Celebrity v Blogger: Is this what happens when you take off too fast?
We’ve heard of the Twitter accounts that take off: “Texts from Last Night“, “S*hit My Dad Says“, or “White Girl Problems” and become bonafide hits — landing book deals and TV show rights.
It’s a writer’s dream to become an accidental hit and get to profit off his/her comedic genius, but you’ve got to slow down and put all your ducks in the row when fame comes fast and furious.
That looks like what might have happened in the case of Canadian mom blogger Bunmi Laditan who pens the hilariously funny @HonestToddler Twitter account which boasts over 200,000 followers and recently turned into a book. Darren Starr, who created Sex and the City, even optioned the rights to convert the account with the voice of a snarky and defiant toddler into a television show.
All will be good as soon as Laditan resolves her trademark and branding dispute with actress Jessica Alba, who started The Honesty Company last year, within months of Laditan’s Honset Toddler fame.
Laditan pens TheHonsestToddler.com and The Honest company owns HonestToddler.com.
Well, it’s more than that.
The history and details of the dispute are a bit complex, so head over to The Brand Infringement Firm‘s blog to get the background. Attorney Trezanay Atkins uses the case as part of a case study on how to launch and protect a brand from trademark infringement and disputes.
In sum, Alba, a past Bellyitch Bumpwatch mom, launched the company in 2012 to promote health and safety in baby products for parents and families. When they got on the scene, owners of a parenting site and clothing company, The Honest Baby, already in existence with similar name and mission, contacted Alba and worked out a deal.
Alba and co had purchased several domain names including that for HonestToddler.com.
But that would prove to be not sufficient.
Around this same time, Laditan was seeing things take off since she launched her Twitter account on May 1, 2012. (the book and TV option followed) Laditan filed to protect the name in July 2012 for TheHonestTodder.com at the US trademark office (she lives in Texas as well) and by purchasing the domain as well. Clearly, she added “The” to the website name because she had to have known that HonestToddler.com was already taken.
The Honest Company took notice and approached Laditan for a deal as well. It seems all was well. Laditan says Alba had even talked to her about being included in the book version of the blog which was just released this past May. Alba’s Honest Company even did a funny blog interview with Laditan’s HonestToddler last September.
Things changed, as Alba’s company explained on its HonestTodder.com page.
What’s the deal now?
It’s all confusing! Is this a case of celebrity bullying mom blogger or empowered mom blogger getting juiced up from lucrative offers and using her blogging community to fight back? Who knows? Who is in the right?
Bunmi Laditan has done a bang up job of getting most, and many mom bloggers and the blogging community behind her. Some are bashing Alba’s company’s problems with its claim of being all natural and saying this is an example of a larger name trying to push a lesser known out the market. But the trademark dispute is more complex than that.
Attorney Atkins, the IP specialist, explains what each party should have done and how others can and should act to avoid getting in a similar conundrum!
When you’re done checking out Atkins’ advice, let us know your thoughts.