JAN-PRO Threatens UnhappyFranchisee.com


JAN-PRO Threatens UnhappyFranchisee.com


Jan-Pro Franchising International and its affiliate JAN-PRO have threatened website UnhappyFranchisee.com with legal action over use of a 240 x 120 pixel Jan-Pro logo the company itself provided.


The logo appeared on a discussion page titled JAN-PRO Franchise Complaints.

The post itself contained brief excerpts from complaints alleging that (among other things) Jan-Pro underbids the jobs it provides to its franchisees so severely that the franchisees make less than minimum wage.

These brief excerpts then prompted 600+ comments, mostly from unhappy franchisees complaining that they were deceived and mistreated by Jan-Pro and/or Jan-Pro master franchisees.

In a threatening “courtesy” letter, Jan-Pro Attorney Kathryn B. Shipe expressed Jan-Pro’s concern that the presence of the logo may create a “likelihood of confusion.”

Jan-Pro is evidently concerned that UnhappyFranchisee.com readers may think that Jan-Pro itself created a website to give its detractors and unhappy franchisees the opportunity to post hundreds of franchise complaints against Jan-Pro.

Jan-Pro is evidently concerned that our readers will think Jan-Pro is promoting awareness of the many lawsuits from its angry franchisees.

Or that, as a public service, Jan-Pro decided to publicly promote the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) warnings regarding janitorial & commercial cleaning  (FTC’s Janitorial Franchise Buyer’s Guide).

Or that Jan-Pro is itself reprinting articles on why would-be franchisees might want to steer away from commercial cleaning franchises altogether (Commercial Cleaning Franchises: 10 Reasons to NOT Buy One).

To be clear:  UnhappyFranchisee.com is not affiliated with, owned by nor funded by Jan-Pro Franchising International not its affiliate JAN-PRO.  Any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Jan-Pro Cease & Desist (Courtesy) Letter to UnhappyFranchisee.com

UnhappyFranchisee.com received the following Cease & Desist (courtesy) letter from Jan-Pro International attorney Kathryn B. Shipe via our domain registrar.  Emphasis is ours:

DBP Legal Dispute

Claim ID: 602279

Requestor First Name: Kathryn B

Requestor Last Name: Shipe

Requestor Firm: Shipe Law

Requestor Company: Jan-Pro Franchising International

Requestor Email: kitt.shipe@jan-pro.com

Requestor Phone: 678-336-1780

Complaint Nature: Trademark

Federal trademark registration number: 3529952

Additional Information: Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. (“JPI”) and its affiliates have the JAN-PRO service mark to operate janitorial and building maintenance service businesses since 1991. Since that time, JPI has made considerable investments into the mark and has developed it into a valuable asset.

We recently became aware that your company is using the JPI mark as part of the Unhappyfranchisee website. Federal and state laws prohibit the use of another’s mark that is likely to create the impression that the user is connected to or affiliated with the mark’s owner. Section 43(a) of the federal Lanham Act, for example, provides that:

Any person who…uses in commerce…any word, term,name, symbol or device, or any combination thereof, or any false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which….is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commerical activities by another person….shall be liable in a civil actionby any person who believes that he or she is likely to be damaged by such act.

We are therefore writing this letter as a courtesy to offer your company an opportunity to avoid potential litigation by discontinuing its unlawful use of the JAN-PRO mark. In the absence of such a discontinuance, JPI will have no choice but to consider taking legal action to protect its rights.

Fair Use Protection for Bloggers Using Company Logos

You don’t have to be Denny Crane to know that bloggers’ rights to use company logos are protected under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Attorney and legal blogger Kevin O’Keefe states “The same protection that comes with using portions of others’ content for critique and commentary, whether it be a blurb from the Wall Street Journal or a block quote from another blog, applies equally to using corporate logos.”

O’Keefe quotes Boston Tech and IP Lawyer Erik Heels, an authority on fair use:

If you are writing and commenting about a company, product, or famous person, then it’s a no-brainer that it’s fair use to use the company’s logo, product image, or headshot in your blog post.

As far as the likelihood of confusion, it may be useful to employ the “moron in a hurry” test.

Would even a “moron in a hurry” mistakenly believe that a franchise company would create and promote its own public complaint site, and never respond, answer or rebut any of the posted complaints?

(Time-starved and multitasking morons, feel free to weigh in below).

If there is any doubt that Ms. Shipe’s fees may have been better spent supporting Jan-Pro franchisees, consider that the logo in question is widely distributed online (by Jan-Pro) for use by writers, bloggers and journalists.

Jan-Pro public relations experts routinely post the Jan-Pro logo on PRWeb.com and elsewhere in their efforts to encourage exposure for the Jan-Pro franchise program in periodicals and websites, with no apparent concern that those periodicals or websites might create brand “confusion.”

UnhappyFranchisee.com is NOT JAN-PRO

We are not Jan-ProWhile we are not obligated to do so, UnhappyFranchisee.com has replaced the Jan-Pro logo with a graphic that links to this post and states clearly that we are NOT affiliated with Jan-Pro.  We will also place this graphic and link on any Jan-Pro related page on Unhappy Franchisee.

This will save Jan-Pro Franchising International any further related legal expense and allow them to focus on addressing the complaints posted by Jan-Pro franchisees.

Further, we would like to offer Jan-Pro Franchising International to provide a formal rebuttal, clarification or response to the allegations and complaints posted as comments on UnhappyFranchisee.com.  We will afford this statement or rebuttal the same prominence as the original JAN-PRO Franchise Complaints.

This will help clarify that the opinions voiced by the commenters are not shared by or endorsed by Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. (“JPI”) and its affiliates have the JAN-PRO, further erasing even the remotest “likelihood of confustion.”

Statements or rebuttals are welcome and can be submitted to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com.

NEXT:  JAN-PRO UnhappyFranchisee.com Responds to Jan-Pro Threat

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH JAN-PRO FRANCHISING INTERNATIONAL?  FEEL FREE TO SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

8 thoughts on “JAN-PRO Threatens UnhappyFranchisee.com

  • February 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm
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    What kind of Crap is jan-pro trying to pull now. There up to there old SCARE Tactics. Jan-pro likes to use Scare tactics, Jan-pro does this alot. They like to scare people. If you look at the time that they were exposed on Television, some ladies had there faces covered because they were afraid of jan-pro. However I’m not and many other people are not and we are going to continue our Lawsuits until we get Justice. If anyone outthere has been Treatened by jan-pro you should imediatelly report them to the police, the Federal trade commission and the justice department. You should also get together with other people and take legal action. So many people around the country have been ripped-off by jan-pro and this needs to Stop!

  • Pingback:Janitorial / Commercial Cleaning Franchise Issues : Unhappy Franchisee

  • October 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm
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    I do not have any problem with this company… However I see them marketing in Canada heavily online… looking alexa.com janpro site info… i found that they changed from “india” to “ca” .

    We have our cleaning company in Montreal West Island Area… , I just want to find out if this is the same company..”www.jan-pro.ca” ?… also do not buy franchisess…
    We pay empoyee 15.00/hr and for special projects up to $25.00… why do you have to buy franchises???

    Good luck to all…
    Best,
    Pola Mil

  • January 9, 2014 at 2:47 pm
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    I am a current Franchise Owner of Jan-Pro. Owned for about 7 months now. I am realizing that this is the worst mistake I have ever made. They have been deceitful in luring you in. Once you get in you realize that you cannot make any money off of their low balled slave driven contracts. The only possible way for you to make in money in the current system is to do the work yourself. You cannot afford to pay your workers a descent wage. So you end up just trading time for money which is a job, not an entreprenural experience. I am looking to sell my so called business at a loss to someone who is willing to work on the contracts themselves and are not looking for a business ownership deal.

  • June 30, 2014 at 9:15 am
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    nothing but a bunch of rip offs

  • October 4, 2014 at 11:57 pm
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    agree with Samuel and jose, exspecially read the cleaning contract that mentioned customer can cancel the contract within 30 days(trial basis), so beware your investment will go to the drain within a month cause possibility that customer is already has agreement with the janpro just to rip you off .

  • April 24, 2017 at 6:47 pm
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    A bunch of thugs running the business, total ripoff. Your life long investment will go down the drain in no time. They take forever to fill your contract and then take the account back right away to give it to someone else.

  • September 21, 2017 at 5:29 pm
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    I started with jan-pro in May and I am doing very good I’m so sorry that you are having a hard time I understand that it do get hard it hasn’t always been good instead of skin down but if you want something and you work on it it would get better like I said I started in May of this year and I have exceeded more than I thought I would I will from 6 hundred to get started and now I’m putting in at least 10 a month back so I suggest if anyone wants to get started and not work for someone else and put it just as much work as you would for the next person into your own that you can make it sometimes you would get Negative but you have to take that and make it a positive and learn from the mistakes that you might be make it and just remember that all of your clients may not be happy but at the end of the day you just work on what you need to work all day will come along and ride with you on that sometimes you just have to look at the bigger picture no one said starting a business would be easy and if that was the case we all would have started a long time ago I’m enjoying this learning myself and growing at the same time and helping others along the way it’s a stepping stone and I’m not finished with it yet

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