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Joan of Dark vs Joan of Dark vs Joan of Dark...

Ugh. Just when things are going well, off goes the google alerts! Turns out that a couple of derby skaters are using the name "Joan of Dark". My name has been trademarked for a long time. As soon as I started publishing under my alter ego, I knew it had to be protected.

Of course, not to toot my own horn, I've been lucky enough to be pretty public in a very good way. So anyone even thinking of picking up the name Joan of Dark, just needs to do a quick google and they would see me all over the place... or so I thought.

Then I get the alerts to my phone, hey! Derby girls! Skating under Joan of Dark! That's not cool! First thing, send emails. Because lawyers are expensive. As of this minute, one of the girls has not responded. The other... well, the short answer is that she said no. She actually said changing her name would cost her money and that would be "silly".

If you aren't familiar with how trademarks work, if you don't protect it, you can lose it. Which means I have to spend MY money on my lawyer to protect it for me. Which frankly, is really crappy. Believe it or not, being a knitting author and cafe owner doesn't have me rolling in money.

Not to be all "get off my lawn" here, but this whole situation sucks, and it sucks that this skater can't just be sensible about it. Instead, I've got to fight to protect what I've been building for over a decade. And from what I'm hearing from Dill Hero's announcer friends and WFTDA officials commenting on the situation, it's not just my issue, it's happening all over with a new generation of skaters not respecting classic names, especially moderate to really famous classic names.

So cheers to legal fights and derby drama!

* quick edit. For those of you that have messaged me saying "ask her nicely! Surely she'll understand!" I did. Her one line reply? "I think my new derby name will be Toni Carr;)". So no. No reason here. Also I miss old derby where we were all bitches but we were bitches in this TOGETHER. 

22 Responses to “Joan of Dark vs Joan of Dark vs Joan of Dark...”

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.
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  3. Get a life! This is outrageous, it's not like your name is beyonce!

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  5. We get, we get it, Richard. You dont understand Trademarks. Maybe if you post the same comment again we will believe you.

  6. Hey Dick, trademarking is an actual thing.

    How about you chill out and tell your girl to pick a name that ISN'T trademarked, or are your two collective brain cells too frazzled to be rubbed together?? Hell, why not have your chick use "Beyonce", since it's apparently not a big deal?

  7. Kind of repetitive. Just like your wife's name. Couldn't think of anything original to say?

  8. I'm quite away of what a trademark is. It's just that Joan of dark is not exactly a household name where we live. It was just a clever play on my wife's name. Why don't you all relax! So the name is trademarked. Give this time to sort itself out.

  9. You forgot to say "I'm sorry"

  10. whats there to sort out? A) maybe she needs a different name because she cant speak for herself, and B) the name is not legally available to use. move along.

  11. Wow, what a nasty way to respond. I can just about understand Faux Joan failing to check that the name wasn't taken, but to respond so unpleasantly when her error is pointed out? That's a really shitty way to behave.

    I hope that she and her husband rethink and realise that the appropriate response is "I'm sorry, I didn't realise. Of course I will pick a name which doesn't already belong to someone else"

  12. Dick, so your excuse is that just because your wife was unaware that the name she picked is trademarked, that makes it OK to ignore the trademark? That's not how trademarks work, buddy.

    And why doesn't your wife "relax" and pick a name that isn't trademarked? And then apologize for sicc'ing you and her friends on a stranger's page when that stranger isn't in the wrong?

    Also, you realize that announcing to the derby community that you're not nice people isn't a great way to introduce yourselves to said community, right?

  13. This is so frustrating. I know a lot of burlesque performers and drag queens go through this as well- I found a burlesque name database, and it was quite helpful, but a simple Google search could have warranted the same results in your situation. I hope this gets sorted out, and I hope you don't have to blow a ton of money on a lawyer to get the message across: Joan of Dark is a brand name, and you can't risk someone else challenging the reputation of your brand, it should be in your control alone, which is why you trademark it. That's what the real Joan of Dark is doing by trademarking and asking these knock-off Joan of Darks to cut it out. And that's why knock-off products are pursued by the law and are illegal (although I hate comparing people to objects) in America. You don't know these people and you don't know if they'll be an asset to your brand or not. It's like fanfiction: EL James couldn't have written the 50 Shades series if she hadn't written it as Twilight Fanfiction first, and then changed the names. Fanfiction is technically a copyright violation, but most authors allow it as free publicity from their fans. How can Joan tell if these "fanfiction" imitators will be good for her brand and good publicity for the Joan of Dark product line?

    To the people defending the Joan of Dark knock-offs, these imitators could hurt the real Joan of Dark's income and book sales among other things. That's really not fair or moral to screw her over. That's why she's legally trademarked herself to protect her brand and income. Play fair and admit that you didn't double-check the name, and go ahead and try changing it again... This time WITH research.

  14. Is Joan of Dark TM in Canada or for that matter. internationally? I cannot find any information to support this. I could be wrong, but If it is not, I suggest you do it.

    No one is trying to infringe, or tarnish a name. My wife has used it for 3 yrs or so, without issue. If it has to be changed to avoid legalities and slander, I'm sure she will.

  15. It is not slander when it is true. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slander

  16. Joan, I'm changing my name. I'm not changing it because you've bullied me with your legal threats or called me a thief, bitch and a dick on social media sites. Amoung the other hateful things your friends stated these could have been hurtful if they were indeed true.

    However, I know who I am! I'm a good person, a mother and a teacher. If I could take one lesson from this situation for my students and daughter it would be this... Sometimes you have to let it go and be the better person. So yes I'm changing my name and I'm changing it for the simple fact I don't want anyone ever to mistake myself for you.

    To be clear I'm not in the wrong when I say you still don't have it trademarked in Canada and have no legal basis for demanding I change my name. To be honest a simple please in your email would have gone along way. Forgive me, that when I chose my name and registered it I didn't know you existed or would have obviously sent you a courtesy email.

    I joined derby to feel empowered, to surround myself with respectful and strong women and I choose the name Joan of Dark for that very reason. But today I feel broken, deflated and overall upset that you've gone out of your way to degrade and humiliate myself and my league. Blowing out someone else's candle doesn't make yours shine any brighter.

    As passionately as you feel about your trademark case I feel equally passionate that myself, my country, my league and my friends no longer get slandered on your instagram, Facebook and blog for simply refusing to give up on something that was important to me. We aren't much different. I also have a career, a community and a derby family that means everything to me but I won't allow this harassment to take up anymore of my time and energy.

    Yours truly,

  17. There's a lot I would love to say, but I was asked by my lawyer Friday to sit on my hands while they get some work done.

    However, in the interest of clarity, I want to state that I never called you names. When I say "Don't be a dick" I'm referring to the modern day golden rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". It's a statement made by Wil Wheaton and widely spread around the internet. I'm sorry that I assume everyone is as big of a geek as me and my friends and would get that statement.

    Also, saying I called you a bitch is a stretch. I said how I missed the days when we were all bitches in this together. That's true. I'm a bitch. Most of my derby friends would call themselves bitches ;but we weren't and aren't bitches to each other. We're bitches to people who come at our other bitches.

    If my friends and supporters called you names, well, I don't control that. The same way you had no control over your friends emailing me and posting on my facebook to insult my career and my looks. (Which, quickly, can we as women just stop supporting the patriarchy and not turn to bashing a woman via her looks when we don't like her?)

    Anyway, back to sitting on my hands. Since you deleted your post on my facebook which had a lot of these statements in here, I wanted to clarify. I don't like someone thinking I called them names when I did not. And I also want to say, to everyone, I'm sorry this has been such an ugly spectacle.

  18. (cross-post ing this from Facebook)
    Dear Joan of Dark (accept no substitutes) ,

    You're awesome. You have my admiration for doing a difficult (but necessary) thing to protect your brand and the name of such which is, in fact, internationally trademarked. You are not a bully for this. You are smart. And fantastic. And impressive.

    Keep being you.

    Much love,
    Crystal (my last name is a pseudonym and I don't have it trademarked and if someone else tells me they do then I will go by something different) Wolf

  19. Joan (The REAL Joan of Dark, as Eminem would pose it),

    You've handled this with class every step of the way, from what I have seen. Whereas the friends of the other have been up to little but causing you to either doubt yourself, or to cause outright chaos. They've seemed to want to cause little but that and you've done your best to hold your head above the chaos.

    I've never seen you belittle anyone, even in real life. It's hard to think that you'd have come as far as you have, through rough times, if you weren't as supportive of others are you have always been.

    People want to normally think there is a shortcut...but you have gone the long way around and seen the good and the rough. And you've remained a shining light through whatever has come your way.

    Seeing you deal with this has been inspiring. You've not put anyone down, you've tried to be calm and understanding but also stand by your legal rights. That is not a dick move (and how anyone can miss Wheaton's "Don't be a dick" nowadays is beyond me, but that's something else)

    So keep on keeping on. Those who know you get it. Those who don't, or who want to take their frustrations at not being able to do things like a simple google search...well, if they cannot do that there is not a lot else that can be thought of.

    In short, you've got so many in your corner, and I'm quite proud to be one of them. :-)

  20. What baffles me here is people saying they are aware of what a trademark is, and then showing absolutely no awareness of what a trademark is. Joan of Dark is being accused of bullying by someone who is haranguing her for doing nothing more than what she is legally obligated to do (or else lose her trademark). Joan Dark(tm), I truly do think you've responded quite admirably. You've stated facts over and over again in the face of being called ugly, a bully, etc. without real, justifiable cause. I applaud the shit out of you. It's better than I could have done. ;)

  21. Also, by the way, a nickname is not a "clever play on your wife's name" if it has absolutely zero resemblance to said name.

  22. Miss Frizz,

    I'd like to point out that you've been in the wrong since the very beginning. Joan contacted you about a trademark infringement, as she is legally obligated to do or risk losing that trademark. You chose to respond rudely. Your friends then proceeded to attack Joan on both Facebook and her personal blog. If you are okay with their actions, that puts you further in the wrong. Please don't pretend to be taking the moral high ground.

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