Aquinas and More. Good Faith. Guaranteed.

Onesie! Onesie! Onesie! or, the Silliness of Gerber

by Ian on February 4, 2009

I figured when we renamed our "white, cotton, one-piece, no leg, baby underwear-with-snaps-underneath" to something that no one will ever search for, Gerber would leave us alone. Nope.

---SECOND NOTICE---

Aquinas and More
aquinasandmore.com

Re:    ONESIES® Infringement

Dear Aquinas and More,

Gerber Childrenswear LLC ('Gerber') is the owner of U.S. federal trademark registration numbers 1,292,981 and 2,549,557, respectively, for the ONESIES® mark and other trademark registrations pertaining to the mark, and Gerber's exclusive rights in the ONESIES® mark are legally incontestable under §15 of the Lanham Act.  As a result of Gerber's extensive use and substantial money and effort invested in developing and promoting its ONESIES® mark for over twenty-four years, the public has come to associate Gerber with the ONESIES® mark, as well as the underlying goodwill and exceptional quality associated with this mark established by Gerber.  Accordingly, Gerber takes any infringement of its ONESIES® mark seriously.

It has come to Gerber's attention that you are utilizing the ONESIES® mark without Gerber's permission ('Infringing Use') within the contents of the following URL(s):

http://www.aquinasandmore.com/index.cfm/title/Baby-Biblewear-Onesie/FuseAction/store.ItemDetails/SKU/9490

You are not an authorized licensee of Gerber and have no authorization to use the ONESIES® mark, or any other designation confusingly similar to Gerber's ONESIES® mark, and, therefore, your use of ONESIES® is a serious infringement of Gerber's valuable proprietary rights.  Furthermore, your use of the ONESIES® mark, or any other designation confusingly similar to Gerber's ONESIES® mark, is misleading and confusing to the public as to the source, affiliation, and sponsorship of the Infringing Use, as the public is likely to assume there is an affiliation with the well-established ONESIES® mark.  Such confusion results in substantial damage to Gerber's proprietary rights, including dilution of the ONESIES® mark and the goodwill associated therewith.

Accordingly, on behalf of Gerber, we demand that you immediately cease and desist from any further use, display, or publication of the ONESIES® mark in any form.  Gerber expects that you will comply with the aforementioned demands within seven (7) days from the date of this notice, and provide Gerber with assurances of compliance on or before this date via email at onesiesbrand@gerberchildrenswear.com. Should you fail to comply with these demands, please be assured that Gerber will vigorously protect its proprietary rights by seeking legal enforcement of its trademark rights and pursuing any and all legal remedies for damages arising from trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition.

Regards,

Brand Enforcement

They didn't even bother to look at the page because the page doesn't mention ***sies anymore. They just took the original link that contained the brand-that-cannot-be-mentioned and assumed that because the link still goes to a page on our site, we must still be using their name. What they don't realize is that I can replace the item title with whatever I want, say,
"http://www.aquinasandmore.com/index.cfm/title/Gerber-Brand-Enforcement-is-derilict-in-its-duties-and-wasting-company-money-being-silly/FuseAction/store.ItemDetails/SKU/9490" and it will still go to the same page. Time for Gerber to get some Internet training for the Brand Enforcement Division.

Here's the note I sent back to them:

If you actually read the page in question there isn't a single mention of onesies anywhere on it. I'm sorry that your company is so slow to prosecute these critical violations of your property rights, our supplier has been calling these white, one-piece baby outfits "onesies" for at least three years before you took notice.

I noticed that doing a Google search for the word onesie results in 1.9 million results, most of which have nothing to do with Gerber. It looks like you are going to be up late tonight sending out your letters.

I'm wondering what kind of goodwill they are trying to build with this strategy? How many people actually know that ***sie is trademark? How well can Gerber be trying to protect its rights when there are 1.9 million Google results for the word.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

kimsch February 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I don’t actually think of Gerber per se when I see the word Onesie. I see baby sized tee shirt that snaps between the legs so that it stays put and doesn’t ride up on the baby.

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Fran February 5, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Exactly! I never even knew Gerber makes unosis!

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trinlayk February 6, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Once upon a time, companies fought for that sort of “brand” recognition…
all sticky bandages get called “band-aids”…

KODAK really really TRIED to become synonymous with “photography”.
(they also tried to verb their noun… ) maybe they’re happy to have failed at that …

UM, HEY GERBER!!!: https://secure.nrdconline.org/08/nrdc_simplesteps

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k February 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Can you PLEASE PLEASE email me the email address of the person who wrote you at Gerber? We need to have them get on the NRDC (who’s put us all out of business lobbying for cpsia) who’s advertising a onesie on their site. I spoke to Gerber’s brand manager, the company is not happy about cpsia and it would be lovely, just lovely to sic their dogs on nrdc.
https://secure.nrdconline.org/08/nrdc_simplesteps

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Candice February 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm

LOL. Someone must be bored at Gerber. They should be happy that Onesie is a household name. Hey, they’re just like kleenex, or clorox. Fact is, they can prosecute all the want, but once they are a household name and people are erroneously calling other products by their name, they may as well just sit back and enjoy it. News of them prosecuting the little guys is not good PR, and there’s no way they’ll get the word out of everyday vernacular.

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Rusty Bumper March 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I totally agree! Now they are bugging me at my Rusty Bumper site were I sell black onesies. Does anyone have the experience of just not doing anything about it – like what happens if I ignore it? Your right – what do the suppliers do and what about all of the catalogs that they printed that mention onesie?

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coolmom January 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Gerber is complete jerks… they just sent us the same nasty e-mail. This is so ridiculous.

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Another Baby Site March 10, 2010 at 9:48 am

We received the same emails. They aren’t even from Gerber. They are from some 3rd party company. The way I look at it… an email in my spam box is not enough for me to change anything! Gerber sucks. They’ll lose this one. Give it time.

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jane May 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I got hit on 3 different websites. One being ebay. Ebay has over 49,000 non gerber onesie listings. The rest are all still there for over a month since my listings were canceled. Ebay will not notify the other sellers creating an unfair trading environment. I am personally boycotting gerber for being so petty. Do they really think that this will improve the number of onesies they sell?

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Toni M. May 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I’m donesies with Gerber as well ;) They’re literally taking the shirts off of my little guys’ backs since I’m having a hard time selling their baby ***sies on eBay in order to buy them new shirts! Not cool Gerber!

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Suze September 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I think this is a phishing email. I received the same exact one. Mine asked for a read receipt, which I declined to send. The sender was “emailservice@domainsbyproxy.com”. Honestly, I doubt Gerber is behind it. My website is hosted with GoDaddy, and I’m a little suspicious about my contact info being secure …

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wayno October 12, 2010 at 9:52 am

I also had an ad cancelled on e-bay because of so-called trademark infringement. And yes, there are a whole bunch of other ads still on there using the Onesie name.
Seems really petty and gives them a bad name
Kleenex tissue was using the same tactic for awhile ,dont know how they made out

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Kacy December 21, 2010 at 12:03 am

I will NEVER buy a Gerber product again if I can find another brand that is similar. They had my listing pulled right before Christmas when I had an adorable ‘New with Tags green Christmas +++sie’ listed for a gift. How petty of them. I didn’t even know ***sies were by Gerber!

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herb December 21, 2010 at 11:20 am

This happened to me also. You can read about it on my Blog.

http://totalnoobs.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/ebay-removes-listing-claims-trademark-infringement/

Leave a comment , Thanks

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Cecila February 27, 2011 at 12:37 am

I just got this email today as well…I have a small organic children’s store and am SHOCKED and DISMAYED by Gerber at the same email listed above I just got. If anyone would like to know the person who sent the email at Gerber for there generic crappy fabric dumbies the email address is: Jeff Pascoe
VP, Legal Affairs & General Counsel
Gerber Childrenswear LLC
7005 Pelham Rd.
Greenville, SC 29615
864.987.5495 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 864.987.5495 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

JPascoe@GerberCW.com

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Gale September 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

I’m seriously considering putting up a page called NOT a Onesie and selling bodysuits on it…with information about gerber’s rediculousness!

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Gale September 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

OK, I’m actually going ahead with a Squidoo page about this issue, and will be linking to your article here if you have no objections. If you would like I’m also accepting 125×125 ads with pictures of “bodysuits” to include on the page for FREE (linked to where you DONT sell onesies, but sell infant bodysuits and such). You can send it and a link to ecarian at yahoo dot com . I’m going to encourage people to write Gerber about this, too….and to start searching under alternative terms for Onsie when they shop.

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Frances Randall September 24, 2012 at 7:17 am

I used the term onesie in an ebay listing not realising that this is a Gerber trademark. I have since contacted them as what I was selling was a ladies adult size garment that they don’t even sell and onesie was not even used as the brand. They have not yet responded to my email and I am quite keen to see how they do respond.

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Caroline January 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Frances,

I noticed your posting after posting my own.

Did you ever resolve this issue with Gerber? I am at a standstill with them and do not think it is fair that this could effect my seller rating.

Thank you.

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Frances Randall January 23, 2013 at 8:59 am

No never even got a reply from them. Seems like they are more than capeable of causing problems but when called on it they don’t follow through. Meanwhile I have a black mark on my account bit there appears to be little I can do about that..

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Janet January 31, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I just got the same this happen to me on ebay. I have just responded to gerber but after doing much research and reading your posts, it doesn’t sound like i will have much luck hearing back from them.

What I dont understand is if eBay has done this so many times, then they should be removing ALL listings with the word xxxsie in it. I dont this it is fair that they only terminate the listings that gerber brings to their attention. and it seems very strange that gerber goes out and picks 1 listing out of 116,670 listings (as of today) to report a trademark vilation. This is just crazy

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glen December 18, 2012 at 7:43 am

Ian – I think it is you that doesn’t understand the internet (or you are claiming not to).

By using “onesie” in an url, you are telling Google, etc., that the page is about “onesie”. You know that as well as I do – hence you choose to use words in your url for search engine ranking purposes.

A little honesty on a catholic website wouldn’t go amiss.

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Ian December 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

Actually, we used the name given to us by the manufacturer until we received the first note from Gerber and then changed the name. If you re-read the post you will see that we quit using onesie in the link but that the link would still work because the page pulled is based on sku, not on title. We know exactly how Google works and did change it when Gerber requested. We were being perfectly honest in what we did.

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Caroline January 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm

The sillyness continues.

I just had an eBay listing removed for trademark infringement because I used the word “onsies” in the listing title. I was listing a vintage 1940′s sewing pattern for toddlers’ footy pyjamas, called onesies.

Gerber reported me to eBay. I, like many people who commented here, had no idea it is a trademarked word nor that it its meaning does include footy pyjamas.

I now have a black mark on my eBay account, which can hurt my rating and ability to list and eBay will not remove it without Gerber’s consent. Could this get more ridiculous?

In these hard times that a company would go after an individual for selling one item under the name it was called 70 years ago is unsettling. To be clear, this one item, not one item of which there are multiples to sell.

I wish you well and hope Gerber has moved on from you. If you have any advice to offer I welcome it, though I know it is likely to be a fruitless fight.

Thank’s for your posting.

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Roxy January 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Gerber isn’t just being “silly” or “ridiculous” as a lot of you want to keep saying. They have trademarked the word, meaning they own it. Which also means they have invested a lot of money into it. If a word becomes genericized, like aspirin, thermos, and cellophane has than the word gets taken away and is no longer trademarked. They are fighting to keep their word and their investment. You know if you were in their shoes, you would do the same.

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Ticked in IL August 2, 2013 at 8:23 pm

First, Roxy, u are either stupid or work or are related to the Gerber company, because you are the only one who feels this way. This just happened to me on Ebay. I think Gerber is going after the people who are selling higher quality materials than theirs, and leaving the cheaper varieties alone. I had my Mini Boden “Bodies” listed. Gerber, you suck, I am done with you also as well as my friends after they heard. Don’t be jealous just because another company is offering a better product than yours. This is not the way to respond. Boo to you :((

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Herb August 10, 2013 at 7:57 am

Wow, no need to get so Nasty there “ticked in IL”. Gerber has to actually show that they are trying to protect the Brand Name in order to keep it. They really don’t care about small chumps like us, But in order to take action against Counterfeiters and large operations using their Brand name, they must show that they are actively pursuing Trade mark infringement , no matter how small the violation. They can get you booted from E-bay, but this is mostly E-bays doing. E-Bay doesn’t want a Major Lawsuit from Gerber so they must also show Due diligence.

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