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.

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