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DubStraps vs. an eBay Trademark troll

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys,

I hatched this DubStraps idea on here a little less than a year ago and thanks to this forum it's mostly been a fun experience.

Little things, like what popped up in my email this morning start to make it more of a headache. I received a trademark violation notice from eBay taken out by "International Watchman, Inc." saying they had removed my 4 strap listings from the eBay marketplace. When I went to International Watchman, Inc.'s webpage the first thing that pops up is a statement saying:

"NATO and NATO-G10 are Registered Trademarks of International Watchman, Inc.Copyright © 1986-112 International Watchman, Inc. All Rights Reserved."

To me this seems equivalent to getting a trademark on the word brogue for producing shoes. The term NATO pops up on basically every watch strap website I've seen from J.Crew to Leffot. It seems like he's just trying to take out the little guy without the resources to fight back against the request.

I know SF is full of smart, legal minded users so I just wanted to throw this out there before I start getting too worked up.

I'd be happy to forward the Email that eBay sent me if that would help at all.

post #2 of 10
They're claiming NATO as their trademark? I wonder how NATO feels about this.

Also, I didn't realize there's a member in the NATO strap business. I'll have to remember that next time I decide I want a new one.
post #3 of 10
I had few of my listings removed recently because i used the name of a car company in my product title (because my product is made for a certain car). I know my use is a fair use, so i ignored the take down, re-listed, and made minor tweaks to the title.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
sns23: Good point on the tweaking. I wonder if renaming the listing to "NATO Style" instead of just NATO would do the trick.
post #5 of 10


The very same thing is happening to me right now! I have sent them an email asking for them to supply me with the registered license numbers to confirm this. As yet they have not replied. I wonder why????


The problem is that I am having to wait 7 days until I can appeal against it. This will lose me hundreds of pounds in lost sales!

post #6 of 10

It happened to me as well.


I spoke with eBay about it and was told that I should have received a notice first advising me to correct the problem before the request to cancel the listings.  They were supposed to contact International Watchman regarding that.  eBay also directed me to contact the initiator, International Watchman, which I did using the email that Watchman provided in their complaint but of course I did not receive a response.


I've researched into International Watchman and it looks like the trade mark of NATO for watch straps might still be in process, and open for opposition.  I recommend you all do your research and if you have ability to submit an opposition, then do so immediately.


I feel NATO as it pertains to watch straps is a style, such as 'sedan' is to car.



post #7 of 10

All, here is a link about the serial number of trademark pertaining to watches and watch bands.


International Watchman's site is titled with information including this:

"Initially these military straps were only sold through distributors and military contractors at exorbitant prices. I.W. is now offering these same military straps for direct sales without delay or special orders at wholesale prices. Don't be mislead, these are the same watchstraps that you have seen, being sold for years throughout the internet. OEM and ODM orders are also welcome along with special incentives for volume orders. "NATO" / "NATO G10" are licensed, registered trademarks of International Watchman, Inc...


By their own admission, the Nato style has been sold for years.


Therefore, this perhaps fits the the most common reason for opposing a trade mark application which is that the trade 

mark is "descriptive of the goods and/or services for which it is to be registered, or that it is generic for those goods/services, or otherwise non-distinctive and should therefore be free for everyone in that line of trade to use."
A Nato strap is not a brand, or a product line.  It is a style.
If you are interested in pushing to cancel this trademark, message me because I am and I think a concerted effort is in order.
post #8 of 10

This same guy has had our account struck twice once for "NATO" and once for "G-10".


The watch community should be outraged that a business would try to trademark

and then enforce these terms. This needs to get out so that people can re-consider

when buying from "International Watchman".


Please let me know how I can help in opposing them from getting the mark.

post #9 of 10

It seems that opposition and cancellation is possible, as it could be with any trademark that can be argued to be generic and non-distinctive such as this.


I presume the reason he is focusing on us small-time sellers is because the larger guys with deep pockets will take necessary USPTO action, which presumably requires a patent/trademark attorney in order to execute properly.


I don't know any attorneys who practice patent/trademark law.  If you do, and if you can find out what this would take to address, we could perhaps combine our resources to get this corrected.


Feel free to private message me.



post #10 of 10


Now I know this isn't a solution and I hope those have countered IW's suit succeed and trademarks on the the work "NATO", "NATO G-10". 

What if we started to call these straps with another name. I am a small time eBay seller and would like more exposure obviously but I can't have that if there isn't another word by which buyers search for my product.

I know I am very late to this debate but this just happened to me for the first time. My listings were removed from eBay for using the word NATO.


Starting today, I will call these straps, POTATO Straps. There is no trademark on POTATO Straps and any other seller wishing to sell this product, Please use this word in your listing title to make it well known. 

Not over night but soon, it will catch on  and eBay users will begin to search this product by POTATO straps, along with other terms like military, nylon, army, and so on.

The more seller use this in their listing title, the popular it gets. Its catchy and when I look at the nato strap on my hand, I couldn't help but think of potatoes.





Please let me know what other sellers or buyers feel. 

I am just looking for an immediate solution and don't want to wait till the trademark is revoked. 

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