytics. It would be difficult for the nature of the product and the names to be more similar.
As Sarah Bird has pointed out, she contacted Anjil twice, by phone and email before Doz launched. Anjil failed to mention these two communications in his post. From Sarah's responses on the article and to this thread SEOmoz is the more transparent and empathetic party and is inviting specific feedback.
Also, this is a good idea for link bait by Anjil.
It definitely works as link bait. But good idea?
I now have heard of them, yeah, but my opinion is definitely not the best. Publishing this 2 days after the launch of moz.com doesn't really feel honest or fair to me.
Thank for your feedback and opinion everyone.
Our company, Capseo, owns www.doz.com since April 2011, and Capseo, as its name sounds, has been selling marketing services since 2009. We filled the Trademark in March 2012, and started using it in our beta platform in January 2012.
When I contacted SEOmoz, I expected to build a partnership, driving leads to SEOmoz software (the page is still up here: http://moz.com/partners/capseo), and have DOZ featured as a Pro Perks for SEOmoz users. We were also thinking of using SEOmoz API to show some more data to our clients, but we are not a marketing analytics software.
As a startup, we prefer to focus on the execution of our ideas, rather than spending time and money in lawsuits... but as one of you said "business isn't always rainbows and unicorns".
Also, what's the significance of CapSEO being listed on Moz.com? I don't understand the point you are making by mentioning that.
Hi Sara Bird, its better to let DOZ there...If MOZ is continuously favouring great services (you guys really serving this) for other, searching fellows and peoples who really want your services definitely come to you. and also, its better to have a direct competitor for any business, then only we will think and search for next level of Marketing:)
We have not tried to stop them from competing with us in any way. The issue lies in them using a name similar to ours, doing similar things. Competition has always been great for us, it helps us to work harder and build more.
Hi everyone, I'm Faouzi, CTO and Co-founder at
Capseo / DOZ. This is not fun, and believe me my favorite part of
running a startup is coding and not being involved in legal nightmares.
I'm looking forward to have this issue solved in a good way that allow
us to pursue our vision for DOZ.COM
I think a good first step would be an updated blog post that highlights the whole story. If Sarah's emails could all be shown and sated in the blog post? If she's okay with that?
Also, keen to hear what you guys are interested in as a resolution? Where do you want all this attention directed?
Our main purpose by sharing the story was to
avoid other startups being trapped the same way. We just want to
continue using our brand for what we do. Finally and as Anji said, we bought the domain name over 2 years ago, so no intention to confuse anybody.
Make perfect sense to share it, and the wider startup community will certainly benefit :)
"We just want to continue using our brand for what we do."
Sure. But what's your next step in each case?
a) Assume it is ruled against you guys?
b) Assume it is ruled in favour of you?
c) Settle out now?
Fun fact is Rand once had an interview saying the following :
"Andrew: What does SEOmoz mean?
Rand: When we started up, we were looking for a name that was short. That had the word SEO in there so that people would know what the blog was about. And, I was a big fan of the Mozilla Foundation, with DMoz and ChefMoz. What was the other ones that they were doing at the time? There was, like, MapMoz, there was a bunch of them at the time that were coming out. That were based around this open source, weird transparent."
Source : http://mixergy.com/seomoz-rand-fishkin-interview/
Let's hope, both parties will get to an agreement.
Wow interesting find Carine, thanks for sharing. So your assumption is that Rand formed SEOmoz based on Mozilla?
One of the latest replies in that thread is disgusting and a horrible personal insult at Rand. Such hate is uncalled for.
While the issue with the brand name is troublesome, I'm not sure how transparent people expect Moz to be ahead of the rebranding.From what I've read so far, it appears as though Sarah and the team took all logical steps to help the DOZ team out. They wouldn't proceed with a takedown notice if there wasn't a legal justification for doing so.
If the DOZ team are so confident they're right..got nothing to worry about surely. Just my two cents.
I think common sense needs to prevail here, Doz and Moz do not sound too similar, I understand they are in similar markets yet it does seem a little rough to me. This case reminds me of a client I have in the Forex space, basically they have Forex in their domain name and are successful in Australia. Forex.com tried to force out client to take down the domain and Forex is a generic term, my client fought the decision and won the case.
I think their is more to the story than the original post, as noted in the comments here, yet I do not think this is a good case for a brand which has just re-launched. I hope both parties can come to a decision.
Yeah I totally agree. I understand both sides of the argument, but it's sort of disheartening to think that a brand can own variations of their name that aren't even the same. Does that mean Zappos can file the same suit against a company called Lappos or Dappos? I understand that it has to be in the same industry/market to apply, but still that really limits brand development paired alongside with domain acquistion for the brand. The options are already limited in terms of competition online when you brand with commonly used words or phrases, so this seems to set even more limits on your brand name when the name is made up as well.
How come we don't hear about ABC broadcasting company issuing a D&C for NBC broadcasting company? The both offer the EXACT same product - the only difference is the first letter of their acronym.
They don't because it would be ridiculous.
This entire episode is beyond the pale. Rand is trying to kill an ant with an atom bomb.
Reading this makes me very sad. I really like SEOMoz and Rand but I think their approach is not the right one this time. It sort of makes me question the whole TAGFEE. Is it just clever marketing or does it really mean something?
May be instead of going through lawyers just trust your brand and you have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, I think this has damaged their brand.
I understand that the SEOMoz (Moz) is large company and there is now lot of investor's money involved but seriously you have built amazing brand with TAGFEE mission don't just become another too big company to care.
On the other hand it is great PR for doz.com, I wonder if it is just clever move :)
I am pretty sure there is lesson to be learn.
I wish this was just a one-time bonehead move, Michael.
I too thought Rand was different than all of the other thoughtleaders in SEO. I was super excited when I first discovered him.
But sadly, the more you get to know Rand, the more he's just the same.
TAGFEE is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy. And I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
For me, finding out his VERY close relationship with Matt Cutts and him playing traffic cop (outing other marketers for spam) was the first hint of things to come.
And seeing Rand (and his team) delete community posts was not only surprising, but disturbing. I've even seen thumbs down votes get quietly deleted.
Why doesn't Moz just acquire Doz? There. Done. Moneys.
True, Brandable LLL.com domain is worth easy $xx,XXX + current dev work and also fresh idea from new part of the world as per the location of Doz. Seems like a smart move imo.
I glanced at this last night for a half second and assumed doz was a consultancy. I can see why Moz is taking this position, but I'm not sure it'll work in court. Sounds like bad timing, more than anything.
Is Moz really that threatened?
This might (potentially) confuse a few noobs, but when I read stuff like this, it certainly makes me want to point clients, friends, etc. in a different direction.
In related, questionable TAGFEE practices, check out this tweet by Rand and Avanish at precisely the same exact time:
"at precisely the same exact time" Rand's tweet was sent five minutes after Avianash's. That's called being nice,
Amazing. It appears all of my upvotes have been deleted (again).
I wish you good LUCK!!!. Doz....
Maybe it's because my legal background means I'm not as squeamish at the thought of legal process as those unfamiliar with it, but this certainly seems a reasonable course of action for Moz to take. Doz, of course, have the right to defend their position by engaging with the legal process. Their decision to grandstand on the point seems silly to me and it certainly feels like they have not had the best advice, though clearly they are acting on a strategy that has been determined in advance of this moment.
I wonder just how much whatever minor victories they score in the court of public opinion can be worth to them. I guess we'll find out one way or the other in due course.
Spoken just like a psychopathic lawyer.
Rand is LITERALLY pulling the rug right from beneath a now competitor. I say "now" competitor because from this page, Rand obviously setup a joint venture with the same company he's now pursuing legal action against:
And if you're a lawyer (or if you read COO's Sarah Birds' post about trademark law) here:
... You would know that Doz.com is first in marketplace and would actually be entitled to the moz.com name!!! That would be something if in the end Doz.com legally took over Moz.com.
Rand makes a name change and then has the audacity to claim a first mover position in the marketplace is now his. Wow. That takes major balls.
As much as I (used to) respect Rand, this move was a deal killer for me. And I'm not alone - search the internet's and see the backlash for yourself.
What word would you use other than grandstand? There's a legal process that both parties are equally entitled to participate in. How else would you describe the decision to bring the dispute into the public domain?
Has Moz or Rand publicly addressed this yet?
It would be great to hear Rand's thoughts on this, but as a company, they have just re-branded and I am sure have other things on their plate. Not that this is a light matter by any stretch though.
From what I've seen, the COO responded to the original blog and in here and on Hacker News, at least. Other Moz staff members have added their perspective also, including a Director of Business Development who seems to have had direct contact with the Doz folks.
I'm really surprised. The longer this goes without public acknowledgement, the less inclined I am to look favorably at Moz in this situation. If you're not in the wrong, why avoid the issue?
It happened once again - my comment was quietly deleted overnight.
So much for TAGFEE... here's a screengrab of what I wrote:
Here's the official petition to cancel document:
Stunning. Just stunning.
And now Marketing Land is talking about this:
(Hope this comment doesn't get deleted - taking screengrab just in case.)
Trademark issue aside, you're being grossly offensive to members of the community here on Inbound.org. It's not necessary.
You've said your piece on the trademark issue. We've all seen that. That's not the problem we have. Stop the rants and posts about or at people, or we'll ban you.
Think carefully before your next comment. An apology to the people in this thread would be a good start.
I'm not apologizing to anyone. I've done nothing to warrant that. In fact a bunch of people have thanked me via an upvote (more on that below).
Ed, I like you. I think you add tremendous value to this site. And it kills me to compliment you because... well, I'm a hater.
With that said, it's a shame that this bully (no name as per your request) is either directly or indirectly forcing you to respond to me. Because under TAGFEE, everything I'm saying (and others are saying here) should be seen uncensored. Instead, my posts get censored (then when I scream about it... the post quietly shows up again). And even all of my upvotes are gone - take a look (and I had a bunch of people thank me... some multiple times):
This bully miscalculated - badly... and now is in hiding. He continues to pretend nothing is happening (actively posting to his personal blog and Twitter account). I'm certain he knows about this because his wife complained about it on her personal blog. Ignoring this just adds more fuel to the fire. Hoping this gets swept under the rug is wishful thinking - hells bells even MarketingLand.com is writing about it.
If anyone should apologize, it's the bully. He's wrong ethical and legally. Doz.com was first to marketplace. The bully's COO was a lawyer and knows better.
(By the way: I could care less about doz.com. I don't know a thing about them. This is about the principle of the matter for me and other small guys who are tired of getting stepped on.)
We don't like haters.
I've banned your account.
You've said your piece - you think it's wrong. Fair enough. Trademark law says otherwise. I think we agree to disagree. But name or no name, you've clearly nothing more useful to say.
As for removing upvotes, us mods can't actually do that. The logs show people simply removing their upvotes.
I'm sure there will be a resolution one way or another, and further progressive discussion will follow. But enough for now.
Point made...both parties to their timeout corners. Whew! Time to get back to the content posts that actually add value to our lives and businesses.