LEGACY ACADEMY Issues Cease & Desist Letter to UnhappyFranchisee.Com
UnhappyFranchisee.Com has invited the Legacy Academy daycare franchise company and its owners, Melissa Turner and Frank Turner, to provide corrections, clarifications, rebuttals, opposing viewpoints and/or anything else they would like known since we first wrote about them last August.
It’s our intention to spotlight franchise-related disputes and litigation, and invite both sides to provide their viewpoints so that our readers can draw their own conclusions.
If a company is criticized or receives unfavorable reviews, we will immediately make any valid corrections they request, and will try to publish their responses with the same prominence and visibility as the original complaints.
Some companies dispute what’s been written, and provide rebuttals… which we publish.
Other companies acknowledge mistakes that they made in the past, and explain what initiatives they are undertaking to prevent future franchise disputes and franchisee failures.
Other companies refuse to participate in a meaningful dialogue about important issues we raise, and pay attorneys to send us threatening and intimidating letters that they hope (we assume) will silence our questions and make the conversation go away.
Unfortunately, Legacy Academy, Melissa and Frank Turner have decided (at this point) to take the latter approach.
After 5 months of not responding, the Turners’ attorney M. Kathleen Hart sent UnhappyFranchisee.Com the following cease and desist letter:
January 24, 2014
VIA EMAIL : unhappyfranchisee[at]gmail.com
RE : UnhappyFranchisee .com’s Unlawful Use of Legacy Academy, Inc’s Registered Service Mark
To Whom it May Concern:
This law firm represents Legacy Academy, Inc. (“Legacy”), the owner of a federal registration for the “Legacy Academy For Children” service mark, USPTO Registration Number 2686283 (the “Mark”), which registration has become incontestable. It has come to our attention that you are violating Legacy’s protected rights in the Mark by displaying a logo substantially similar to the Mark (the “Derivative Mark”) on the webpage http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com /index . php?s=legacy (the “Webpage”); a copy of the Webpage is enclosed with this letter.
Since at least 2003, Legacy and its licensed franchisees have used the Mark (and more recently, the Derivative Mark) throughout the United States in connection with the advertisement , promotion and provision of child care and early child education services for children. As a result of such use, advertisement , and promotion of the Mark, the Mark has become highly distinctive, has developed significant goodwill and has become well and favorably known throughout the world as identifying Legacy and its services.
The Webpage displays an article discussing a recent decision in a lawsuit involving Legacy. Instead of referring merely to Legacy ‘s corporate name in the article, however, you have displayed the Derivative Mark prominently in the middle of the article and superimposed your domain name on top of the Derivative Mark. Such use of the Derivative Mark cannot reasonably be considered nominative fair use of the Derivative Mark. Notably, your display and use of the adulterated Derivative Mark on the Webpage results in the adulterated Derivative Mark, and a link to the Webpage , to be displayed as a result in Google ‘s “Images” search feature, based on a search for Legacy Academy. We can only assume that in using the Derivative Mark in this fashion, you intend to capture the attention of consumers searching for Legacy and its services via the Internet, and divert them, at least temporarily, to the Webpage and your website, where they will encounter “news” articles that are designed to disparage the name and reputation of Legacy, its owners and franchisees. Thus, your use of the Derivative Mark is a clear attempt to trade on the goodwill of the Mark and the Derivative Mark for your own purposes and, at least initially, could create confusion in the minds of consumers as to whether the Webpage and the unhappyfranchisee .com website (the “Website”) in general is sponsored by or affiliated with Legacy , or whether Legacy has consented to the use of its Mark in this fashion. The design elements of the Mark and the Derivative Mark are further protected by U.S. copyright law, and your unauthorized public display of the Derivative Mark further violates Legacy’s proprietary copyrights in the Mark and Derivative Mark.
We would, of course, prefer to resolve this situation amicably and without the need for further action. To that end, Legacy hereby directs that you : (1) immediately ceases and desist your use of the Derivative Mark on the Webpage and Website; and (2) within five (5) days from the date of this letter, provide the undersigned with a writing in which you attests [sic] that you have ceased all use of the Mark , the Derivative Mark or any confusingly similar mark.
The demands made in this letter are serious in nature and must be complied with immediately. Should you refuse to honor the demands made in this letter, Legacy will seek legal intervention in the form of preliminary and permanent injunctive relief restraining the Website its operators from further improper and unlawful use Legacy’s service marks, damages as the direct and proximate result of such unlawful use, and related relief. Legacy takes violation of its valuable mark seriously and will take all lawful measures to protect itself and its marks against wrongful acts.
We would also like to take this opportunity to caution you regarding the content of the articles posted on the Website regarding Legacy, as several of the articles come perilously close to constituting libel by suggesting that Legacy “continues” to violate applicable state and federal law regarding its franchise sales activities and that Legacy and its owners are “irreputable,” all in the guise of a recounting of the facts of various legal actions against my client, some of which remain on appeal. To the extent the Website publishes statements regarding Legacy or its owners that are false or otherwise misleading, further action may be warranted.
Please direct all future correspondence to the undersigned. We appreciate your prompt attention to this important matter and look forward to your response.
M. Kathleen Hart, Esq. _ for Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.
cc: Mr. Frank Turner (via email) Mrs. Melissa Turner (via email)
Read Ms. Hart’s Legacy Academy Cease & Desist Letter to UnhappyFranchisee.Com as a PDF
While we disagree with the assertions made in Ms. Hart’s letter, we will provide a professional and respectful response within the timeframe she requests.
And while there are more constructive and meaningful responses that Legacy Academy, Frank & Melissa Turner could (and should) have made instead of formal legal threats issued by an expensive law firm, we thank them for at least responding.
Some dialogue, we suppose, is better than none.
So, we thank Ms. Kathleen Hart and the Turners for their letter, and invite them to join us in exercising their 1st Amendment rights to open, honest and respectful public debate… perhaps the greatest gift we enjoy as Americans.
We will post our response (or responses) to Ms. Hart’s letter, so check back soon.
Read more about the Legacy Academy franchise:
LEGACY ACADEMY Franchise Complaints
LEGACY ACADEMY Ichter Thomas Wins Suit for Legacy Academy Franchise Owners
ICHTER THOMAS Another Win Against Legacy Academy Franchise
Disclosure: The Ichter Thomas law firm are featured in the UnhappyFranchisee.Com Franchisee Attorney Directory.
ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH LEGACY ACADEMY CHILD CARE OR THE LEGACY ACADEMY FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY? PLEASE SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.
TAGS: Legacy Academy, Legacy Academy franchise, Legacy Academy child care, Legacy Academy lawsuit, Legacy Academy franchise complaints, Legacy Academy franchise lawsuits, M. Kathleen Hart, Attorney Kathleen Hart, Anderson Tate & Carr, Frank Turner, Melissa Turner, cease and desist letter, Unhappy Franchisee