ESRB Recants Over T-Shirt Parody Trademark Cease & Desist Threat
Categories: Trademark Cases
I reported on November 10 that the ESRB had sent cease and desist letters to Kotaku, The BBPS and others concerning their reporting on a T-Shirt that parodies the ESRB logo (see the offending logo on the t-shirt depicted to the left). Despite being notified by Kotaku that the post is editorial content and not an advertisement for the sale of a T-shirt, the ESRB continued to demand the removal of the post.
The ESRB has since recanted and sent a letter to BBP&S (no workd on Kotaku yet) containing the following:
The ESRB Rating Icons are valuable trademarks of ESA, and we must be vigilant in protecting them against unauthorized commercial uses, lest our trademark rights become diluted. At the same time, we also understand and respect the First Amendment rights of those who, like bitsbytespixelssprites disseminate news and information.
That said, we have taken a second look at this issue and concluded that bitsbytespixelssprites was reporting on a product in the marketplace, and is not involved in distributing or marketing this product, and thus did not engage in any conduct sufficient to trigger the issuance of the cease and desist letter we sent. Please accept our apologies. I am happy to discuss this with you further if you so desire.