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American Craft Council, American Craft Endeavors, American Craft Marketing, American Craft Expo ... who owns the name "American Craft"?

This recent letter was forwarded to me by Richard Rothbard:

Dear Mr. Rothbard:

As you are well aware, our client, the American Craft Council, has repeatedly objected to your unauthorized use of its registered mark AMERICAN CRAFT. Based on your prior representations, our client had considered this matter closed and resolved. Specifically, on June 1, 2012 (among other issues), you agreed that you would cease using the combination "AMERICAN CRAFT" in a title for your shows. In connection with your New York City show, although the American Craft Council permitted use in 2012, you agreed that you would cease use of the name AMERICAN CRAFT SHOW NYC or NYC AMERICAN CRAFT SHOW after the 2012 show and, thereafter (2013 and onward) agreed to use the name "NYC (or New York City) Craft Show" or similar title not using the combination "AMERICAN CRAFT".

Thereafter, after we had notified you on January 11, 2013, that your continued use of AMERICAN CRAFT SHOW NYC and AMERICAN CRAFTSHOW CONNECTICUT constituted continuing infringement, you again represented (on January 18, 2013) that you would comply with our client’s demand to stop use of AMERICAN CRAFT.

We now have been advised by the American Craft Council that you are again flaunting their trademark rights. Specifically, your August 2014 show in NYC is entitled "American Craft Market Wholesale Show NYC". Our client advises that you were passing out the attached brochure at its recent Baltimore show and further infringing use is shown at http://americancraftmarket.com/

On behalf of our client, we demand that this title be changed immediately to one that does not include the term AMERICAN CRAFT. Moreover, you are to cease immediately with any use of any title that includes AMERICAN CRAFT, including but not limited to use on promotional materials (such as the attached brochure) or on any website.

In the absence of your prompt compliance, the American Craft Council is prepared to institute litigation without further notice. Based on the above history, there is little doubt that a court would find that your continuous disregard of the American Craft Council’s trademark rights is willful and, potentially, could subject you to punitive damages if this matter were to be litigated.

We await your immediate response.

Without prejudice.

Geez, doesn't it make you glad that you are a simple craftsperson, artist, minding your own business? 

Views: 1107

Comment by Geoff Coe on April 1, 2014 at 12:28pm

There are two sides to every story, and one is missing here.  Context, please.

Comment by Greg Little on April 1, 2014 at 2:47pm

How can anyone think they can "OWN' the right to use words as common as American and Craft? I did a google search and  the domain americancraftcouncil.com is available and for sale?

Comment by Connie Mettler on April 1, 2014 at 2:52pm

Some years back the ACC decided not to continue a show they were presenting in Sarasota. American Craft Marketing took over the facility and the dates, changed the name, to reflect the new organizers. Both the American Craft Council and American Craft Marketing have been around for quite some time. 20 years? 30 years? So, I'm not sure why this problem exists. 

Comment by Linda Schwartz on April 2, 2014 at 9:47am

When one is putting on a show involving craft artists who are American, how is one supposed to describe this event ? How about Crafts by Americans or CraftAmerica, or any crazy combo . A rose by any other name , etc… It's ridiculous.

Comment by Barry Bernstein on April 2, 2014 at 12:29pm

I agree with Greg except that you have to put the two words together "American Craft." "Crafts" is the east coast term for 3-D art--Ceramics, wood, glass, fiber, etc. I think this is mostly bluster and Richard has nothing to worry about except that it will cost him to hire a good lawyer. It may well be that Richard has more of a right to the name than the ACC, since he has run shows for 40 years and has had a continuing presence in New York with his American Craftsmen's Galleries for the same time length.

In an unrelated, but related, story John Long has been putting mouse images in his illustrations and sculptures for years, gets threats from Disney, and nothing happens because he has the right to do so. I'm no lawyer and can't really know what is going to happen. I am pulling for Richard, though.

Comment by Camryn Forrest on April 2, 2014 at 2:16pm

Apparently you CAN use this combination:

 

AMERICAN FINE CRAFT SHOW

Comment by Christina L. Towell on April 3, 2014 at 8:59am

Sounds like an interesting case...I hope we'll continue to hear how it goes.  What about North American Craft?  Good luck, Richard.

Comment by Jim Parker on April 6, 2014 at 7:46pm
How about America's Crafty Crafters? Or America's Got Crafts? Maybe Crafty Americans...
Comment by Christina L. Towell on April 7, 2014 at 9:18am

Something Crafty This Way Comes, The Bold and The Crafty, Craft Masters, Crafting With The Stars...

Comment by Connie Mettler on April 7, 2014 at 10:22am

This isn't about creating a new name. Richard has been operating under this name for a long time, it is the name of his business. His events are classy and held in upscale locations, he just wants to keep the name.

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