I received the following comment from The Lifestylist, author of http://lifestylistdesign.blogspot.com, on May 17, 2007:
"Please stop using the term Lifestylist as it is a trademarked term and can not be used without the permission of the real Lifestylist."
This is not the first time that this person has sent me such a notice. The first one, sent on April 3, 2007, even contained threat of legal action:
"Hi- I'm sure that you aren't aware, but the term Lifestylist(r) is a trademarked term and can't be used by anyone without my permission. Please take this term off you site and anywhere else that it's in use within 10 days to avoid legal action. Google and Blogger have been informed of the violation."
I registered with Blogger in March 2007 and they allowed me to use the username "thecitylifestylist". I posted my first entry on March 29, 2007 and began signing my posts as "The Lifestylist". I also registered at MyBlogLog as "thelifestylist" and was allowed to do so.
According to her Blogger User Stats, she has only been on Blogger since April 2007, and her first entry on her first Blogger blog was on April 1, 2007. It is clear, therefore, that I have not committed any violation, as she alleges.
We informed Blogger of her complaint and they sent the following as their reply to such allegations:
"It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the text of which can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office website: http://lcWeb.loc.gov/copyright/ ) and other applicable intellectual property laws, which may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity.
To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail, not by email) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that pursuant to that Act, you may be liable to the alleged infringer for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that you own an item when you in fact do not. Indeed, in a recent case (please see http://www.onlinepolicy.org/action/legpolicy/opg_v_diebold/ for more information), a company that sent an infringement notification seeking removal of online materials that were protected by the fair use doctrine was ordered to pay such costs and attorneys fees. The company agreed to pay over $100,000. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney."
Clearly, Blogger warns against false accusations such as hers.
Still, I began to sign my posts as "The CityLifeStylist" as a courtesy. I could not, however, change my MyBlogLog username. I believe there is nothing wrong with keeping my account, either, since the term "lifestylist" is being widely used, as can be seen on the Internet.
The Lifestylist claims that the term "lifestylist" is a trademarked term that belongs to her. Searching the term "lifestylist" on Google, however, brings over 23,000 results. The first three pages alone produce the following:
1. http://www.luxurylifestylist.com (Sonya Crew and Laticia Booker)
2. http://www.tinadunne.com (Tina Dunne calls herself "Lifestylist" and owns the "Lifestyle Company," launched in 2003.)
4. http://www.lifestylistcoaching.com.au (Pam Hausler)
6. http://mylifestylist.blogspot.com (Blog title: "The LifeStylist")
7. http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2004/edition_07-11-2004/in_step_with_0 [Parade.com article title: Chris Madden ("Lifestylist" and writer) by James Brady]
8. http://lifestylism.blogspot.com (Post entitled "Artist as Lifestylist"; list of links called "Lifestylists")
9. http://activerain.com/lema (My LifeStylist Inc., owned by Leanne Martin, covering Real Estate, Interior Design, Wardrobing and Art Projects.)
10. http://www.lifestylist.us (Bettina, a lifestyle consultant from Orange County, California)
And the list goes on and on...
I hope this finally brings this issue to rest.