Hello!! My name Inigo Montoya, you kill my father.. prepare to die.
No, wait.. that’s not right..
Hello! My name is Hot Mess Mom! I am the sole owner of Hot Mess Events & Entertainment. I write a blog. I hold events. I sell merchandise.
One morning in 2012, I got out of the shower, wrapped in a towel and said to myself
Self? You know what would be funny? Water bottles with “there’s a chance this is vodka” written on them. Ha Ha Ha!! You are soooooooo funny!
So, I called my printer, ordered a few cases of bottles and had him print them. My invoice for this order was $1500. I had no money and no guarantee that they would sell, but I went out on a limb and did it. It took me 6 months to sell those first cases. SIX MONTHS! At this time, I contacted the #2 Trademark attorney in the U.S. and began the process of trademarking that phrase on all drinkware. I believed it had potential and would catch on.
My attorney ran an extensive search, going back TEN YEARS… there was not a single item ANYWHERE ON THE INTERWEB other than hotmessmom.com that contained that slogan. I decided to proceed.. paid another $2500 and waited another 6 months for my trademark application to be approved by the UNITED STATES PATENT & TRADEMARK OFFICE.
In the meantime, sales continued to grow and I was now stocking up to $20,000 of merchandise at a time, in my home!!
Since this time, there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of “there’s a chance this is vodka®” items popping up all over the internet. I’ve been called a bully and other super-flattering names for attempting to defend my trademark. NOT by the people who are making the knock-offs, mind you.. by other random FB pages and people with nothing better to do.
This is the letter I send to each ETSY shop when a violation is found. (Note.. this letter comes from ME, not my attorney, cuz I’m fucking nice
I am so sorry to contact you this way. I am the owner of Hot Mess Events & Entertainment and we hold a registered trademark in the U.S. for the slogan “there’s a chance this is vodka” on all drinkware.
My attorney runs violation searches monthly, but I asked that he let me contact you personally instead of sending a legal cease & desist letter. I am a huge supporter of many Etsy shops.. I do NOT hold a trademark on any other beverage slogan other than “vodka”…. so you are free to continue selling all of your other items.
Please remove the “there’s a chance this is vodka” drinkware from your product offering. I appreciate your understanding in this matter.
Both Zazzle and Cafe’ Press have shut down shops that were offering knock offs, and continue to do so as more crop up.
I honestly believe that MOST of the violators just see a pic on Pinterest, think “Oh, that’s cool” and then make it. 95% of these folks apologize immediately and take the product off of their listing. However, the other 5%… it’s the other 5% that cost me thousands of dollars each year in additional attorney fees to defend something that I OWN. I OWN it. It was MY idea. It’s been on the interweb so much and gone so viral over the past year, that you may think to yourself.. ‘but I’ve seen this around forever!!”. You haven’t. Remember.. we did a 10 year search. My slogan was not ANYWHERE on ANY item..
Why am I writing this?
I have no idea.. I’m tired of defending myself to assholes who say “you can’t trademark words“. Really? Cuz the US Government says otherwise and if I could trademark “you’re a douchecanoe twatwaffle fucktarded cuntholio” I totally would.
If you see a shop on Cafe Press selling these mugs, do you know what it takes for them to do that? An email address. That’s it. They have no stock, no risk, no inventory. Cafe Press owns the product, and the shop-owners receive $2.00 for each item sold. My packaging cost is more than $2.00 per item!
I decide every month if I’m going to pay my mortgage on time or order more inventory. (Again.. because I’m using my profits on attorney’s fees defending my own idea). I spend about 60 hours a week PACKING AND SHIPPING orders. I do it 100% myself. No staff, no help, no warehouse. ME. So, yes, I get a little pissy when some Tom, DICK, or Harry enters an email on Cafe Press and starts profiting off of my idea.
Soooo.. I’m sorry for the rant. But God Bless.. I’m at my wits end.
Anyhoo.. Here is a pic of the LEGAL “there’s a chance this is vodka®” merchandise. I continue to add items as my bank account allows. If you see one that is not shown below, it’s not mine, and therefore an illegal knock-off.
Now, I’m off my soapbox. Let’s get back to the funny!
(And don’t vote for me down there on that banner. I’m not even on that site anymore.. I just can’t figure out how to remove the banner cuz I’m an idiot)
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