11.15.2007

In Lieu of sulu

I'm trying - trying - to take the high road and not bitch and moan about this. But seeing as this is the first time that I've allowed a swear word (swear is what we said back in Ohio... it's a curse word for those of you who don't speak Midwest) to sneak it's way into a post, you can probably tell that my feathers a more than a bit ruffled.

I've been dealing with a trademark infringement accusation that a company in Germany made to Etsy against me, and with the amazing help of a brilliantly skilled and knowledgeable intellectual property rights lawyer, was able to prove that I have committed no such infringement. Unfortunately, Etsy is more motivated by the German company's threat than by my year-long loyalty to Etsy as both a customer and paying shop proprietor, and they will not recognize the validity of the legal evidence that they were provided until they hear back from the German company, who is suddenly not responding to any of Etsy's e-mails.

So I was forced to make changes that take effect today, and I'm completely sick to my stomach about it. Etsy demanded that I change my shop name from sulu. This was really hard for me, as I've honestly busted my butt for the past several years to build up some sort of name recognition to go with my designs, and now I feel like it's being pulled out from under me. With the holidays coming, and what I was hoping would be a successful Etsy season for sulu-design on its way, I'm now worried that shoppers won't find me on-line. I asked the Etsy team for assurance that those who attempt to visit my shop at www.sulu.etsy.com will be redirected to the new shop. It doesn't look like that's going to happen.

I've been trying to put this all in perspective and find whatever humor I can in the whole thing, and Barry has been helping immensely. In fact it was he who came up with the new shop name (which hopefully will one day be changed back, when the German company acknowledges their misinterpretation of trademark law). Initially, Barry thought that playing on the "lu" in "sulu" would be funny... like in lieu of "sulu".... "sulieu." As we continued brainstorming, Barry came up with an even better idea. Since I am forced to change the name of my shop since Etsy fears legal action from the German company, the new name is really a move to keep Etsy from getting sued. Therefore, may I present you with my my new etsy shop: suelieu. Same prices, same designs, same pronunciation. New insanely contrived spelling.

www.suelieu.etsy.com is open for business
Thanks, friends.

53 comments:

LeeAnn said...

Holy Moly! What an ordeal! I really hope Etsy/Germany can clear this up pronto. I am stressing just reading about this. *Here's* to suelieu.

lindsey said...

Oh my word. I am so sorry to hear this. What an unfortunate mess, that I don't think you deserve. I love the new name - very creative! - but my wish is that this will be over soon so you can get everything back in order! Best wishes!

Rhea said...

I LOVE your items, I'm so sorry this has happened!

AND all the items I have been coveting in 'my favorites' are still listed with your new name, as are my purchases, so I'm sure previous customers would find you no problem.

So what is the name of that German Co. ;)

Karin said...

what a nightmare! i'm sorry that this has happened to you.
i typed sulu.etsy.com in my browser and i got to that "i am error" page on etsy. i also tried to search the username sulu but got nothing. that's really bad that they couldn't make the redierction thing work before forcing you to change username!

erin said...

oh susan. this just sucks. so so sorry for you. hugs.

HG said...

What a freaking nightmare. What is the German company? I'd like to make sure to not patronize them.

kat said...

holy crap!
As if anyone needs this during the holidays!

SO sorry Susan that you are dealing with this + that Etsy isn't being so responsive. How frustrating. I'm sure this is taking up a lot of precious time trying to resolve this.

On a positive note :) Your new name is terrific and I am sure people will find you.

Keep smiling! What is it that they say – don't let the bastards get you down!

Artsy Momma said...

Oh honey! Keep your chin up and swear as much as you want I would. (I am from the Midwest so I know what you are talking about). Love the temporary name, I find it quirky and EXTREMELY appropriate for the situation.

liz elayne said...

first, just a quick note to say that it did totally take me to the new shop when i typed it in earlier today...and i did notice but thought maybe i just hadn't noticed the other spelling all along. :)

second, i am so sorry you are dealing with this. that is so crappy. i hope it works itself out soon! but your interim name is brilliant, simply brilliant!!

mariss said...

I dig the new name! The situation sucks though, and your swearing was fine ;)

I just checked out your etsy site and your 573 people who have you as a favorite seller! It appears to me to have switched over automatically, so I'll cross my fingers for you.

Your branding is great, and I think people will still know who you are, and the word will spread.

In the meantime, good luck, and keep ya head up.

jen j-m said...

oh, no! i feel sick to my stomach thinking of the stress this must be causing you. i'm sorry.
anyhow, cheers to the new you, suelieu!

junkdrawer said...

ugh!!! that stinks! I hope that this gets cleared up quick! suelieu....I love it!

maritza said...

Gah! That sucks! I am sorry to hear that, but it sounds like you are handling it extremely well and that etsy is being helpful. I like the new name and the humor that it reflects.

Eliza said...

How maddening and totally unfair. I hope everything gets resolved in the best way possible for you.

dad said...

kat was right on...maybe you'll recall that my
advice to all three of my special people was "don't let the turkeys get you down!!!"
l,d

whiteapple said...

Oh man! I'm just waiting for the people over at that computer company to come a knocking with a lawsuit!
I think that the Etsy search engine has a few issues anyway, but they did transfer all of your fans who favourited you, so you're not lost to the world of shoppers!
I hope this gets resolved in your favour, re-branding stinks!

Bonnie said...

So sorry you are struggling with this Suzy!

ambika said...

Holy shit! (can I swear since you did? And I can't remember if I said 'swear' or 'curse' growing up but I tend to say both these days.)

I really hope this comes out in your favor. I see lots of accusations around all of this copyright stuff in the forums and I'm sad to see it affect anyone I (feel like) I know.

linda p said...

ugh, that really sucks. :(

picperfic said...

whatever your name, I will find you..I am getting a bit hooked on your stuff! Hope you get things sorted to your satisfaction soon...x

Village Vegan said...

Oh, NO!!!!! I'm so sorry that this horribly undeserved mess happened to you, and at such a bad time, too. It's horribly unfair, but at least you're able to be somewhat positive about your new name. I hope this will work out for you!

casey said...

Oh my golly!!! I'm so sorry this whole legal mess happened to you!!! :( *sending lots of good thoughts your way*

Bruce Katlin said...

I love the new name and now I will up my company's insurance!

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

It's all been said already, but I truly hate to hear one more story like this from the Etsy world. We all found something so great, making something out of what we did in our homes, but when this happens, it seems scary.
Take care, sweet Sulu

Wende said...

OMG, it's official. The world has gone insane.

Sweetie, I'm so, so sorry. Damn. I'm off to favorite you ASAP. Sheesh.

abbyjane said...

Oh Susan. I'm so sorry! This is just terrible. I like the humor in the new name, but you will always be sulu to me. I love love love the earrings I just recently bought. I hope this all gets resolved quickly and they see the error of their ways!

The Lenart's said...

The world is turning up side down. And I have no idea about property rights, but what does Germany have to do with American Etsy? Beyond me.
Anyway, I wish you all the best and I will be buying some Christmas presents from you soon. It does not matter if you are sulu or suelieu.

amandajean said...

oh. my. goodness.

I can't imagine the stress that this ordeal is putting you through. how crappy of the German company to make a big stink and then to quit responding to etsy's emails. I am mad right along with you!

hugs to you, my dear.

Lynn said...

Oh I am so sorry this happened. I do think that suelieu is hilarious, and I am really glad that you are trying to find humor in this horrible situation! Anyway, keep up the good work with your beautiful earrings!

emily said...

oh, the bullies! That seems so terribly anal. I hope it all gets sorted out quickly. Such frustration! I'm mad for you.

emily said...

Is it the company Sulu by Kerstin Bernecker (I googled)? And if it is, will you let us email them and tell them what we think? Because they might need to know...

Debi said...

That sucks but brava for rising above it Sue! Your class will win out in the end!

Erin Lang Norris said...

UGH, how terrible. I can't even imagine how turned your world feels right now. What a disaster.

On a lighter note, your new name rocks! I like the thought process behind it :)

feli said...

I have 2 of your lovely pieces and I am speechless with the ordeal.

(((HUGS)) Here is Suelieu!!

Robyn said...

Oh Susan! That really, really stinks. I know things will work out in the end. Here're some hugs (((((hug))))). :0)

Miss Twiss said...

You're so on my hot list! With your permission, of course. May I?

Funky Finds said...

omg! i can't believe you are having to deal with this! but i have to say, the new take on your biz name is beyond clever & hilarious! hang in there. and don't worry about customers finding you. we will make sure they do!

Melissa said...

ugh! what a nightmare! i hope those idiots answer you soon so etsy can stop being difficult.

i understand etsy's position on this, but why is it always one company's word over another. just like when yahoo totally ditched our LIC knit group for the whole SnB fiasco (when we didn't even mention SnB!!) yes, etsy needs to protect themselves, but there are always 2 sides of a story with these things.

i'm sure people who are devoted to you won't have a problem finding out where you are though! they will do the extra searching to find you since your stuff is so nice!

Tracy Harris said...

That totally sucks, I'm sorry to hear that. Our identities are so important to us as artists, and as businesspeople. Booo German company!

Michelle said...

Wow, this is completely ridiculous. I hope it gets resolved soon. Chin up!

Jill said...

I am so sorry to hear of this mess. I will be sure to find you at your new shop name. Good luck!

beki said...

Oh my gosh, that's just sickening! I'm so sorry. That ROYALLY SUCKS!

Chickenbells said...

Well...that completely sucks ass! I can't believe that they won't accept the paperwork and whatnot, AND not redirect people either? ...ugh. How terribly annoying...specially since the German Company isn't responding anymore...phoey! I hope that it doesn't slow down your sales...and that people continue to find you...

shy_smiley said...

I'm inspired by your sense of humor. What a debacle. A change of name doesn't affect the quality of your designs... I'm continually in awe of your Original Intent project. The creamer photo and earrings really spoke to me. But I'm busy getting ready for a garage sale in the morning so I haven't been checking my blogs as much lately. I hope I'll make some change and a subsequent visit to suelieu... silver lining, friend! Take care.

Erin said...

Oh Susan how upsetting. I am so sorry this has happened to you! I know how hard you have worked for that name, and it's an awesome one that one day you shall get to use again.

Prayes and Big big (((HUGS))) coming your way! Don't worry we will still find you and shop SULU DESIGNS!!!!!

kait said...

So sorry to hear abut this! Definitely not what one needs this time of year (or ever)! I think that you can be confident that people will find you though. I tried googling" sulu designs" (yes, I'll admit I was curious to figure out who was making trouble for you) all the first page links were to you and your work. Good luck!

Sonya said...

No, no, no. I can't believe how much this sucks. It is a great blog posting and a punny new name, lemons out of lemonade. Next thing you know, you will have the Star Trek people getting their dander up. Sheesh. Take care through this ordeal - though it seems like you are keeping your chin up.

amisha said...

so sorry that you had to deal with this headache... the new name is perfect, and such a good way to make the best of this mess. thinking of you. xox

abby said...

What a freaking bummer! But I have to say, the new name is hilarious!
Maybe the sulu in your tags will be enough to redirect traffic your way!
I've been super out of it for the past week, but I just read your interview on Shari's blog and love it!
Hope you have fantastic thanksgiving, xo
abby

hannah said...

oh susan, that sucks big time! did i ever tell you that your shop makes me want to get my ears pierced? at 31. keep on moving forward girl!

ps. we say swear too!

amanda said...

so sorry you're dealing with this. sounds terribly frustrating and irritating, and angering and ridiculously time consuming too...and well, all of that.
I adore the new name - it's origin is just perfect. ;)
keep on keeping on. Your work is gorgeous. and beautiful. and original.

Blair said...

Just catching up on your news, how crazy and awful, but you're handling it like a champ. I love the new name.

laundrygirl said...

How ridiculous!
You have managed to handle it well though and you still have a following here!