crockpot copyright issues?

21 replies
Hey my new product has the word crockpot in the title. I am not affiliated with the company and I didnt think about it before having it developed. Just wondering what if any copyright infringement issues could i be dealing with? thanks
#copyright #crockpot #issues
  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    Tough question.

    Although I am not an attorney, my answer is that it depends on whether the Crock-Pot company enforces its trademark.

    But given so many pages out there in the wild offering "crockpot recipes", it is a hard call.

    This may fall in a situation like Coke, Kleenex and other name brands that are used as a generic term to describe any product in the niche. It is hard to beat back common usage of a brand name as a normal word in the modern language.

    These name brands have become so popular that their names are used every day to describe their products and the products of competitors.

    If you are selling cookers -- made by you or another company -- and trying to call those items crockpots, then you might have a problem.

    If you are dealing with products that are created in crockpots, you might be safe.

    But as usual, you should not take my word to be gold.

    The only people who can truly advise you accurately are attorneys, and I am not licensed in my state or any other to practice law. :p
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    Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
    Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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  • Profile picture of the author Hallo
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by Hallo View Post

      Yea you should contact an attorney and asked but from my opinion stay away and don't risk anything because the whole copyright stuff is outta hand

      It is not out of hand. The creators of products should have the right to protect their Trademarks and Copyrights.

      The particular question asked here is a matter of Trademark, and not Copyright.
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      Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
      Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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      • Profile picture of the author Kev Stevenson
        A crockpot was a type of cooker before that company existed.

        Have you used the same punctuation as their brand name? Crock-Pot®

        I suspect you could use 'Crock Pot', 'Crockpot', 'CrockPot', etc...

        I am not an attorney (or a chef ) etc

        Kev
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  • Profile picture of the author dreadpiraterobby
    Thank You all for excellent! feedback.. @ kevin I DID use different spelling! yay! I didnt even think about that.. and my product is about crockpot recipes @ tpw. I m not selling a competitor but rather something to be cooked inside the crockpot.. But I think my cousin is an attorney maybe I can ask her for definitive answer.. Thanks for your comments I feel better about it
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    • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
      Originally Posted by dreadpiraterobby View Post

      Thank You all for excellent! feedback.. @ kevin I DID use different spelling! yay! I didnt even think about that.. and my product is about crockpot recipes @ tpw. I m not selling a competitor but rather something to be cooked inside the crockpot.. But I think my cousin is an attorney maybe I can ask her for definitive answer.. Thanks for your comments I feel better about it
      What do you mean, yay? I doubt that Kevin is an
      intellectual property lawyer. If your product is similar
      in nature, or related to the trademarked product you
      could have a serious problem regardless of the punctuation.

      Good grief. See an intellectual property lawyer as any
      smart businessperson would.
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  • Originally Posted by dreadpiraterobby View Post

    Hey my new product has the word crockpot in the title. I am not affiliated with the company and I didnt think about it before having it developed. Just wondering what if any copyright infringement issues could i be dealing with? thanks
    You can change the name to Slow Cooker.

    A Slow Cooker means the same thing as a Crockpot! Funny, huh?

    Let me explain.

    My daughter bought me a Black and Decker Slow Cooker for Christmas. However, it doesn't meet my needs (it doesn't have an automatic shut off mechanism -- you need to watch over it for 6 or 7 hours -- NO THANKS)!

    So, I thought I would do a little Google research on Slow Cookers. You know what other term came up automatically? Yup .... Crockpots.

    Therefore, I would change the wording from Crockpot to Slow Cooker ... you'll get the same result.

    Just a simmering thought

    Cheers,

    JMB
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  • Profile picture of the author dreadpiraterobby
    @jmb thanks!! I thought of that just all the books on amazon are called slow cooker recipes whereas no one is using crockpot recipes and that term autopopulates on amazon... but maybe theres a reason hmm
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    • Profile picture of the author c elias
      Hi yes there is a reason - I had crock pot in my title of a book and it was pulled from amazon and I had various emails back and forth with 'Crock-Pot' who insisted the term in all its variations were their trademark. I was made to change refs to crock pot to slow cooker inside book as well. This was after my book had been sold for a year or so...eventually they will find your book i wouldn't risk it...use Slow Cooker
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      C Elias

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  • Profile picture of the author birdie28a
    I am not a lawyer but as mentioned it can be a tricky thing. I have some clients that I build sites for that don't really care and other who insist no trade names be including in the domain.

    Personally I have never had any problems when using trademark names in any of the domains I purchased, having said that my first option is to always purchase domains that don't have any trademark words.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    As Bill said, it's trademark ... not copyright and it will depend entirely on what the trademark owner wants to do and how you use their trademark. You may get a cease and desist after the site is developed. It could happen at any time, whether immediately or a couple of years from now.

    Only a lawyer can advise you whether or not you're asking for trouble using that name.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Also not a lawyer here,
    but I've seen a lot of cookbooks specifically for crockpot recipes and think that it is not trademark infringement. Mostly trademark infringement is acted on when the word used causes confusion about your company being the same as the company with the trademarked product.

    If you are concerned about it -- why not write to, or call the company and ask if they mind that you are using the word. You can also do a patent search on the patent website to find out about actual patents that exist. Actually - I've never seen the word written in any form with the R or TM after it. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist - but I've never seen it. Are you even certain that it is a patented term? That's where to start asking questions.
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    Sal
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      Are you even certain that it is a patented term? That's where to start asking questions.
      Not patented. It is a federally registered Trademark. Here's one WIPO decision that concluded in favor of Rival defending it's Trademark against someone who registered crockpotrecipes.net

      WIPO Domain Name Decision: D2002-0265
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Maybe use a variation of slow cooker/slow cooking instead?
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  • Profile picture of the author dreadpiraterobby
    @suzanne thanks for research I will check out that link and @ nature lady that makes sense obviously I'm not trying to compete with crockpot... I think I will proceed confidently after i do a little bit more research understanding the slight risk
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  • Profile picture of the author jackpinion
    Figured I'd chime in on this since I was actually performing some research on Google about this very thing. I have a Kindle book with the term -- Crockpot -- in the title and indeed, the company that has trademarked Crock-Pot has come after me. Amazon has taken down the book and the company has told me that I can no longer use Crockpot but that I can use Slow Cooker.

    Interesting too because according to my research, this same company has also trademarked Slo-Cooker.

    I suspect they tried to trademark Slow-Cooker but were probably denied the trademark so they dropped the "w."

    To be honest, I feel we should in fact be able to use "crockpot" or "crock pot." I specifically did not use the actual trademark of "Crock-Pot" but they came after me anyway.

    And since they obviously have deeper pockets than I, I will most likely change everything to slow cooker even though I agree with the dissenting opinion in the Arbitration link given above which I had also found before coming here and sharing.

    jack
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    • Profile picture of the author onSubie
      Originally Posted by jackpinion View Post

      To be honest, I feel we should in fact be able to use "crockpot" or "crock pot." I specifically did not use the actual trademark of "Crock-Pot" but they came after me anyway.
      There is no such word "crockpot".

      It is a made-up word trademarked by Rival for the brand name. "Crock pot" as two words is also the trademark simply with the hyphen and TM omitted. The term "crock pot" has no meaning outside of the trademark.

      Much like "Kodak" and "Kleenex" are made up words.

      "Crockpot" was not a word that existed in the English language before the invention of the trademarked term.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I think this is one of those cases where the trademark holder is happy to have their TM tossed around because it brings them what we all want, more exposure and: SALES
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    • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      I think this is one of those cases where the trademark holder is happy to have their TM tossed around because it brings them what we all want, more exposure and: SALES
      Not the case with the Crockpot company. They will come after you if you use their name in the title. I have an IM buddy who used the name Crockpot in her book and it was flagged by Amazon per Crockpot's request. She had to change it to Slow Cooker.

      Shame on them for trying to trademark Slow Cooker also...but I guess you can't blame them.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    You can't always help what some overworked employee at Amazon decides, and we do not have the book title, but having a trademark does not give one a monopoly on the word for all uses - especially book titles. That is because there is typically no confusion about who the author of the book is and that they are not the trademark holder.

    Thus, no consumer confusion.

    Tons of book titles have trademarks. Including 2914 listed on Amazon today for a search on Crockpot.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author TheInternet
      Any company with a profile like that posts a trademark policy. Here's the one for the US site: https://secure.crock-pot.com/Legal.aspx

      7. The trademarks, logos, and service marks (collectively the "Trademarks") displayed on the Site, are registered and unregistered Trademarks of Sunbeam Products, Inc. and others. Nothing contained on the Site should be construed as granting, by implication, or otherwise, any license or right to use any Trademark displayed on the Site without the written permission of Sunbeam Products, Inc. or such third party that may own the Trademarks displayed on the Site. Your misuse of the Trademarks displayed on the Site, or any other content on the Site, except as provided in these Terms and Conditions, is strictly prohibited. You are also advised that Sunbeam Products, Inc. will aggressively enforce its intellectual property rights to the fullest extent of the law, including the seeking of criminal prosecution.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDawson
    Banned
    If crockpot is the only word your are worrying about, I wouldn't worry about it. if you are using a company name such as *company name* crockpot, that could be a problem.
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