Miami Herald personal finance blogger Natalie McNeal is going all “Highlander” with her “Frugalista” moniker. As in, there can only be one. She trademarked the term and had a lawyer send out cease and desist letters to at least one other Frugalista.
The letter tells Jackson Frugalista to stop calling herself that, or else:
It is our clients’ preference to resolve this matter amicably, if it is possible to do so. Further, please let us have your prompt written assurance that you and any affiliated companies or individuals will promptly discontinue and refrain from the use of the term “FRUGALISTA” in any form or derivation in any online blogs or journals. Please note that we will require documentation evidencing any changes or the cessation of use of any name or mark identical or similar to the Mark.
We look forward to receiving the information regarding your use of the Mark and your unambiguous favorable response, in writing, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23, 2009. Absent receipt of such, our clients reserve their right to take appropriate legal action to protect their trademark rights.
Kimberly Palmer, who writes U.S. News & World Report’s Alpha Consumer blog, notes that McNeal’s claim to the term is a little bold, considering she started the blog in 2008, when the word “frugalista” was already in circulation. Palmer contacted McNeal’s lawyer, who said other writers can continue to use the word “frugalista,” just not on themselves.
We’ll see how this Frugalista standoff plays out this week. For now, Jackson Fruglaista is sticking with its name.