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Firing Back Against Cold Steel San Mai "Trademark"


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Anyone who has received the letter:

 

-- Can you send me a link to, or describe, the way in which you used "san mai" on your webpage (or whatever) that caused Cold Steel to send you the letter?

 

We need this as part of the legal response.

 

Thanks!

 

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Yoshindo Yoshihara's "Craft of the Japanese Sword" page 79 first edition 1987 referred to as hon-sanmai

 

Wayne Goddard's "Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, Revised" from 2006, page 110 (first edition 2001). Small paragraph called "San Mai". (link)

 

Samurai Fighting Arts: The Spirit and the Practice from 2003 page 40, referred to as hon sanmai (link)

 

Art of the Knife By Joe Kertzman from 2007 page 68 Reference to Jean-Jose Tritz forging a San-Mai blade (link)

 

Gung-ho: The Magazine for the International Military Man from 1987, its a magazine. Page 48, reference to the authors laminated San Mai knife (link)

 

Just FYI, I found a reference in a Popular Mechanics issue from 1987 talking about Cold Steel releasing a line of knives using San Mai steel, which is what the apology letter must have been referencing.

Edited by Wes Detrick
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Yoshindo Yoshihara's "Craft of the Japanese Sword" page 79 first edition 1987 referred to as hon-sanmai

 

Wayne Goddard's "Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, Revised" from 2006, page 110 (first edition 2001). Small paragraph called "San Mai". (link)

 

Samurai Fighting Arts: The Spirit and the Practice from 2003 page 40, referred to as hon sanmai (link)

 

Art of the Knife By Joe Kertzman from 2007 page 68 Reference to Jean-Jose Tritz forging a San-Mai blade (link)

 

Gung-ho: The Magazine for the International Military Man from 1987, its a magazine. Page 48, reference to the authors laminated San Mai knife (link)

 

Just FYI, I found a reference in a Popular Mechanics issue from 1987 talking about Cold Steel releasing a line of knives using San Mai steel, which is what the apology letter must have been referencing.

Awesome!

 

Thanks Wes!

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From Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society London, Volume 4 (1900)

Paper on Japanese Sword Blades By Edward Gilbertson, M.J.S.

 

...But one of the most popular forms was Fig. I, the san-mai or "three-plate" style, in which a plate of steel was placed was placed between two plates of iron......

 

J

 

JDWARE KNIVES

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Oldest reference in english that I could find was the same as mentioned above, but i also have copies of the paper on my computer, it's no longer in copyright so here's the first bit of the paper, including 3 specific mentions of san mai, 2 in text one in the figure displaying how its' made.

 

http://www.tharkis.com/images/sanmai/sanmai1.png

http://www.tharkis.com/images/sanmai/sanmai2.png

http://www.tharkis.com/images/sanmai/sanmai3.png

http://www.tharkis.com/images/sanmai/sanmai4.png

http://www.tharkis.com/images/sanmai/sanmai4a.png

http://www.tharkis.com/images/sanmai/sanmai5.png

http://www.tharkis.com/images/sanmai/sanmai6.png

 

 

sanmai4.pngsanmai5.png

Edited by Justin Mercier
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I have been bombarding Cold Steel for YEARS over their use of MY "chopping the toes off of old cowboy boots stuffed with meat" thing! That is SO my thing. Hrrrmph!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do not see how proving "prior art" means much in this case...a trademark is not a patent. The long and the short of it is that Cold Steel does not seem to understand what it owns and is using a misunderstanding (intentional or not) to bully others who are unable to defend themselves. For this reason I fully support Dave.

 

I have possible source from 1500's in a translation from Chinese. Will do some more looking for others and confirm what I think I have.

 

Is it your intention to remove his trademark? I do not see how this is possible.

I think the best case one can hope is to define in court to your satisfaction that Cold Steel understand what a trademark is and what it is not.

 

I also suggest an harassment angle on the entire issue.......one can conjecture that Cold Steel legal representation DOES understand what a trademark is and therefore may be culpable in such an harassment suite knowing that is has no basis to claim ownership over the words "sanmai" nor what they represent in out trade, but simply owns some pretty script in a logo. In short not only is the cease and desist erroneous at best, but constitutes intentional harassment and damages may be sought. I suggest a penalty of a REAL apology explaining that they knew the C&S had no basis, but intended to force an issue anyway AND a letter from his layer explaining that he got his degree from a crackerjack box (if this indeed is true..he may have gone to law school though ..). Also..since "sanmai" does indeed mean something that they admit that some blades carrying the logo are not three parts......if this is indeed true as I do not know nor care.

 

I did carry a cold steel tanto when I was in the Army (I think in Panama) and now I think it may be a good video to heat it up and kill it under my hydraulic press.

 

Ric

 

(edited to correct spelling..those I saw)

Edited by Richard Furrer
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Hello:

 

Been away dealing with life stuff... As I said before Cold Steel MAY have a solid stance on the words SAN MAI in that particular Font with the three lines as a trademark.. Case in point.. Coca Cola has a trademark on the word "Coke" as far as it pertains to the soft-drink..not the fuel nor the illegal drug...

 

Still..Lynn Thompson has once again seemed to of slipped into his own reality (I have known him for a looong time..) on this... Now the way it was explained to me as long as you do not forge the trade mark you can do whatever you want with the words "san mai"... This comes from a patent/copyright/intellectual property/trademark attorney that is a very dear friend of mine... What LT is doing though really overstepping his concern as far as defending his trademark by saying you can not use the term "san mai"..At least that is what was explained to me..

 

JPH

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Thanks Ric and JPH.

 

Ric: My intention is to simply have this matter thoroughly researched by a patent/trademark attorney to confirm what I believe to be true (essentially what you, JPH and other's have said). I will then have the attorney write up a legal response to Cold Steel, and I'll post the letter for all to use.

 

Of course, it will be preceded by huge disclaimers about how I'm not an attorney, and how you should get your own lawyer, blah, blah, blah. But, for those that can't afford to drop cash on an attorney to fire back when they get one of these bullshit letters, they will at least have a fully researched response available to them from a reputable trademark attorney.

 

At the very least, I'd like Cold Steel to appear very foolish, or very much like corporate bullies in the public's eye.

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I do not see how proving "prior art" means much in this case...a trademark is not a patent.

 

I agree Ric -- prior art is meaningless on a trademark case. Microsoft owns the trademark of "Windows" in the context of a PC operating system. They don't own the blanket term.

From my reading of Cold Steel's trademark, they don't own the term "San Mai". As Brian Dougherty pointed out, they own "San Mai" in a stylized font followed by three hash marks.

 

By the way, Jay Neilson pointed out on the long Bladeforums thread about the C&D letters that he and the History Channel received C&D's after the recent airing of the Season 3

Forged in Fire episode where the challenge was a San Mai blade. If you look at the air date of that episode, it certainly appears that's what triggered the letters from Lynn.

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Right on. Jim Hrisoulas mentioned in the previous thread that he had pre 1970 books referencing San-Mai, so maybe contact him.

I am looking right at one. The Complete Bladesmith, Forging your way to perfection, copyright 1987 by Jim Hirsoulas, Chapter 20 page 155 paragraph 10 line 1 "the ori awasi [san mai] was looked upon as the only method that produced top quality blades using nonlaminated outer layers."

That is one quote I am sure there are more

Does this mean no coordinated spam tidal wave...?

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I do not see how proving "prior art" means much in this case...a trademark is not a patent. The long and the short of it is that Cold Steel does not seem to understand what it owns and is using a misunderstanding (intentional or not) to bully others who are unable to defend themselves. For this reason I fully support Dave.

 

I have possible source from 1500's in a translation from Chinese. Will do some more looking for others and confirm what I think I have.

 

Is it your intention to remove his trademark? I do not see how this is possible.

I think the best case one can hope is to define in court to your satisfaction that Cold Steel understand what a trademark is and what it is not.

 

I also suggest an harassment angle on the entire issue.......one can conjecture that Cold Steel legal representation DOES understand what a trademark is and therefore may be culpable in such an harassment suite knowing that is has no basis to claim ownership over the words "sanmai" nor what they represent in out trade, but simply owns some pretty script in a logo. In short not only is the cease and desist erroneous at best, but constitutes intentional harassment and damages may be sought. I suggest a penalty of a REAL apology explaining that they knew the C&S had no basis, but intended to force an issue anyway AND a letter from his layer explaining that he got his degree from a crackerjack box (if this indeed is true..he may have gone to law school though ..). Also..since "sanmai" does indeed mean something that they admit that some blades carrying the logo are not three parts......if this is indeed true as I do not know nor care.

 

I did carry a cold steel tanto when I was in the Army (I think in Panama) and now I think it may be a good video to heat it up and kill it under my hydraulic press.

 

Ric

 

(edited to correct spelling..those I saw)

Yes, so much yes! Kill it with fire!

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  • 1 year later...

Sorry, I was necro-surfing (though this one is hardly green at all). What was the outcome with this whole affair?

Thanks.

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