Blogger Bullied To Remove Avis Logo
U.S. blogger Eric Turkewitz, a lawyer who writes a personal injury blog has been told by car rental company Avis to remove an image of its logo from his blog posting or face charges of trademark infringement.
Turkewitz wrote in a blog post about a ruling on the constitutionality of car rental company immunity from some types of negligence suits. For the post he used the logos of Hertz and Avis. He was told by Avis’s lawyers to remove the image from his post.
Fred Grumman, associate general counsel at Avis commented on the blog saying," "We have the greatest respect for your right to express your opinions on your blog, but that does not include the right to use Avis’ trademark as you have done in this particular piece."
"Understandably, trademark law is not within your area of expertise. Therefore, we trust that this was done out of ignorance and not based on an intent to misuse our mark to the benefit of your personal injury practice. We ask that you remove it immediately and refrain from any similar use in the future."
Turkewitz said he does not believe he has committed a trademark violation and asked readers in his post if the use of the Avis logo was a violation of its trademark. In response to Grumman’s request Turkewitz wrote a public post directly to him.
Turkewitz wrote," I am at a loss to figure out exactly how your trademark claim trumps my free speech rights. Since, as you believe, trademark law is not within my area of expertise, and that I am simply ignorant, perhaps now is the time for you to set forth exactly how and why I should surrender my constitutional rights to your company."
He then asks for a formal cease and desist letter. "So send me a proper cease and desist letter. Set forth for me with specificity your claims of legal superiority. You now have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and analysis in this arena since I, as you indicate, am simply too ignorant to know it myself."
The Avis logo is still in place in the original blog post and the follow-up post about the issue.