Small business owner beats Saks trademark dispute

How did I miss this pun-filled story when it was first reported in the Daily News back in August?

Saks Fifth Avenue ruffled over organic doggie snacks business Snaks 5th Avenchew

EXCLUSIVE: Carrie Sarabella was sent a cease and desist letter by the luxury retailer because of the name of her doggie treat business. The ultimatum ended Wednesday and she hasn’t rolled over yet.

I certainly did not miss the denouement, as the Daily News reported yesterday:

EXCLUSIVE: New Jersey entrepreneur beats Saks Fifth Avenue in trademark dogfight

A lawyer for Carrie Sarabella, a 32-year-old small-business owner from Hoboken, argued that the name ‘Snaks 5th Avenchew’ was acceptable under fair-use law.

She gave Saks something to chew on.

A New Jersey small-business owner who sells organic doggie treats under the label “Snaks 5th Avenchew” emerged victorious from a trademark dogfight against Saks Fifth Avenue.

The luxury retailer sent Carrie Sarabella, an entrepreneur from Hoboken, a cease-and-desist letter, threatening court action if she kept using her company’s name, as the Daily News exclusively reported in August.

But Sarabella, 32, who sells merchandise online and directly to retailers, hired Sam Israel, a copyright lawyer,who fired back with a missive of his own. Israel said he argued the name was acceptable under the so-called fair-use law, which “recognizes that parody marks cause no harm to the established mark.”

I reported on a similar cease-and-desist situation, in which another woman, who had named her small business after herself, was pressured by Chanel to change it. I made quite a few sharp comments about the lack of proportion and humor displayed by big businesses when they make big bluster over their trademarks. So I’m glad Carrie Sarabella won this.

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