On February 3rd, 2017, two days prior to our amazing Superbowl comeback we had something wild happen at our office that we believe was an incredible abuse of power involving the charge that we had been creating "counterfeit" Do Your Job T-shirts. We feel it is important to present the facts of this circumstance to our customers and to the public:
Chowdaheadz created & sold the first Do Your Job merchandise in September of 2011. When we first created these shirts we did a thorough search online and with the USPTO (US Patent & Trademark Office) to be sure there was not any existing use or trademark claim to this mark. This fact can be proven easily with sales receipts, website history, and other supporting documentation. Our tees proudly displayed the Chowdaheadz logo within the design, inside the neck label, and simply read "Do Your Job", it had no other logos and we represented it as a product of Chowdaheadz. Trademark law is govered by "first use" and not "first to file", Chowdaheadz was the original creator of the Do Your Job T-shirt and accompanying merchandise. The facts on this are indisputable, easily proven, and any claim otherwise will result in our assertion to this mark.
Almost six years after we created and were selling Do Your Job t-shirts we were diligently working for our customers the Friday prior to the Superbowl when police cars sped into our parking lot and marched into our office holding up a warrant to seize our Chowdaheadz branded "Do Your Job" merchandise. Approximately 14 individuals were part of this "raid", including NFL Private investigator Andrea Powers, 5 members of her staff, Detective Gary Hayward of the Topsfield Police, Homeland Security, and members of the Woburn Police (we are located in Woburn, MA)
They made the claim that we were "counterfeiting" Do Your Job T-Shirts. Yes, the same t-shirts that we created first, and had been selling for almost six years. They seized our Do Your Job merchandise and charged CEO Ryan Gormady with "Criminal Counterfeiting", a charge that can bring up to 10 years in prison. Trademark disputes are typically a civil matter, not a criminal one so this action was incredibly concerning to us. Counterfeiting involves an intent to pass off goods as that of another company. For example, selling a fake "Coach" bag and intentionally telling a customer it is "Coach" brand. In this case, the customer is harmed and the seller acted with criminal intent.
The counterfeit claim was absurd and an incredible abuse of power, lacking any basis in law and fact. This was proven when these charges were never even formally arraigned and were fully dismissed. We feel these charges were spearheaded to eliminate us as a competitor and those spearheading this action knew that no actual crime had been committed, they simply wanted to remove our merchandise from the marketplace for their own personal gain.
As always, Chowdaheadz is open for business & will not be waiver from our goal, to create unique lifestyle products for those that love New England under our own brand name.
P.S. If you have any questions or comments about this story please connect with us.
We have been made aware that similar actions have been taken against other companies in Massachusetts as well. The charges against these companies were also dismissed and a District Court Judge issued a statement questioning the constitutionality of the actions & the applied statute.
We are prepared to present this information to the Attorney General, The Federal Trade Commission, to the appropriate licensing boards & to the news media as needed. If you have a similar story involving a Massachusetts Private Investigator, a Police Department, or have been subjected to a similar abuse of power regarding MGL C. 266 147 please contact us.