Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Manufactured Outrage?

Have you been following the story of the trademark dispute between Green Shift and the Liberal party?

Kady has a good rundown here.

I've been watching this since this BT posted that he'd been in touch with Green Shift. When I first read this in his post:

A Google search this afternoon for “green shift” brought me to a webpage that represents a private company called, you guessed it - Green Shift. Somewhat surprised at what seemed to be a partnership between the company and the federal Liberal Party, I decided to call them up to inquire.

...I laughed out loud. Reading the Green Shift website it's pretty obvious that there is no connection the Liberal party or plan. It occurred to me then that he was likely more interested in stirring up trouble than anything else. Sure enough, with the contact details posted at the bottom of the post, there were few other conclusions to draw.

As the story moved along, it appeared that the owner of Green Shift, was receiving a flood of e-mails expressing outrage that she would align herself with the Liberal party.

Who in there right mind looking at that site would draw such a conclusion? It's ridiculous and completely illogical, unless of course you want to make the link in an effort to 'swiftboat' the Lib's again.

The woman who owns Green Shift informed me today that she received approximately 5000 angry e-mails. Interestingly enough, on the Monday that A Step To The Right posted the contact information, his site had 4558 hits. That may or may not mean much, but when you consider that in the preceding 6 days he received 832 hits. In fact if you look at the month, that one day is quite the anomaly.

Does this prove anything? Not really but it's more than passing strange if you ask me.

To top it all off, suddenly hordes of BT's are running to the defense of the owner of Green Shift. If you let that sink in for a minute, it's pretty funny considering their usual talking points about anything environmental. They are offering comfort and are simply outraged! Are they outraged by the people who are spamming her site? Of course not. They are outraged at those terrible Lib's who are ruining this woman's business.

It certainly would be interesting to trace those 5000 e-mails don't you think?


Anonymous said...

Just substitute "Green Shift" for "Coca Cola". See where that gets you. This is theft no matter how you look at it. And who came up with the name first? You are trying to defense the indifensable.

ottlib said...

Meh. What goes around comes around.

How many times have Liberals gleefully pointed out some questionable legality with regard to past Conservative attack ads?

Let them have their fun. It will pass.

And of course, the Liberals have some substance to back up this small problem so it should only be a small bump in the road.

knb said...

I'm defending nothing.

I'm pointing out that this was not an issue for the company until the BT's made it a problem.

I don't know trademark law, do you?

If you aren't aware of how many concepts are termed green shift, I suggest you do some homework.

catherine said...

"It certainly would be interesting to trace those 5000 e-mails don't you think?"

Yes, very interesting. The emails and phone calls sound like harassment and took away time and energy from the company.

Her business should actually benefit from the increased awareness and advertising, but since she has been working for years to try to register a trademark for "Green Shift", this effort may be hurt by the LPC use of the term. I suspect given the other uses of Green Shift which exist, her chances may not be so high in any case.

Even if a large part of her angst has been caused by some Blogging Tories trying to cause trouble, I think the Liberal Party should try to patch things up with her.

knb said...

I agree ottlib. I just thought it was interesting to take a look at the beginning of all of this and how it likely came to pass.

knb said...

catherine, if the outrage is faux, it's doubtful that it will hurt her business.

I think the Liberal Party should try to patch things up with her.

What would you suggest?

JimBobby had an interesting suggestion.

catherine said...

I didn't have any specific suggestion and thought JimBobby's was great. However a more recent media report makes it sound like she just really doesn't like Liberals, period. Now perhaps that is anger, and newspaper quotes aren't a reliable indicator, but that is what is sounds like to me. What do you think?

The Liberal Party has used her company in the past. One blogger (hopefully worth writing down) says he has a box of Green Shift Inc supplies left over from a function. But this doesn't sound to me like something easy to smooth over.

I'm no expert, but given all the past uses of Green Shift, I didn't see the legal challenge as serious. But, I would have expected the LPC to try to mend things. Given her statements, I'm not sure what would work though and I'm not convinced that she should be given clear ownership of Green Shift used in any circumstances. She certainly wasn't the first to use it and there is no indication she challenged other companies, like EcoPerth, from using it in Canada, as they continue to use it now and it is even up on our Government of Canada website.

Steve V said...


I have no doubt whatsoever that the lion's share of those angry emails are coming from the Conservative vultures. I wonder if this woman realizes that she is just a ruse in a partisan game, because the people complaining are the same people that would never buy her products, lest they participate in this SHAM. Manufactured outrage indeed, the minions have been busy.

knb said...

Now perhaps that is anger, and newspaper quotes aren't a reliable indicator, but that is what is sounds like to me. What do you think?

I don't know Catherine. When I contacted her today, I did not identify myself as a Liberal, but she ignored the fact that perhaps this was started by the Con's.

Look, I wish her no harm. I hope in the end that her company makes money and benefits, but if she is ignoring who started this nonsense, she's ignoring reality.

But, I would have expected the LPC to try to mend things.

I suspect they have. They have also stated their case.

Thanks for the link btw. I hadn't seen that.

knb said...

Steve, I said much of what you just did to her directly and indeed, I'd say she is someone trying to make a business work and has no concept of what partisan nonsense goes on, on the web. That or she's ignoring this fact. I was pretty clear.

The irony, the stupidity and the outright idiocy of the msm trying to make this a story, is really something. Telling even.

Prairie Kid said...

You and the majority of the people who posted on this subject are trying to make Ms. Wright out to be a liar. Who gives a damn who wrote the emails or even in fact if there was a single email.

The point is the the Liberal Party stole this name and have absolutely no right to use it. And if you think that "Green Shift" is used by numerous companies, WHY DID THE LIBERALS NOT CALL THESE COMPANIES AND EXPLAIN THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE A FEW MORE HITS ON THEIR SITE?????

Steve Taylor was asked, politely I might add, by Liberal lawyers to take off a logo that they felt infringed on the Liberal logo. He complied immediately. The Liberal party chose to ignore the cease and desist order and run the ads anyway.

Another prime example of how the Liberal Party sees themselves as the naturally governing party of Canada and have no reason to obey any laws.

Gayle said...

See PK - I noticed Taylor was contacted by a lawyer for the LPC, and it seems to me that if they got advice from said lawyer on that issue, they probably got advice on this issue too.

So while I know it is tons of fun to post all your legal theories on the internet, I suspect the LPC are continuing because they have advice from a professional that there are no real legal issues.

ottlib said...

"Who gives a damn who wrote the emails or even in fact if there was a single email."

Well PK if those e-mails were written by Conservative supporters to make life hell for the company and then those same Conservative supporters begin to complain about the hell the company is going through I would say it does matter who wrote those emails.

The Blogging Tories and their underhanded tactics have been the dirty little secret of the Conservative Party. I wonder if this assault on a non-partisan company will be picked up by the media.

Kady O'Malley seems to have hinted at it but I wonder if she or any other will pursue it.

I for one would love to see the BTs exposed. There are some absolute wingnuts there and I am certain there are some who are on the Conservative Party payroll. It would be interesting to see how Canadians would react if it was revealed that some of them orchestrated the virtual assault on Greenshift Inc.

catherine said...

I see that Green Shift Inc has added a link on their webpage to "unwanted politics" which connects to a statement. She does seem to believe that people have associated her company with the Liberal Party program and this is causing harm. The last paragraph is cryptic

Well, sadly it seems that we are dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t. I guess for now, all we can say is that in our view, this is an unwanted distraction to the bigger and more important goal at hand. For those who cannot see that – well – for the good of the environment, and the sake of the other species on this planet, we hope that one day you will understand.

I would assume the "more important goal" is protecting the planet for the future, of which pricing carbon is almost universally accepted as a central component, so not sure what she is implying here.

penlan said...

I have read that the owner of GreenShift Inc. does have the copywrite to the name BUT only in the U.S. Perhaps that is why she does not want to be associated with any political party? Her business should do well in the States as there is a much larger population there.

Am in agreement that BT's are causing havoc, deliberately, for everyone. But that is what CON's prefer to do, non?

catherine said...

Penlan, I don't think that is correct. Green Shift Corporation, which is based in the US, has a US registered trademark for GreenShift (no space). Green Shift Inc applied for a registered trademark in January 2005 but it has not been approved. These are two different environmental companies, with no obvious connection, except for their names.

penlan said...

Oh, thanks for the correction Catherine. Perhaps I misunderstood what I read & right now I can't remember where I read it. Senior moment? ;)

catherine said...

Well, Penlan, now I am confused. I see that on Kady O'Malley's blog, the owner of Green Shift Inc posted:

We did everything we can for the time to fight the infringement from the US company. They bought out GreenShift.com from a non competitive website, and right at the same time registered the name in the US. We spent a lot of money - almost bancrupting ourselves in legal fees. We do own the US trademark on the name Green Shift and have done for a good few years. Main thing that made us decide to leave it for the time being was that we really are most concerned with Canada, we are protected in the US in the sense that no one can stop us, one day we might go back to it but altogether…. gotta pick your battles....

Whereas, the other company has on their website:

GreenShift's patents and proprietary green technologies are the sole property of GreenShift Corporation. GreenShift and the "GreenShift Logo" and the tagline “Natural Solutions” are the registered trademarks of GreenShift Corporation. We believe that our intellectual property rights are protected to the fullest extent afforded by law. Other featured words or symbols, used to identify the source of goods and services, are the trademarks of their respective owners.

I don't know if these two statements are compatible with each other (because of the space or not between the two words??).

penlan said...


It was on Kady's blog that I read that yesterday.

I believe the Canadian trademark has not been approved but the U.S. one was some time ago.

It IS somewhat confusing & I'm wondering if they used different wording for their company for the U.S. trademark.

OT: knb, what happened to the post you did on the Aboriginal Apology? It was on the Liblogs site but when I clicked on it there was nothing, & it isn't here at your blog either. And I so wanted to read it! :)

knb said...

It's back up penlan. I had pulled it back to draft form because I had some additional thoughts but then got distracted and forgot all about it.

Sally said...

Enough is enough!

Arguing with this environmental company over the website is just as effective as letting everyone know we're going to propose a carbon revenue-shift but leaving the Con's to call it a tax on everything.

Marcus said...

sally: i think your right. we should be selling our plan, not getting our knickers all up in a knot about a simple website address. the plan is strong enough to be sold on its strengths. it doesn't need a gimmicky website.

ottlib: it might be too early to blame the conservative trolls for this. i got that company's website the first time i looked for the site too. i had to go to the liberal website in the end to find it. oh well.