Leo Babauta blogs on Zen Habits. Susan Jeffers is the author of a book called Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. They haven’t been introduced, but… here’s Leo’s story.
“Today I received an email from the lawyers of author Susan Jeffers, PhD., notifying me that I’d infringed on her trademark by inadvertently using the phrase “feel the fear and do it anyway” in my post last week, A Guide to Beating the Fears That Hold You Back.
The phrase, apparently, is the title of one of her books … a book I’d never heard of. I wasn’t referring to her book. I’m not using the phrase as a title of a book or product or to sell anything. I was just referring to something a friend said on Twitter.
Her lawyers asked me to insert the (R) symbol after the phrase, in my post, and add this sentence: “This is the registered trademark of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. and is used with her permission.”
Yeah. I’m not gonna do that.”
Babauta goes on to make all the right points: common phrases in the English language are not private property, what if Bill Gates took to trademarking thousands of phrases etc.
But I’m fascinated by what might happen if we complied with the Jefferses (and their lawyerses) of this world.
“So I yelled as loud as I could at the team in the last minute of the game: come on, guys, feel the fear and do it anyway! This is the registered trademark of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. and is used with her permission!”
Friend One: “I totally get that it’s scary dating again after your divorce, but you got to feel the fear and do it anyway, you know?”
Friend Two: “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
Friend One: “Damn! That was the registered trademark of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. and was used with her permission! So are you seeing the bald lawyer with the keys to his daddy’s car, or the sexy broke guitarist who looks like he’d be hot in bed?”
Friend Two: “The guitarist. Er..when exactly did Susan Jeffers give you permission?”
Friend One: “Yessss! That man is HOT! I pre-applied yesterday when we made our lunch date. The paperwork’s crazy, but sometimes you just have to use that phrase.”