What is it with insane NY-related bureaucrats and their attempts to “own” things? In the past, we’ve covered how New York State is a pretty big trademark bully over the “I ♥ NY” phrase, and did you know that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) claims ownership over the phrase “If you see something, say something”? And, now, we find out that the controversy-ridden Port Authority of NY and NJ appears to be claiming ownership of the NYC skyline. No joke. It apparently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Fishs Eddy, a housewares store in Manhattan that is selling some city themed dishes.
A few months back, we covered New York State’s unfortunate decision to engage in base IP trolling. The state farmed out its rights to a property rights management firm, who then started bringing outrageous claims alleging violations of Albany’s trademark on “I ♥ NY.” Specifically, the firm in question not only pressured a coffeehouse into ending its “I [coffee cup] NY” campaign, but then asked for an accounting of the profits to calculate a damages claim.
Sadly, New York has not since exited the trolling world.
A couple weeks back, a new set of attorneys for the New York State Department of Economic Development — the agency holding the trademark — sent a threatening letter to a model train manufacturer.
And the manufacturer fired back in kind…
Move over Prenda, there’s a new IP troll in town and it’s New York State.
Or at least the third-party agency assigned to protect New York’s trademark, and it’s harassing everyone it can find over an iconic image that few would recognize as a trademark.
But what elevates this trolling to a new level is that enforcing this trademark actually frustrates the mission of the holder. And isn’t promoting the business of the holder kind of the whole point of intellectual property protection?
And what really elevates this case is that the IP troll is literally sticking it to the Everyman…