U-Haul International, located in Phoenix, AZ has sent a cease and
desist letter to Gregory Sledge, 53, who’s an Army veteran and
is company owner of “Veterans Moving Help” in Gainesville, Fl., alleging that
Sledge’s use of the slogans, “moving help” and “moving helpers” violates U-Haul’s
trademark use, the Stars and Stripes reported.
U-Haul further stated that they want him to shut down his website,
veteransmovinghelp.com, and to forfeit Web address (URL), and hand over the website
to U-Haul. Sledge’s motto for his company states, “We are creating
employment opportunities for Veterans nationwide”.
Sledge’s response about U-Haul’s demands
“For the past five years, I have labored tirelessly
to create employment prospects for Veterans both locally and around the country.
All that work “may be” for nothing if U-Haul gets away with
this. We received an email on Dec. 19th from the “legal department” at U-Haul insisting
that we immediately terminate using our website and to surrender the website to
U-Haul,” Sledge said on his Facebook page. “Nonetheless, it seems that U-Haul has
purchased these “words” and no other business can use them. This is totally incredible
that this could happen. So now, the Veterans are in U-Haul’s
Sledge, who was once a homeless veteran,
and was helped by the Veterans Administration
to help launch his business, said that he understands how imperative it is for
Veterans to labor and stay active to avoid the negativity associated with doing
nothing. “They are about the dollars and the hell with U.S. Veterans…
being lawful is one thing, but being principled is another. U-Haul is
lacking miserably at corporate consciences, “Sledge stated.
U-Haul’s corporate response
According to U-Haul’s corporate office
statement to the Gainesville Sun, the company acquired the trademarks in 2004
for “moving help” and then acquired “moving helper” in 2007 and stated that
they have had to protect those phrases over one-hundred times in the past seven
years. “We would like for him to maintain his business and deliver
services to his paying customers, “U-Haul’s corporate office stated.
“But, we ask that he regard our trademark rights by either suspending the use
of U-Haul’s trademarks in publicizing his services or by acquiring
a license to use those trademarks.”
Sledge’s company is still up and running and
Sledge did say that he did receive another letter from U-Haul stating
that they want to reach a cordial agreement to resolve the matter. “The whole
thing about it is that it’s wrong,” Sledge stated. “It’s lawful, but it’s not appropriate.
At one time slavery was legitimate, but it wasn’t the correct thing to do.”