Lizzie Borden B&B Secures Trademark!

23 Aug

Here’s an excellent post with very accurate content regarding the Lizzie Borden Trademark.  Click HERE.

UPDATE:  Click HERE re Stefani Koorey’s B.S.

Rats!  I’ve been busted again on the LB Forum (aka “smitty”) as I just tried to log in.   Oh well.  That makes about 20 different user names I’ve joined with.  Fun and games in Lizziedom.  But I am not the “smitty” who posts on the FRHN online edition.  Really.  I’m not.  🙂


There was quite a response from Fall River locals to FRHN (online edition) yesterday. Here is a cut & paste sampling of what they think.  Note that there’s a general animosity to the whole Lizzie Borden thing by these posters.  I also contributed as “phaye”.   But I am NOT “smitty”.  LOL:

It’s amazing that people can get so patriotic about a murder site. Money and murder. Stupid!
Enough already about this Lizzie Borden crap, who cares. Besides, I’ve talked to people who have visited the B&B and they say it was the most boring tour they’ve ever taken.
I wonder how Lizzie Borden feels about her name being trademarked? Yes, this is a Fall River attraction, but the way recent stories about whodunit seem to come out of the woodwork, its a wonder that this crime gets the SERIOUS attention that it does.
I guess I’ll now have to change the name on my Lizzie coffee mugs to ‘Miss Lizbeth Borden’.

This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard come out of the patent office in a long time. How do you copyright someone’s name, that you had nothing to do with owning, ever. Just because you own the house where the murders took place, to me, doesn’t seem like a legitimate reason to block everyone else from using it. The name should be, and is as far as I am concerned, in the public domain.

My guess is that if someone were to fight this, they would win. They have no more right to the name than anyone else selling Lizzie garbage. So now what will the One lady show call itself? Elizabeth Andrew Borden Live? Do they plan to go after the hard rock band from the 80s Lizzy Borden?

The patent office lately continues to confound me.

How is this newsworthy? Really, how does this impact the general public?

Herald News how could tonight’s mayoral debate not be front page news? Don’t you think you have a responsibility to your readers to keep them aware of public interest issues and events? Someone dropped the ball! I hope there will be a recap in tomorrows edition.


It’s the merchandising rights associated with the name – not the name itself.

See this:   Think ‘Bette Page’.
patent a crime scene?that’s fall river.
Phaye, it is nuts. People have been making merchandise with Lizzie’s name on it long before this patent. What gives someone the right to own something that has been in the public domain for over a century. It is ridiculous.

They shouldnt be able to do this. This is some one protecting a monopoly. They just got broadwalk and park place and have a hotel on each one. So if my last name is borden and I want to name my kid Elizabeth , would that be a problem? Better yet how about if I mispell the name lizzy or use a relative name of lizzy bordens? Would I be breaking any laws.

This is also a terrible piece of history that should not be repeated. Why are people so proud about a murder that happen so many years ago? People try to profit from these types of murders way to often.
fearandloathinginfallriver: The U.S. trademark patent office would differ with you. We may not agree with all the patent, trademark and copyright laws, but they are the law. Laws can be tested in courts. Let’s wait and see who will come forward to test this law throughout the court system. Imagine it going all the way to the Supreme Court. Man, oh, man. That’s a lot of coffee mugs and T-shirts! lol
Big Mouth: Once I again I repeat it’s the rights to merchandising the name on products sold at the B&B, not the name itself. Think knock off Rolex watches.

BTW, what gives someone the right to proclaim ‘copyright infringement’ to a another person’s WORD transcription of their own hard copy of the Borden Preliminary Hearing just because they did it too (in expanded form, I might add)? An yet, that person did just that. Thinking they have a copyright against any all past and future transcriptions. B.S. They ‘own’ what they did and another person owns the work ‘they’ did. In short, it’s not the exact same coffee mug. 😉


Phaye, The USPTO can give out a trademark for whatever it wishes. They just care if someone else has trademarked it. But, if they go after the wrong person, i.e. someone who has been making Lizzie Borden Mugs for years, they will lose the case for sure. I would wager one further, that you cannot copyright something that has been in the public domain for so long. Certainly not unilaterally.

But, for arguments sake, let’s say they were to trademark Lizzie Borden Lighters, and no one has ever made a Lizzie Borden Lighter, then I could see them getting away with that. But, there are certainly a great number of cottage businesses making Lizzie Borden junk like T-Shirts and Mugs. It is a far cry to believe that they would win a case against someone who is already making mugs or t-shirts. There are so many people out there making and selling this garbage, that it won’t be trademarkable. Even if the trademark was given, it won’t be enforceable.

As to your BTW question. If two people were to transcribe the same public document, you cannot copyright that. You cannot copyright facts period. However, if that said person were to have stolen the copy from another person, and started selling it as their own copywritten work. Then you have a different issue. You would be violating the copyright of the person who owns the copyright to the transcription.


Yes, you CAN copyright your own transcription of a first, second, third, whatever copy of an original historic legal document (public domain), package it and sell it. I’ve done it. And I have the official copyright document from the US Copyright office (I can email you an image if you like). What you can NOT do it take the transcription work of another from the same or subsequent generation of the original, package it and claim it as your own work. i could transcribe the Declaration of Independence from a copy on the internet, embellish it with graphic design, put it on a CD and sell it on eBay. I could copyright that CD. But if I did a literal cut and paste of that Declaration of Independence from the internet, that would be another story. The difference would be I created my OWN WORK…and that work is not exclusively confined to the text of the original document itself. It’s the package and the content therein. That’s what constitutes the intellectual property.

Now, as to the B&B merchandising rights issue. I think people are looking at the intent of the owner the wrong way. This merchandising trademark allows him to get exclusive sales rights from makers/creators of LB merchandise to be sold exclusively through the B&B, and further gives him the right to initiate cease and desist demands on those who sell the same design products as offered at the B&B. It is NOT Mr. Woods intent to go after ever schlock maker of cheap ceramic cups or t-shirts, goth dolls, magnets, Lizzie-in-a-coffin and other do-dads that we see all the time. He now has legal muscle to capitalize and expand on exclusivity and single source seller of items that fall within the scope of his trademark rights. For example, let’s say I do some pretty nifty Lizzie Borden ear rings and sell them on Itsy, one at a time at $10 each. Mr. Woods could cut a deal with me to have them sold exclusively at the B&B. Or have me cease and desist. In short, he has positioned himself well. Just because he had the foresight and took the initiative – WHEN ANY ONE ELSE COULD HAVE – doesn’t make him a bad guy – or wrong. Just smart.
After reading the article and the comments here I don’t see how this trademark/copyright will hold up in court. People have been selling Lizzie Borden junk for years I would think that the Borden name would have fallen into the public domain long ago.
So what have you copied and embellished on and copywritten? What particular additions did you make that made it ‘yours?’

It’s all right here Lefty. And Look!! I don’t even charge for it anymore. It’s free. Read this blog post and get the full story.



Donald Woods & Lee-ann Wilber chat with “in character” visitor in the B&B gift shop on August 4, 2008.

Yipee!!  It’s been done.   Donald Woods, co-owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast told me a couple months ago this was coming and I’m thrilled to have just learned it’s official in the Fall River Herald News which can be read HERE.

Just as Lizzie herself knew the importance and social cache of the Borden name in Fall River, Donald Woods and Lee-ann Wilber know the importance and “cash” of the “Lizzie Borden” name when it comes to merchandising.  If you own and run a business you protect your interests and maximize on opportunities to increase revenue.  It’s the American Business Way.

New strategies often require attention and action in this internet age of eBay and other auction sites,  Cafe Press, Itsy, etc. etc. where clever –  if not always high quality –  Lizzie related items are created, it’s a wise move to trademark the name as it relates to merchandising.  As Mr. Woods indicated, merchandisers could still have the option to sell through the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum.

Donald Woods is a man of his word.  Every thing he has said in the public media that he intended to do with the property he has done.   The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum continues to be a first rate operation under the daily care of  GM Lee-ann Wilber, gift shop manager Dee Moniz, and all the rest of her staff.   And with the “Lizzie Borden” merchandising name trademark held by the owners we will most likely be seeing even more interesting souveniers and collectibles in the gift shop.

Way to go, Donald!  🙂


5 responses to “Lizzie Borden B&B Secures Trademark!

  1. FearandLoathing

    August 24, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    I hate to say this, but there is no way this is going to last through the first lawsuit. They cannot get a retroactive trademark on a name that is pop culture. Good luck defending this.

    • phayemuss

      August 24, 2009 at 1:50 PM

      They didn’t trademark the name, Barb. They trademarked the rights to merchandise associated with the name. Big difference. Been done a million times. Too bad Orrin Gardner didn’t think of it. All them Borden 6th, 12th, and 18th cousins twice removed would be entitled to a piece today. lol

  2. FearandLoathing

    August 24, 2009 at 2:08 PM

    It won’t last. They won’t be able to defend it in court. The name is pretty much public domain now.

    Besides, what are you so happy about, don’t you realize you will have to pay royalties now?

    WTF is Barb?

    • phayemuss

      August 24, 2009 at 4:54 PM

      Everything I’ve made for the B&B I give them for free. I don’t take a penny. Never have. I’ve also donated many collectibles to them. And unless staying with friends I have in Fall River, I most always stay at the B&B. 🙂 Once again, Lefty (had Barb on the brain), its NOT THE NAME BUT THE MERCHANDISE ASSOCIATED WITH THE NAME.

  3. Pewter Mugs

    September 3, 2009 at 1:21 AM

    Nice Post…..


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