What I’ll Be Posting Tomorrow

OK you guys are not in favor of me doing this. Listening to advice doesn’t come naturally for me but I’m going to make an exception and get a little bit of rest and sleep on this. Thank you.

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Honest Company: Timeline of Events

There is a lot of misinformation floating around regarding this unfortunate saga. Sticking purely to the facts, I’d like to post the below.

This all began when I was about eight months pregnant and since then I have gained a beautiful child but lost two years worth of savings fighting this.
I’m sharing my side publicly because The Honest Company has publicly insinuated that I am lying. Read for yourself.

Mom blogger Bunmi Laditan, founder of the blog The Honest Toddler, has released the following Statement of Facts to clarify any questions surrounding the recent trademark dispute with Honest Company.  First and foremost, the U.S. Patent Trademark Office granted preliminary approval and published The Honest Toddler’s trademark before The Honest Company attempted to block it.

Second, there is no evidence that consumers are likely to confuse the brands.  Many companies operate successfully with similar names.  For example, have you ever bought Ritz crackers expecting to be making a hotel reservation at Ritz hotels? Of course not.  Consumers can differentiate between different companies that both use the word “honest.”

Mom of 3 kids, Bunmi is a well-meaning, honest and hilarious writer who uses her social media pages to provide humor to parents.  Her posts quickly grew into a significant online following that resulted in a book deal and optioned TV series by Hollywood producer Darren Star (producer of Sex & The City).

The Honest Company has even praised Bunmi’s blog and publicized it to their audience.  Mom blogger Honest Toddler has no desire to harm The Honest Company in any way and has never tried to interfere with their business.  “I am saddened that The Honest Company has resorted to these threatening legal tactics against a mom blogger.  Many companies use the term ‘honest’ and consumers are not confused.  I am even more shocked that The Honest Company has resorted to misinforming its customers and betraying the public in an attempt to save face.  We are all moms trying to face parenthood honestly, just in different ways.” says Bunmi Laditan.

There has been a lot of misinformation circulated online.  Here are the honest facts about what has happened.

March 2012: The domain name honesttoddler.com is purchased by The Honest Company but is NOT used as a live website until July 2013.

May 1, 2012: Mom blogger Bunmi Laditan launches Honest Toddler twitter account on Twitter (Bunmi had no knowledge of The Honest Company’s ownership of honesttoddler.com)

Purchasing a domain name costs about $15. It does not give you exclusive rights to a name. If it did, there are many others who could claim exclusive use of Honest concepts. HonestKids.com was purchased in 2006. Before the Honest Company existed.

honestkids

HonestKids is also a popular line of juice. They do not own HonestKids.com. Somehow, they co-exist.

honestkidsjuice

The mom behind HonestFamily.blogspot.ca has been blogging since 2010. The Honest Company purchased HonesetFamily.com in 2012. No one is claiming confusion to the marketplace on this one. Why?

honestfamilyco

honestfamilyblog

In March 2013, Honest Company founder Jessica Alba published, The Honest Life. HonestLiving.org was established in 2010.

honestlifebook

Not affiliated with Jessica Alba's Honest Life book.

Not affiliated with Jessica Alba’s Honest Life book.

The mom behind HonestMom.com blogs about motherhood, raising daughters, humor and depression. In March of 2013, she was interviewed on television by Katie Couric.

honestmomimage

thehonestmom1

THEHonestMom.com also exists. From her website, it seems as if she has been blogging since 2011. Somehow, thehonestmom.com and honestmom.com coexist.

September 5, 2012: The Honest Company interviews Mom blogger Honest Toddler, praises the hilarious blog, The Honest Toddler, and publishes the Honest Toddler interview on its blog (which is a bizarre thing to do if The Honest Company is so worried about consumers being confused by Honest Toddler!)

LOls

September, 2012: Book publisher Simon & Schuster offers Bunmi Laditan a book deal based on The Honest Toddler blog and Twitter feed.

September 27, 2012: Mom blogger Bunmi Laditan files the Honest Toddler trademark application with U.S. Patent Trademark Office

April 2, 2013: U.S. Patent Trademark Office finds that Honest Toddler’s trademark is not confusing with any current marks, grants preliminary approval, and publishes the mark.

April 20, 2013: The Honest Company contacts Mom blogger Honest Toddler and offers to license her the use of the trademark for 365 days ONLY if she withdraws the trademark application.  After 365 days, Laditan would be required to stop using the name Honest Toddler in all forms, including on her blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, television series, and future books.

May 20, 2013: The Honest Company threatens to block the Honest Toddler trademark unless blogger mom Bunmi Laditan agrees to the license agreement that would limit her use of the mark to 1 year.

May 21, 2013: The Honest Company enters official Notice of Opposition against the application filed by blogger Bunmi Laditan for the mark “Honest Toddler”.

June, 2013: Darren Star  (producer of Sex & The City) options the rights to Honest Toddler for a potential TV show.

July 23, 2013: The Honest Company’s attorneys send a letter to Hollywood producer Darren Star and mis-informs Mr. Star that his intended use of the “Honest Toddler” constitutes trademark infringement (which is a legally and factually false statement).

July 28, 2013: The website honesttoddler.com is launched by Honest Company with a tirade about mom blogger Bunmi Laditan’s refusal to withdraw her rightfully filed trademark application.

Myth: The Honest Company is protecting its business names.

FACT: The Honest Toddler was the first to use the mark in commerce and had no desire to prevent the Honest Company from using the word “honest” to promote its line of eco-friendly baby products. Many companies operate successfully with similar names.  Consumers are not confused by Dove Soap and Dove Chocolates.

Myth: The Honest Company offered a license to Honest Toddler to use the trademark “Honest Toddler” forever and for free

If this is true, why can't we just sign a Do Not Compete agreement?

If this is true, why can’t we just sign a Do Not Compete agreement?
Img source: Perezitos/ABC

Video Source: http://perezhilton.com/perezitos/2013-07-29-jessica-alba-suing-mom-over-twitter-account-name-similar-to-the-honest-company#.UffIl1P48v1

FACT: The Honest Company offered a license for the Honest Toddler to use the trademark only for 365 days.  This would prevent Honest Toddler from using this mark beyond 365 days from the date the license agreement was signed.

Myth: The Honest Toddler trademark is in a class that would be confusing with the marks owned by Honest Company

FACT: The Honest Toddler’s mark is in a trademark class specifically for media and entertainment, which is fitting for a mom blogger.  All but one of Honest Company’s trademarks are in different trademark classes.  Their only mark in the same class as The Honest Toddler is HonestBaby, which they purchased from a mom blogger in 2012, but do not use in commerce.  If searched, the link simply re-directs consumers to The Honest Company’s main page.

Myth: Consumers are confused by the similarities between The Honest Company and The Honest Toddler.

FACT: The Honest Company sells eco-friendly baby products.  The Honest Toddler writes a hilarious blog about parenting. There is no evidence of consumer confusion.  The public can easily differentiate between Ritz crackers and Ritz hotels and can also differentiate between The Honest Company and The Honest Toddler.  The Honest Company was so impressed by The Honest Toddler, that they interviewed The Honest Toddler, praised her success, and posted the interview on their blog!  The only thing that is confusing is why The Honest Company intentionally praised and publicized an alleged competitor that would lead to confusion.

thehonestinfantimage

Thank you, Honest Company

Last night I was in a place darker than any place I’ve ever had the displeasure of visiting. To say the fog was thick would be the understatement of a lifetime. Months of tension, weeks of fear, days of anger led up to a 12 hour obsessive Internet checking, reading, responding and defending marathon. I’d heard things would get ugly and they did. What was once a fun, for the first time felt like a job. And a bad one at that.

But I’m a strong woman, right? I can handle it. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. And then it happened. Not a physical death. No flowers, procession of loved ones, or long speeches about a life well lived. Just an all-encompassing mental retreat. I felt a walking crime scene. A zombie. Despite the outpouring of support, I found myself facing my own personal night.

I tortured myself, playing the day’s events in my mind over and over. Rather than focus on the positive comments, I put the words “she lied” “she stole” “she mislead” on repeat. I imagined someone standing on a raised platform shouting the accusations to a listening crowd of thousands. “SHE LIED” “SHE STOLE” “SHE MISLEAD” over and over. I could feel the burn of being raked over coals.

Pretty soon the chants changed to “SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD” and before I knew what was happening I was shouting along with the crowd. “SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD!” I wasn’t saying the words out loud but letting them find rest inside of me felt like the same thing.

Maybe sticks and stones would have been better. At least I’d have physical evidence, real scars to match what was growing behind my eyes.

If you’ve seen The Perfect Storm you’re probably haunted, as I am, by once of the final scenes. Mark Wahlberg’s character is left alone, without a ship, without a crew, floating on massive dark waves. They waves are viciously unapologetic and majestic, in the way mother nature so often is. In those final moments what was the doomed fisherman thinking? Even though death was a certainty, he still had a choice: sink or swim. In that moment, he could still decide. Alone and face to face with his end, he was not completely without options.

After the children had gone to sleep, I went opened my front door and went outside. The thick humidity of day had broken into a tremendous downpour of rain. The weather conditions had left the streets devoid of man and only the occasional car passed by. I took a seat on the stoop. My body was soaked in a matter of minutes plastering my dress to me like shrink wrap. Sink or swim. I couldn’t decide. With every wave that tossed me up and then down again, it was getting harder and harder to catch my breath. Not because there was no air, it was all around me, the fear just gobbled it up before I had a chance to partake. What would they say about me next? When will they say it? Who will hear it? Who will believe them? When? Who? What? When? Where? What? Who? When? What if? Why? My arms grew limp and the water rose to cover my mouth and nose. In one single action I slipped below the surface and eyes closed. Silence. The terror of losing myself to the nothingness was immediately calmed by the relief of no longer having to fight against the current.

I didn’t dare open my eyes for fear of what I might see. I could hear deep echos in the distance, not the beautiful sort made my whales, but a deep familiar groan. No longer in charge of my movements, I traveled to wherever the undertow dictated. We made the memory rounds visiting every ghost I thought I’d packed away. For a moment I entertained the idea of making a grab at the surface, using all of my strength to push myself upward but as quickly as the thought came, it was rebutted. Surely it’s better to get used to my new home rather than risking experiencing the descent again. Because isn’t the fall the worst part? We’re scared of the plane crash but utterly terrified of the moments preceding it.

Morning came and and I was still frozen. I was given an ultimatum: either get help or I’d be driven to a hospital. Three hours later I was sitting across from a professional. I felt comfortable in her medium-sized office and tried my hardest to look normal. I spoke. Explained everything.

“They said…” “I felt…” “Why…”

She listened.  As the words left my mouth, some of the sting did, too. I continued.

“I just can’t take the idea of people thinking these things about me. I feel like my name is ruined. I don’t know why this is happening.”

She paused and looked at me intently.

“It’s happening so that you can find out who you are.”

What.

“What?”

“When you know who you are, anyone can say anything to you without you internalizing it.”

“But they’re saying I’m__________.”

“Are you?”

“No.”

“Then who are you.”

I almost said, “Who do you want me to be” but decided to take a moment to think.

“I’m nice.”

“Are you a good person?”

“Yes.”

“Then why does it matter what they said.”

“Because people might believe them.”

“But what do you believe.”

And suddenly, the realization that what I believe about myself is more important than what anyone else does fell on top of me like a cloak. It was slightly ill-fitting and felt rather uncomfortable to be honest, but it was mine.

The “SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD SHE’S BADs” grew quieter. I felt a small glow begin to emerge in my center and it frightened me. No gifts, please. I’ve gotten used to this drowning thing.

“It’s time for you to stop listening to the negativity and find your own voice. Who are you?”

“I know who I am,” I said tentatively like a child taking their first wobbly steps, “I’m kind. Stubborn. Smart.”

I started feeling self-conscious and couldn’t contain a shy smile.

After I’d finished, she went on, “One day you’re going to thank this company.”

I laughed loudly but it only took three or four seconds to realize she was on to something.

Up until that moment in her office I’d always acted based on who I am but had also used other people’s trash to piece together my self-image. Compliments were deflected or held in my hands awkwardly the way an amateur chef would handle truffles. But criticisms: whether constructive or shot to kill, those would be picked apart like a chicken dinner and consumed down to the cartilage.

On the drive home I sat in the passenger’s seat and watched the rain make hieroglyphics on the windshield. “Sink or swim,” I was asked again. Swim. Most definitely, swim.