I’m using my You Can Grow That! blog post this month to explain how this phrase, and my plant/horticulture campaign idea, has taken an unexpected turn.
As many of you know, last October I had the idea to use “You Can Grow That!” as a catch phrase to promote horticulture in general. (It was on the 24th – the word document that I created when brainstorming this idea is logged as being created on 10-24-11.) On that night I also bought the URL for this phrase as a .com, .net, and .org, figuring that in the future a group of like-minded folks could make use of these.
On October 25th I wrote an open letter that was emailed to many of you about the ways we could use this phrase. On Nov. 4th I posted a version of this letter on my blog and website, sent in letters to various green-industry publications, and posted on garden Facebook groups.
On December 9th the company that owns Scotts Miracle Gro applied for a trademark for the phrase “You Can Gro That!”
Some people just don’t play well with others.
I learned about their application in early July when I started the process to trademark this phrase and found it was too late to challenge their application. I had a conversation with an attorney who does trademark litigation and has had dealings with Scotts Miracle Gro in the past. We went over my options, most of which would take time, money, and fortitude. She mentioned that in the past Scotts has been an extremely litigious company, even when they’re in the wrong.
I came up with this concept as a means for everyone to promote what we love: gardening and horticulture. Since last March a group of likeminded garden bloggers have posted a You Can Grow That! blog post every month on the fourth. My plan had been to use one of the YCGT urls to repost some of these articles and links to all the monthly posts.
Now I must reconsider. I don’t want to start growing a website that Scotts Miracle Gro could spray with Roundup at any time they wish. I do not have the time and money to fight a legal battle about this, nor do I want that fractious energy in my life.
I will stop using this phrase after this month because I in no way want to either battle Scotts Miracle Gro or promote their products. Others are free to do as they wish about the use of this slogan. The You Can Grow That! bloggers are posting again this month but will most likely regroup under another catchphrase in the future. (Trademarked first…lesson learned.)
My heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who has supported this idea. I value your willingness to grow something good and know that we will keep planting.