Entrepreneur, Carrie Sarabella, had trademarked the name ‘Snaks 5th Avenchew,’ (@Snaks5thAve) for her gourmet dog food brand. Saks Fifth Avenue got word of this cutely named pup snack and wasn’t wagging their tail. Instead, the entrepreneur received a cease-and-desist letter from the luxury retailer. The letter claimed that “Snaks 5th Avenchew’ infringed on Sak’s well-known brand name.
This dedicated, 32-year-old small-business owner from Hoboken, New Jersey wasn’t about to roll over and play dead.
“I feel that I’m entitled to use the name with at least a little bit of a fight,” she told the Huffington Post. “What happens after today — I don’t know.” Sarabella told the newspaper.
In Sarbella’s response to the cease and desist, her lawyer argued the fair-use law. This law recognizes that parody marks cause no harm to an established mark. Her lawyer’s argument had also cited two other pet-related brands that successfully spoofed larger well-known brands. Both Tommy Holedigger and Chewy Vuitton won federal infringement suits against Tommy Hilfiger and Louis Vuitton.
After receiving Sarabella’s response, Saks 5th Avenue decided not to pursue the matter further. This gives entrepreneurs a bit of faith when having to pick a dog fight with a larger, established company in a trademark dispute. As long as you have the law and a good lawyer on your side, you may be alright.