Burning Man vs. Nev

A business I started in high school and still have, (House Of Rave .com) focuses on light-up stuff. Over the years I’ve found that patrons of the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert like buying light-up stuff from the site because it gets extremely dark at night in the desert.

Naturally, I made a section geared towards these Burning Man patrons to help them find the most popular items for the event. The people who run Burning Man didn’t appreciate that.

Their lawyers, Gross & Belsky have already threatened me with legal action. Here is the PDF file they sent me via email:

*Update: The PDF file was taken down by request. I have replaced the .pdf file with a small snapshot of the original letter.

They demand I remove the words “Burning Man” and “Black Rock” from House Of Rave.
As much as I hate to admit it, they DO have legal jurisdiction over the commercialization of the “Burning Man” name….HOWEVER, how can they stop me from using “Black Rock Desert” as a keyword? Of course they can stop me from using “Black Rock City” (A temporary city created by Black Rock, LLC), but isn’t the Black Rock Desert simply a desert in Nevada? Oh well.

I did some research and read: The Federal Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051 et seq, California’s Unfair Competition Law, California’s Business & Professions Code § 17200, and the False Advertising Law, and California’s Business & Professions Code § 17500.

While I found a couple of “maybe” loopholes here and there, they have me beat. I’ve got to pick my battles wisely, and there isn’t enough money at stake here to fight back. So I no longer have words “Burning Man” or “Black Rock City” mentioned anywhere on House Of Rave .com.

Also, just for giggles, I snuck a peak at who Gross & Belsky have represented. It appears they have been lawyers for: O.J. Simpson (Not the murder trial), Gianni Versace, Supercuts Inc. and THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA!! They should have just invited me over to California and we could have settled this over a couple of Cohiba’s!

Oye Ve.
-Nev

rave videos

Blog posted on: August 4, 2005

12 comments on “Burning Man vs. Nev

  1. Jose Anes

    Neville:

    You have my admiration for your desire to generate business.

    However, you do NOT have my admiration NOR respect for your involvement in a business that promotes RAVES, and as such, things that could lead to illicit activities.

    Nonetheless I wish you luck in your recent quasi-legal issue. I hope you overcome it nicely and can continue on responsible business practices.

    Good luck,

    – Jose Anes

    Money and Investing

    Reply
  2. Neville

    Anon,
    All the shipping is done by a company in California, so I do not keep ANY inventory. I collect the money and send them the orders. At the end of every month, I pay them.

    Jose,
    Hardly ANY “ravers” actually buy from my site. Raves are rather rare these days anyways, they’ve gone the way of Disco. You would be VERY surprised to know who buys from me:

    My domain may have the word “Rave” in it, but people mostly buy funny hats, t-shirts, safety lights, office decorations keychain lights etc…Not even 10% of my visitors are actually ravers, or have ever BEEN to a rave.

    The domographic that buys from me is surprisingly mostly in their high 20’s and above.

    -Nev

    Reply
  3. Jason Duncan

    “A staff member of the organization sent a request to you on July 27, 2005,
    but to date you have responded.”

    Maybe a bit of a proofreading would help this company…

    Reply
  4. Jonathan

    The only time I’ve ever smoked anything was Cohibas in the Grand Caymans. I figure, if you’re going to mess up your lungs just once, it’s gotta be an authentic $30 Cuban Cigar. Good times.

    Anyways, keep on Fighting ‘Da Man! ;)

    Reply
  5. samwithaplan

    Nev, is there an error in the lawyer’s letter? “A staff member of the organization sent a request to you on July 27, 2005,
    but to date you have responded.” – shouldn’t it be NOT responded?

    Reply
  6. samwithaplan

    Nev, is there an error in the lawyer’s letter? “A staff member of the organization sent a request to you on July 27, 2005,
    but to date you have responded.” – shouldn’t it be NOT responded?

    Reply
  7. muzzi

    I know what your up too Nev :)

    Now, they won’t find house of rave.com when they type in burning man in google, they find nev blog, and then house of rave :)

    Reply

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