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"San Mai" Trademarked by Cold Steel?!


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I've been reading over on Bladeforums that Cold Steel, the knife company, has trademarked the term "San Mai," and have been sending nasty attorney letters to bladesmiths that advertise san mai blades on their page to "cease and desist" using "their" intellectual property.

 

Looking at the trademark listing, it's clear that they don't own the trademark "San Mai" but rather a stylized logo that includes those words. Nevertheless, this apparently has not stopped them from sending threatening letters to bladesmiths. (I've pasted the trademark info below).

 

Can anyone confirm this is true? The thread over on Bladeforums makes it look as if as least a few members on there have gotten letters from Cold Steel. I'd hate to get all riled up over an internet meme gone troll.

 

Assuming it is true, I have a proposal. It is outrageous that a company would behave this way. We should push back a bit.

 

What if we all agreed to make a San Mai blade and prominently call it such on our individual websites and this forum, and spam the hell out of Cold Steel with the results? I'm sure I can dig up an email address for them.

 

If several dozen-or better-a hundred or more, bladesmiths all reclaim the term "san mai' for what it is, it would be very difficult for Cold Steel to do much about it. It would take only a small fraction of this forum to achieve that goal.

 

What you guys say? San Mai middle finger to Cold Steel?

 

Dave

 

Word Mark SAN MAI
Translations THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE WORD "SAN MAI" IN THE MARK IS "THREE PIECE".
Goods and Services IC 008. US 023. G & S: SPORTING KNIVES. FIRST USE: 19860722. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19860722
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 26.17.09 - Bands, curved; Bars, curved; Curved line(s), band(s) or bar(s); Lines, curved
Serial Number 73644095
Filing Date February 11, 1987
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition October 20, 1987
Registration Number 1471971
Registration Date January 12, 1988
Owner (REGISTRANT) COLD STEEL INC. CORPORATION CALIFORNIA 3036-A Seaborg Avenue VENTURA CALIFORNIA 93003
Attorney of Record Glenn J. Dickinson
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "SAN MAI" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20080102.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20080102
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

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I'm watching this. It does piss me off.
they definitely need an inbox boom of nasty emails threatening social media movement.
My thoughts are to tell them that as a knife maker if anyone asks about their knives to encourage people to buy something else.
Especially if it is their "Trademark" san mai crap.
Let them know in the strongest terms you will do everything legal in your power to ruin their brand and hope that for their corporate behavior they loose market share eventually causing them to fold as a company.
Which would be good riddance to bad rubbish.

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I think cold steel is just being a bully. I read that thread on bladeforums and it got me pretty riled up, but I don't think they have a leg to stand on legally. I actually know an intellectual property lawyer, maybe I'll ask him.

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that fat terd pisses me off, when youtube forced me to watch the SHARPEST BLADE EVER MADE video... with this fat dude swinging with all his might at a 1" rope saying " look how effortless that was"

It doesnt even look like his knives are made using san mai construction it looks like he just uses it as a trademark....

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I am not a lawyer, but I can't see how this would stand up in court. There is so much prior art about San Mai, I would imagine that they would have a hard time getting any traction in court.

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Been seeing this all over fb recently. Fortunately I'm on a bit of a San-Mai kick lately, so I'm in for trolling coldsteel with real, hand forged San-Mai.

As far as evidence of the cease and desist letters to smiths go, I cannot personally confirm or deny it, but here's what I've found: Jamie Lundell posted on facebook that he knows two smiths that got the letter, and I found this screenshot:

coldsteelBS.jpg

EDIT TO ADD: It would be interesting (though mostly irrelevant) to test a cold steel "sanmai" blade to see if they are actually legit. I know Ryansword got busted for fake San-Mai not too long ago by somebody who sent one of their blades to a metallurgist...

Edited by Collin Miller
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I'm assuming if this was a legitimate trademark their letter would inform of the repercussions of using the term San Mai. They can't be stupid enough to think blade makers would follow this. It seems like they are fishing for free advertising to me.

 

Maybe I should get my own trademark on this fresh idea I've had. I call it "the wheel"

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I don't like bullies...

 

IF Cold Steel ( or I like to call them big butter knives) spent more time making quality blades then they would have lay off there lawyers. Instead, they make sub-par wall hangers and worry about how they are going to help there legal people make there boat payments!

 

If they really wanted to make money they should trademark "100% beef".... Wait a minute...

 

This is like there work... crap!

 

I am on board!

 

-Gabriel

 

Hell.... could we trade mark the words "Cold" and "Steel"?

Edited by grpaavola
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I'm fairly sure Cold Steel doesn't have a leg to stand on legally. If they are focusing on the name of the product line which they have taken from the method of construction then it's simply bullying.

It's like making a Chevy truck with the name F150 and getting mad at Ford for their existing product line.

 

I'm getting sick of seeing the corporate world throw their clout around to increase their profit without regard to the well being of anyone outside their boardroom.

 

I agree with Dave, we should make a coordinated concerted effort to protect the craft from Cold Steel. Whether we spam the market, inbox's, and web with San Mai blades and let them try to manage that. Or a direct challenge to the claim of San Mai construction.

Count me in.

 

-Tim

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the letters sent from there "president" i wouldn't be worried until there's a legitimate law firm attached to the letter

 

and there own wording admits its only in regards to there trade marked version of the mark san mi not the word san mi the letter is claiming they have further domain than the law allows and is spelt out in the trademark itself

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EDIT TO ADD: It would be interesting (though mostly irrelevant) to test a cold steel "sanmai" blade to see if they are actually legit. I know Ryansword got busted for fake San-Mai not too long ago by somebody who sent one of their blades to a metallurgist...

That would sure be embarrassing if they tried to sue and then they got exposed on that...

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I had to blow up the facebook groups yesterday over this.

 

The company sells junk and the masses need to know its junk.

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I had to blow up the facebook groups yesterday over this.

 

The company sells junk and the masses need to know its junk.

So instead of the spam barrage, why don't we all follow the direction in the letter (not all of it, just this little bit at the end):

"I also ask that you post a retraction online regarding this error, ensuring there is no further misunderstanding within your client or fan community. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter and advise my team of the steps you will take to help remedy this situation."

 

I suggest posting something like this on your website, FB page, any social media you use, with the request from Cold Steel, along with any San Mai blades you might have. Then we can share each other's post with all our FB friends.

 

"This is authentic handmade San Mai in traditional form and not that cheap stuff that Cold Steel passes off as a real blade. Do not confuse my craftsmanship with that piss-poor garbage that Cold Steel sells, This is not the same stuff and I in no way associate my San Mai blades with anything that Cold Steel sells"

 

Then send an email to Cold Steel with your "remedy" suggestion.

 

Conversely, anyone who receives this letter could just send it back to them with the words "GO POUND SAND YOU IDIOTS. I'M NOT USING YOUR TRADEMARK" written across it in big red letters.

Edited by Joshua States
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Oh please..if they send me one of their C&D letters I will reply back SUE ME...and then I will come into court with every pre 1970 book I have on Japanese swords that use the term San Mai to describe that particular method of construction.. HOWEVER..

 

From the way I read this..SAN MAI in all superior case lettering MAY be enforceable...but here again..I doubt it.. He can sue me and I will end up owning his arse.... don't butt heads with a bird colonel...

 

Geeze what a maroon...

 

JPH

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most of us don't have the means to fight something like this (being blacksmiths and by definition somewhat poor) in court. so most of us are going to be forced to just drop it. I think he knows that an is counting on it to help prove he is "vigorously defending" his clam. pretty shady.

I dont so al lot of that , but from now on I will refer to it by its german name Drie Schichten and boy is that more fun to say!!

https://translate.google.com/?biw=1708&bih=794&bav=on.2,or.&bvm=bv.121070826,d.eWE&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&client=tw-ob#auto/de/three%20layers

MP

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I think JPH is right, SAN MAI may be enforceable, but san mai, San Mai, San-Mai, or any other variation would be difficult to enforce.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You could just reply back that you don't need caps lock to make your knives look good. And I completely agree that we should all make San-Mai knives and advertise them as such but without the trademarked caps lock logo. I also wonder if this is why NJ steel changed the San Mai they were offering to "double clad steel"

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