Common Law Trademark and Copyright Information and How I Did NOT Steal a FB Group's Name
My business' names are not registered with the State or Feds. This is very costly and not required by law to own a trademark and we'd still have to pay for lawyers to fight it out in the end should someone try to infringe on our marks. In Pennsylvania, a person owns or has a right to their "Common Law Trademark" or "Registered Trademark" if they used it first in commerce. Opening a Facebook group page does not give anyone a right to their name being a Trademark unless they can establish that they used their name "in commerce" as a business making sales before anyone else has. Posting pics of yourself smoking pot on Facebook does not establish anything trademark wise, that's just a pipe dream.
On December 23, 2018, I purchased the domain name www.Keystoners.net which was the first act of many in commerce for my business with the same name. Getting an URL is more important for a business than a Facebook page. That same day another person started a Facebook "group page" with the same name.
On December 25, 2018 I opened a Facebook "business page" with the name Keystoner. I have been playing around with several different names and settled on this one and a few others. I own more than one trademark name for my cannabis related businesses and products.
Two weeks later, I registered the Fictitious Names of my businesses with the State of Pennsylvania as required by law and was granted the right to conduct business, sell or provide services under these entity's names in the State of Pennsylvania.
A week after that, I posted on my personal Facebook page, for my friends to see, that I was looking for investors for my businesses. Given my history in the Tri-State area of being a very popular stage clothing fashion designer, "Dezines by Eva O." and owning shops like "The Coolest Store In Town" I immediately got friends to sign business contracts.
Once we were near ready we posted our first ad mid February which is when the administrator of the Facebook group's page found out about our Facebook page and proceeded to harass me and sabotage our ad campaign and business page and got his members to attack me and our business page by inciting them with the lies he was spreading.
This admin was given dated documentation proving I could not have stolen their group's name and was never told he could not use the name for their "group," (they have a right to use it for their group just not in commerce, there's a difference) yet he continued spreading lies, willfully and maliciously, defaming our business and my reputation, not just in his group but in the cannabis community. I have screenshots and saved communications to prove what I've stated and that this person committed Defamation of Character and even more seriously Trade Libel and Commercial Disparagement.
I have been using the Keystoner's name in commerce since I bought www.Kesytoners.net on December 23, 2018 and have been actively purchasing items, providing services, making and selling products and building the business while using Keystoner, Keystoners, Keystoner 420 and Keystone 420 on our designs, products and ads like a legitimate business should.
All this takes time and does not happen over night. This administrator further defamed us by insinuating that we were "doing something wrong" to not have more "likes" for our page than his. We were not looking for "likes" as we are/were in the process of building our business, inventory and making things but wanted to secure the Facebook business page, before someone else did. We were not going to advertise or build a following in a public manner let alone on a grand scale until we were ready to do so.
We have not gone after this individual just yet. We are waiting for them to attempt to use a name similar to ours in commerce. Once that happens we will sue them for everything they've done and for our trademark infringement.
I apologize for airing dirty laundry but we continue to experience a stigma in the cannabis community because of his lies and to be accused of stealing his group's name and I just wanted to clear the air as it has gone even more widespread in the cannabis community than we thought.
While I'm at it, anybody can use a keystone icon with a pot leaf inside of it as these are both "common objects" and anyone can use them for their logos as long as they do not look similar to another entity's artwork as that would be a copyright infringement.