Hartz Mountain Corporation’s decision to try shutting us down rather than even daring to respond directly has been quite telling. More importantly, this action has caused a deafening amplification of the issue.
We couldn’t have asked for anything more! Thanks, Hartzy!
Make no mistake, this nasty little beast has been hurt bad by this move and it’s about to get bitten again.
We know about Facebook.com/BrokenHartzPets, Hartz.
Yes, Hartz has gone and infringed on the Broken Hartz servicemark again by squatting on our rightful Facebook page.
At the beginning of our campaign, Broken Hartz staff discussed Facebook but chose to come back to this front at a later date. Let the people “Whack the Crate” (“Whack the Crate” was a Hartz Facebook Game, which was available at the time of this post, but no longer is.) we said.
We have been keeping an eye on this page and, for that reason, are keenly aware Facebook.com/BrokenHartzPets was still available just a short while ago.
It was our turn to fill out a complaint.
Those of you familiar with the Broken Hartz style will find humor in our dismay at what Facebook calls a complaint form. This form doesn’t allow for much detail or claims of extenuating circumstances and asks for private information, which we had to dance around in order to get the form to submit in the first place.
What little information we could communicate caused some understandable confusion on the part of the Facebook team, leaving them with questions as to what the hell Broken Hartz was talking about.
At least we had gotten their attention.
What follows is the entire correspondence as it currently stands. Facebook has not responded yet, but we sent it to them in the middle of the night so we’re going to let that slide.
We just couldn’t resist sharing this now.
Are you ready?
“Re: Trademark Notification Complaint: #118834674907699
On Monday, March 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM, The Facebook Team wrote:
We are writing to get additional details so that we can better understand your recent report. From the information you have provided, it appears that you may be trying to allege an infringement of your trademark rights. If that is not the case, please let us know what rights you do believe are being violated or infringed (including reference to applicable statutes, if possible).
If you are indeed intending to allege trademark infringement, we would be happy to follow up but need additional information. If you wish us to follow up, please provide the following:
- Your full name
- If you are acting on behalf of a corporation or other organization that is the holder of the trademark rights, provide a description of that entity and your relationship to it
- A description of the trademark that you allege is being infringed
- An explanation of the basis for your trademark rights in any countries in which you wish to claim rights, by providing (A) and/or (B) below:
(A) If you have one or more trademark registrations, please provide the:
- Country or countries of registration
- Registration number(s)
(B) If you do not have a trademark registration or you are additionally asserting common law rights:
- Please explain your basis for asserting trademark rights
- In what country or jurisdiction are you asserting rights?
- Description of your use of the trademark in commerce, including description of the goods/services covered by the trademark
After providing your registration information and/or explanation of common law rights, please also explain how you believe the reported content is likely to cause confusion as to source, sponsorship, or affiliation, or otherwise infringes your rights.
Thank you for helping us better understand your report. We take intellectual property rights seriously and would be happy to look into this matter further upon receiving the requested information.
[Facebook Team Member]
Here is the response from Broken Hartz to Facebook. You’ll notice a few similarities to our Twitter response, naturally:
“Re: Re: Trademark Notification Complaint: #118834674907699
On Monday, March 15, 2012 at 12:31 AM, Broken Hartz wrote:
Hello [Facebook Team Member],
Thank you for contacting our organization regarding this matter. We also placed a Username infringement report, which is being handled by [Facebook Team Member] (User Operations). Please apply this response to both claims.
The Broken Hartz mission was began in direct protest to the corrupt actions of Hartz Mountain Corporation. Members of our organization experienced an issue with a Hartz flea product in mid-January.
Our affiliate made a complaint to Rite Aid Corporation, the distributor who sold them the Hartz product.
Despite being provided numerous factual details from the EPA and others regarding the unsafe nature of these products, Rite Aid Corporation dismissed our affiliate’s claims. Throughout the course of this discussion, a document from Hartz’ Resident Veterinarian, Dr. Melinda Fernyhough, was eventually submitted to our affiliate.
This document was filled with bold lies, including lies about the FDA-approved status of Hartz’ competitor products, as well as lies about the EPA’s findings regarding their Public Advisory published in March 2010.
In response to this action, we have exercised our constitutional right to protest against this unscrupulous manufacturer.
Rights to the Broken Hartz servicemark were attained naturally with the launch of BrokenHartz.Wordpress.com and the @BrokenHartzPets Twitter account on January 22nd 2012.
The Broken Hartz servicemark is a suggestive mark and the service being provided is vital public safety information about Hartz Mountain Corporation’s negligent products.
A suggestive mark evokes or suggests a characteristic of the underlying good/service. For example, the word “Coppertone” is suggestive of sun-tan lotion, but does not specifically describe the underlying product. Some exercise of imagination is needed to associate the word with the underlying product. At the same time, however, the word is not totally unrelated to the underlying good/service.
The Broken Hartz servicemark consists of the broken heart graphic and the words “broken hartz”. The broken heart suggests the pain and sorrow caused by decades of neglect by Hartz Mountain Corporation. The words “broken hartz” make Nominative use of Hartz Mountain Corporation’s trademark in order to directly identify the corporation being protested as well as to suggest the message that Hartz Mountain Corporation is guilty of breaking many, many hearts through their wanton disregard for animal welfare.
Suggestive marks are inherently distinctive, being afforded a high degree of protection.
Hartz has already tried to shut us down on Twitter due, in part, to our Nominative use of the Hartz Mountain Corporation trademark.
While Broken Hartz acknowledges we have exercised Nominative use of Hartz Mountain Corporation’s trademark, in accordance with Trademark/Servicemark law, there is an allowance for Nominative use.
- Nominative use occurs when use of a term is necessary for purposes of identifying another producer’s product, not the user’s own product.
- It is crucial to the Broken Hartz mission to ensure the public knows the information provided directly correlates to Hartz Mountain Corporation and its dangerous products.
- Hartz Mountain Corporation is not readily identifiable without using the identifier, “Hartz” or, in the case of Twitter, “HartzPets”.
- We have only used as much of Hartz’ trademark as is reasonably necessary to identify it. Our servicemark neither copies the font nor uses a similar font style, the orange color nor the rounded rectangle in the background that constitute the Hartz Mountain Corporation trademark.
- There is clearly no suggestion of endorsement or sponsorship by Hartz Mountain Corporation.
- We are not profiting in any way from the Nominative use of the Hartz trademark.
- We believe we have fair, Nominative use of Hartz’ trademark as this is protected by our first amendment rights to protest. Our motive for creating the servicemark, Broken Hartz, and its affiliated Twitter page, @BrokenHartzPets, have been created to express customer dissatisfaction through the medium of the Internet.
When presented with this Nominative use defense to Hartz Mountain Corporation’s claims, Twitter agreed with us and saw fit to drop the matter.
It is clear we are not affiliated with Hartz and if anyone is infringing on the other’s trademark/servicemark, it is Hartz Mountain Corporation upon us.
Hartz Mountain Corporation is cybersquatting on the following domains (You may need to enter a CAPTCHA to view these):
In an effort to silence our right to protest, Hartz is clearly violating our servicemark. They sought to silence us on Twitter and now Broken Hartz comes to find they are already engaged in another unethical act by infringing on our rightful Facebook page.
In regards to your question concerning what countries we claim rights to, please see the attached screenshot, providing evidence of our blog’s international scope.
This image was the file attached to Broken Hartz' response to Facebook. It shows how far the Broken Hartz message has already spread in roughly two months.
Broken Hartz has already gained natural servicemark priority in 17 countries but, as you are no doubt aware, servicemark priority extends not only to the mark’s current reach, but to any geographic area in which the mark is likely to expand as well. Seeing as how our message is spread via the internet and we have already reached so many countries in such a very short time, we feel comfortable in claiming servicemark priority worldwide for Broken Hartz and Broken Hartz Pets.
Aside from the other points mentioned, this violation further serves to confuse the public by suggesting Broken Hartz Pets is in the business of pet supplies, which is wholly inaccurate, and the fact the page is not actually being used speaks volumes.
Whoever has laid claim to this page, it clearly is not us and our servicemark rights have been violated.
Lastly, we’d like to address your request for our personal information, specifically the Username Infringement Report follow-up’s request for our name, mailing address and phone number in order to resolve this matter, along with the warning that this information is routinely shared with the organization we are reporting.
As you can surely guess, anonymity is vital to our mission and therefore, we apologize but, we simply cannot grant this request, but we offer another way to prove we are indeed Broken Hartz.
We have sent you this email from our [provider removed] account, used for official correspondences, but you’ll notice our WordPress and Twitter accounts reference BrokenHartzPets@gmail.com. Please send your response to that email account. We will forward that email to our [provider removed] account and then respond to you. This will clearly prove we are the rightful owners of the Broken Hartz servicemark.
We appreciate your time.
We all eagerly await Facebook’s response.
UPDATE: Facebook responded four days later.