Jason Truesdell : Pursuing My Passions
A life in flux. Soon to be immigrant to Japan. Recently migrated this blog from another platform after many years of neglect (about March 6, 2017). Sorry for the styling and functionality potholes; I am working on cleaning things up and making it usable again.

Homemade Matcha Ice Cream recipe

About 4 or 5 years ago I bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker, and not much longer thereafter I found myself making green tea ice creams on a regular basis. This used to be an expensive endeavor: 30 grams of matcha bought in the U.S. usually costs $7.50–$15.00 for average quality matcha, which is roughly two tablespoons. In Japan I can usually get ordinary matcha for $6–8, and sometimes I could get bigger sizes for not much more money. But happily, since I now work with company focused on matcha products, I have access to Matcha meant primarily for cooking applications, and this makes green tea ice cream a far lesser extravagance.

I think two tablespoons of the cooking matcha works out to about $1.88 for 1.5 quarts if you buy it by the pound. Including the cost of organic milk, heavy cream, and organically produced sugar, I think I spent about $5–5.50 for this at retail prices. That’s still substantially less expensive than buying 3 pints of average-quality green tea ice cream at about $3–4/pint, and with a much more substantial green tea flavor, much more fresh, and far fewer additives.

Matcha Ice Cream (Green tea ice cream) in contemporary Mashiko bowl

For a 1.2–1.5 quart batch, I once typically used about 1–1.5 tablespoons of the tea ceremony matcha that I used to use prior to having access to culinary matcha. Now I am using an indulgent 2 tablespoons, which provides an excellent balance of the bitterness and sweetness. If you’re really looking for a heavier matcha flavor, you might use a bit more, but be judicious. You shouldn’t try to replicate the bitterness of straight matcha; you’re just trying to use the matcha as an accent.

I never previously thought blending matcha and vanilla should be controversial, but my roommate seems to be sensitive to heavy vanilla use in green tea flavored things, so I’ve since reduced the amount I use in my own matcha recipes.

Jason’s Matcha Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup unprocessed cane sugar (blond)
2 heaping tbsp. Matcha for cooking, Grade A
1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Whisk the matcha for cooking with the milk and sugar, making sure the matcha dissolves. Stir in the cream and vanilla. If using a frozen-canister based ice cream, maker, chill the ice cream in the refrigerator for another hour to make sure it is sufficiently cold for processing, or hold in the freezer about 15 minutes.

Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. This produces about 1.25–1.5 quarts of ice cream, depending on expansion. Make sure this is appropriate for your ice cream maker and adjust proportionally to your capacity.

If you’d like a more custardy ice cream, you might use an egg yolk or two in your recipe, perhaps reducing the cream a bit to compensate for the extra fat.

If you are using Ippuku Matcha Latte mix, you will use about 1/2 cup matcha latte mix and reduce the sugar content to a scant 2/3 cup.

The many faces of blog spam

A few days ago I started getting attacked by Trackback spam.

You know, I’ve gotten used to spam in many forms… I’ve been getting junk mail since the mid-1990s, and even good junk mail filters don’t quite get everything out of my mailbox. I’m relatively unsurprised, though still annoyed, by most email spam.

When I started my blog, I didn’t quite realize that I was opening the door to additional types of spam.

Early on I started noticing “referrer spam”, which basically attempts to exploit administrative curiosity about who is sending visitors to your site, producing clickthroughs to sites which are actually scams for debt reduction or body part enhancement or whatever. With the aid of a slightly jaded eye, I can pretty much identify most of these referrer spams right off the bat and I almost never get suckered into visiting such sites.

But later I started facing “comment spam”, which were created by automated scripts. The motivation would appear to be to get users to click on such spam messages, but for the most part the spammers target older messages that only get sporadic reading, and so it turns out that what they were really trying to do was exploit Google PageRank algorithms to get people to go to pay-per-click or pay-per-lead sites. Basically, the more links to a particular site, the more highly ranked it will likely be for a particular keyword, and people searching for gambling or pornography or various misspelled male impotence drugs are more likely to find some spammer’s site and he’ll get a few cents for each clickthrough; well worth the effort of distributed spamming of thousands of blogs.

I got rid of almost all comment spam by implementing a slightly finicky Human Interface Proof technology on my blog (if you mistype the HIP text the comment goes to a bit bucket). So that disappeared, and, with a few small probably manually plotted exceptions, very little comment spam appears.

I still get referral spam, and this will likely never go away, even though it doesn’t really help the spammer much.

But more recently, I have been getting inundated by Trackback spam. A trackback is basically a ping that is sent when someone links to an article on my blog site. Most of the time, their software sends a ping request, and it magically transforms into a mini-post that looks similar to a comment on my web site. Well, spammers can exploit this also. They use it for the same purpose as comment spam, and somehow since June 7 I’ve been targeted with about 200 trackback spams. In my massive deletion of bogus trackbacks I probably deleted some legitimate ones. I may disable the display of trackbacks just to avoid the benefit to spammers… I would actually like to see who is referring to me for real, but if the order of magnitude of spam trackbacks increases I’ll not really have the energy to keep up with the deletions.

Wagashi craving

Transforming ingredients, again

I’m afraid, after a late night updating my online store, my body was not in great form today… I got through most of the daytime hours, but I couldn’t even convince myself to go jogging this evening. Fortunately, I instead eventually worked up the energy for a brief walk around Greenlake.

By the time I was making dinner tonight, I was too sleepy to take a photograph, and yesterday I was perhaps too distracted, but my feta/cucumber/tomato sandwich type lunch was revisited in the form of a salad… some romaine, a lemon-mustard-vinaigrette, parmesan, feta, olives, cucumbers, tomato. I buttered some thin slices of yesterday’s seeded baguette, and grilled them on my nifty All-Clad grill pan, and wiped a bit of garlic on them. Maybe not quite in that order. I was not in perfect form.

These ingredients were combined into a tasty but unimpressively-presented salad. I definitely think grilled bread belongs on more salads, though.

If I was willing to wait frustrated for a long time, I might have used my shichirin, but I am incredibly bad at getting my Japanese charcoal to burn. Sumibi-grilled bread… mmm…

Coleman pool, simple picnic

A couple of friends wanted to meet up at the Coleman Pool in West Seattle, but I got the call just about 10 minutes before the last session of the day would begin. At that very moment, I was in Ballard, talking with a client of mine. I don’t keep a spare swimsuit in my car, so I had to stop at home.

The plan seemed to evolve into going to an even farther away pool, so I had to stop to fuel up my car, because after an earlier trip to Bellevue today I was running low. This delayed my departure a bit and then I learned the original plan was still on. Of course, this meant that I was now quite late for the session.

Anyway, I got about 30–40 minutes in the pool but I haven’t been swimming for about 2 years, so my endurance for lap swimming is nonexistent. But I got more time in than my friends, who managed to arrive just 10 minutes before closing.

Coleman Pool is right on the water. It is filled with filtered seawater and seems to have a minimal level of chlorine. The setting is spectacular on a day with like today, which was cloudless and very warm.

Afterward we us nibbled on bread and cheese in the surrounding Lincoln Park.

Mrmph... Software

I remember there was a time when I enjoyed exploring the features of software even when I didn’t need to know a specific feature for any particular task or work I had ahead of me. In fact, I’d say that most of my life, “playing” with software has been a fairly important learning method for me, and made it possible for me to accomplish all sorts of things relatively easily that other folks I knew would have considered hopelessly complex.

I’m not sure when exactly my attitude changed… I know that at Microsoft, it shifted a bit. If a solution didn’t seem eminent and I had other things I should have been working on, I would give up on whatever esoteric solution I had in mind, stop tweaking and just move on. It was a necessary project management technique. If it wasn’t critical to the task, I’d just step away, regardless of how interesting the solution to my problem might have been.

As a business owner, I have slowly noticed an increasing drift toward impatience with software and with hardware idiosyncrasies. If something didn’t work as I expected, and it actually matters to me, I yell and scream and vent at my computer, which of course isn’t really listening. It provides a kind of stress relief.

I was doing some work with my online store over the last few days, uploading dozens of new products, including some really beautiful bamboo tea trays, some very stylish Yixing teaware, and some tea oil-based soaps and cosmetics. Unfortunately, some of the categories were getting unwieldy and confusing, as Hiromi rightly pointed out to me. Many of these problems are tough to solve without doing substantial code modifications to software that I didn’t even write, and I’m not that comfortable sacrificing a lot of time writing code for small benefits these days.

But I knew in the back of my mind that a feature to affect the display order of products within a particular category was supposed to be in the software. I knew how to adjust sort order of the categories themselves, but I never did quite figure out where in the UI this feature for sorting products within a category fell, though I had seen evidence of it in the database backend.

Finally, today, as I was doing some more manipulation of the categories on my web site, I found it. It allowed me to group things within some categories slightly more intelligently, roughly in conceptual groups rather than by something more haphazard, like alphabetical order, or pageviews/popularity-based sorting. Years ago, I would likely have discovered this feature way before I actually would have needed it. I’m clearly not that excited about learning the intricacies of the features of my software anymore…

I felt rather stupid that I have been using the same software for about 5 months and never noticed it. Actually the effect is rather subtle, but it at least allows me to group things in an order that makes sense within my mind, instead of just an apparently random list of products.

Making use of what's available

When I studied in Germany, my friends and neighbors were always surprised that I could make dinner out of “nothing.” What they meant was that I could scrape together something interesting from available ingredients, even if the ingredients might not be particularly inspiring… it was fairly common for my selection of vegetables to be consumed fairly quickly, so I might have had only half an onion, some previously cooked vegetable, and maybe some lentils or something in my pantry; suddenly I’d produce a seasoned lentil soup.

Tonight was one of those nights. I didn’t have anything special planned, but I had remnants of a dense bread, a tomato, some leftover roasted cauliflower from a few days ago, and some previously fried bell peppers. I also had a bit of smoked mozzarella left, which I bought on a whim about a week ago, probably used for something else baked in the oven last week.

So I just toasted some bread on one side under the broiler, turned it over and brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic, and layered on what was around; the cauliflower went on one, and some bell peppers on the other, then everything else. I used a little salt and pepper to season. I wasn’t trying to be delicate; I used thicker layers of vegetables than if I had planned a bruschetta or a pizza or something. I just wanted to use up things. So this was not delicate in any way. But it did the trick, and tasted pretty nice.

Toast

Last night I was out on a run… Rather than going up to Greenlake, for the last couple weeks I’ve just been jogging past the zoo up Phinney. I go up to about 70th and then my energy has been pretty much exhausted, so I come back alternating between walking and running. Actually I made it up to about 75th this time, but I stopped running and walked most of the way back home.  Along the way back, I ran into Etsuko at Fresh Flours, who had just closed up shop for the night and was locking the door as I crossed 61st. I said hello, and chatted about 30 seconds. She offered me a few little fruit tarts and a kind of cream puff.

It sort of undermined my whole reason for jogging, I supposed, but I was happy to have something nice for breakfast this morning. Half of the cream puff served as dessert tonight as well. Although a little soft after a night in the refrigerator, it had a nice custard filling. The tart was just what I needed to start the morning… that, and a standard Seattle dose of cafe latte, which I made at home.

Fresh Flours tart and cream puff

Matcha Cuisine

I don’t customarily plan an entire three course meal around a single ingredient, except to celebrate some seasonal excess, like fantastic tomatoes or the fall mushroom season.

However, over the last month or two, I started to want to push the boundaries of my usual matcha adventures

I’ve become comfortable letting matcha play a role in sweets, cocktails, and so on, and I have done a matcha flavored cream sauce before, but I never really let it play a starring role in a planned meal. I wanted to test the capacity of matcha to play different roles. In addition to its obvious applications in desserts and sweets, it also has herbal and spice-like qualities I wanted to explore. I thought maybe I would revisit my matcha cream sauce again, but this time make some homemade gnocchi instead of throwing together a quick lunch with some dry pasta from my pantry. In this case, I could let the matcha serve the role of an herb. I also wanted to use it as a seasoning, so I thought maybe a simple tempura would be nice. And I couldn’t really envision a three course meal highlighting matcha without it serving a role as a dessert flavoring, so I decided to go way back in my repertoire to produce a green tea cheesecake. I had made a matcha mousse in Germany in 1996 or so, but I think it wan’t until 1998 or so when I decided to make a cheesecake with it.

When I first attended FoodEx and Hoteres Japan back in 2004, I was intrigued by the idea of a matcha-jio, or matcha seasoned salt. The primary suggested application was as a seasoning for tempura, but I have also seen it used to season oborodoufu (custard tofu) served in small portions. I don’t really make tempura all that often, but I thought that tempura could be analogous to a “fritto misto”, and since tempura was itself a fusion of Japanese and Portuguese cooking, it seemed fitting as a gateway between the European and Japanese elements of the meal I envisioned.

Even though I’m at Uwajimaya at least weekly, I don’t really know where to find matcha salt in Seattle. I do, however, have a small mortar and pestle, and a fairly substantial supply of matcha for cooking, since I’ve been functioning as a sales broker for Three Tree Tea. So I ground some salt up to a fine snowflake-like powder, and combined it with a fairly substantial proportion of matcha for cooking (grade A).

Matcha-jioRenkon to ingen to ninjin no tempura with Matcha-jio

I spotted some freshly harvested local green beans (ingen), and some well packed Chinese lotus root (renkon). For color contrast I thought a few slices of carrot would be nice. I decided to make tempura the “old fashioned” way, which is not with a batter, but by bathing the vegetables in very cold water with a beaten egg, and dipping into flour. This allows for a very thin coating that allows the colors to come through. I did sprinkle everything a tiny amount of salt after frying before plating.

A few weeks ago at La Medusa, Hiromi and I had a nice “sappari” sauced pasta made with a fava bean cream, served with salt-marinated fava beans. I thought it was a good model for what I had in mind for my gnocchi.

For the pasta, I wanted the matcha to function much like rosemary or thyme or any other herb would work in a sauce. My goal was to make it recognizable if you were familiar with it, just strong enough that you would miss it if it weren’t there. So I chose to use a very small amount of cutting-board minced garlic (roughly half a clove), 2 tbsp. butter, 2–3 tbsp. cream (unmeasured), and a bit of parmesan. I prepared matcha by whisking about 3/4 tsp. of the powder in about 1/4 cup of my pasta water. I had some salt-water boiled edamame, which I had dropped in an ice bath after cooking. After boiling the gnocchi, which were a simple potato-based gnocchi with no special seasoning, I combined them with the edamame and the sauce and kept cooking a couple more minutes in the cream sauce (adjusting salt as needed). As a tea, matcha can become bitter or astringent when cooked for a long time, so I combined it into the sauce just before adding the gnocchi.

Matcha cream gnocchi

Gnocchi seem an ideal gateway between Japanese and Italian cuisine. The mild sweetness of the potatoes in gnocchi and the sweet-savory nature of “dango” or Japanese dumplings seemed to make the medium even more fitting. In fact, the first time I made a matcha cream sauce a few weeks ago, I used a tiny amount of sugar (1/4–1/2 tsp) just to make the sauce smoother. This time I skipped that. If someone served me a matcha cream pasta at a restaurant, I would be happy with either choice. The sauce was simple, clean-tasting, and slightly herby without any noticeable astringency.

In the morning I baked a moderately-sweetened green tea cheesecake. I am not a fan of the increasingly ubiquitous super-sweet cheesecakes. Matcha does need a bit of sugar for balance in sweets, so I did use a tiny bit more than if I were just doing a simple lemon zest cheesecake that might be topped with some fruit.

The base of the matcha cheesecake was essentially 8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, 2 tbsp. sour cream, 3 tbsp. sugar, 2 level tsp. matcha whipped with the softened cream cheese and sugar, a few drops pure vanilla extract, and one egg. I made a simple graham cracker crust. I used two very small (maybe 4”) springform pans. After the cheesecake came out of the oven, I made a sour cream and sugar topping which had additional matcha blended in. I served about 1/2 of the small cheesecake per person, which was more than really necessary but not overwhelming. Just before serving, I dusted a bit more matcha on top and on the plate.

Matcha cheesecake

The final product: Gnocchi with edamame in a matcha cream sauce; Renkon to ingen to ninjin no tempura with Matcha-shio, and matcha cheesecake with anko (red bean paste).

Gnocchi with edamame in a matcha cream sauce; Renkon to ingen to ninjin no tempura with Matcha-shio, and matcha cheesecake with anko (red bean paste).

Dinner is served!

This month's Is My Blog Burning theme is tea as an ingredient, hosted by A La Cuisine, so please take a look at what other folks have imagined. By Japanese standards, my dishes are probably slightly conventional but still somehow very much my own, so I'm sure you'll find some more radical uses of tea over there.

Attacked by a Senior Citizen

Whenever I’m driving somewhere, I irritate my passengers by being ultra-conservative about when I enter traffic. If I see someone on my left when I’m turning right, if I think there’s the slightest chance they could come near me, I usually wait, and wait, and wait.

So about five or ten seconds after I turned right out of a parking lot around Leary and 14th in Ballard today, I was very surprised to see a car bearing right into my direction on my driver’s side mirror. I started moving closer to the right because I thought it was very strange that someone would be moving so close to me so fast. It was also strange to see the car bearing right, as if it was aiming for me.

Then, I noticed a little scraping sound as the car zoomed in front of me. I remember thinking, oh, what’s this about? And then the car finally started slowing down and turned into another parking lot. An elderly woman got out of the car and was complaining that I had just hit her. She said she was “just in her own lane” but of course there was nothing on the left when I entered traffic, so I am quite convinced she had a very loose interpretation of “in her own lane”. In any event, she left convinced that I had hit her, even though she was coming from behind me.

She started talking about the last time someone hit her, so I thought maybe this is a habit of hers.

There was no meaningful damage to speak of; some clearcoat scratches on her car. She said there was a dent, but I couldn’t see anything; the other side of the car had the same shape. My car had minor scratches in the clear coat and a small amount of chipped paint at the wheel well edge.

She collected my driver’s license and insurance information and I got hers, borrowing her pencil and notepad, which she had in her hand as soon as she got out of her car. I didn’t think it was worth reporting, but then I realized I should call my insurance company since she seems intent on placing the blame on me.

I guess I have to watch out for people who aim at my car… It never occurred to me that someone would do that.

DSC_00066

The Chinese Gadfly, Part 2

By posting the entirety our email exchange in a comment on my blog, The Chinese Gadfly has implicitly granted permission for open publication of our email exchanges; accordingly, I will indulge him, although I will remove the email addresses and names of my supplier and those of my attorney’s office.

Since he published his email address on my blog, you’re welcome to email The Chinese Gadfly.

The Chinese Gadfly uses multiple identities. The first email came from a domain which is cloaked to a pseudo-trade directory. Most of the company’s online presence seems to be search engine spamming. Their message came by way of the online contact form on my YuzuMura.com site.

From: [YuzuMura.com Online Contact Form]
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 3:11 PM
To: [Jason Truesdell]
Subject: Contact Inquiry From Website

Name=Pelo Napili
Phone=+8618301727207
EMail=pay@payac.com
Subject=Dragon Beard Candy
S1=Dear Sirs, I wish to inform you that "Dragon Beard" word has been registered with ipos "Trade Mark" under the nutra swiss plc. To avoid any legal action gainst your company, Please remove all the above marks from your website immidialy. I has been sent the report to China Industry Commerce for future actions if you not proceed our request. Thank you Shanghai Wan Pan International Nutra Swiss Representative in China
B1=Submit

Note that The Chinese Gadfly has not yet explained the class of trademark, the nature of the claimed infringement, or the relevance to the U.S. market. The claim that “’dragon beard’ word” is a trademark is ambiguous, since it’s not possible to trademark without a context. For example, Dragon Beard is an established shoe and sportwear brand in Japan. But no reference of “dragon beard candy” would likely be confused with shoes. More importantly, it’s a novel use of the phrase, and not naturally associated with shoes, so in such a case, it would be a fairly strong mark in that context.

About a year ago, I noticed a strange web site popping up in searches for “dragon beard candy”; it was basically a packaged version of American cotton candy, with the typical artificial coloring, sold in plastic translucent tubs. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because it was so obviously unrelated to what I import. But it rode on the coattails of the name for this traditional confection. I remembered the domain names associated with this, and one of them referenced a company name “Nutra Swiss.” So I chose to infer that they were referring to this product, in spite of the fact that they didn’t provide that information.

Dragon beard candy has existed in Asia for ages… the legend says it’s been nearly 2000 years, although some sources say it originates later in the Ming Dynasty. Certainly it has evolved over time; peanuts weren’t readily accessible until relatively recently in China, and so the typical filling must certainly have evolved over time. Immigrants in Montreal, New York, Vancouver, BC, and occasionally in San Francisco and Los Angeles have used the English phrase “dragon beard candy” to describe the type of candy for at least 20 years. Trademark law doesn’t generally allow for phrases that have a history of non-branded usage to gain protection as a trademark. I did a quick search in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s web site and saw only the apparel-maker’s registration.

My supplier told me I should direct The Chinese Gadfly to their legal office, so I wrote Mr. Chinese Gadfly back:

From: Jason Truesdell
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 1:55 PM
To: pay@payac.com
Cc: [Bamboo Garden’s Hong Kong Office]; [Bamboo Garden’s Singapore Office]; [Attorneys with whose firm I have placed a retainer]
Subject: RE: Contact Inquiry From Website

You’ll have to take that up with the Hong Kong based maker of the candy. I am merely a distributor within the United States, and the term whose use you are disputing is merely a translation of a 2000-year old common name for the candy; it is not a brand name. I conduct no trade under the name “Bamboo Garden Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy” in China, and I do not use “dragon beard” as a brand name. We use the phrase [dragon beard candy] as a common name for a class of candy, and common names may not be used as a trademark in the United States.

You may direct your concerns to the legal office of Bamboo Garden in Hong Kong. Please direct any such inquiries to [Bamboo Garden Hong Kong Office Email Address].

To the best of my knowledge, within the United States, in order for trademark protection to apply.

1)       The protected trademark or service mark must function as adjective, not as a noun.

2)       The phrase must be applied to a specific product category or categories.

3)       You must have actually conducted substantial trade in the United States market under the brand name. You cannot simply protect a phrase that you intend to use. We have seen no evidence of actual trade in the United States under the trade name you refer to, and you have not demonstrated any.

The only evidence of your claimed brand identity I have seen is in online export directory listings and in a no longer extant web page.

Were the name not already in common use, “Dragon Beard brand Cotton Candy” could possibly have been trademarked. The applicable trademark in this case, however, is “Bamboo Garden Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy.”  Bamboo Garden is the brand, and the mark applies to the common class of candy Dragon Beard Candy. I also understand Icy-Crispy is also a trademark of Bamboo Garden when applied to the common name dragon beard candy.

Other criteria for enforceability include whether the usage of a mark is “well known.”  Because I have seen no substantial evidence of a market presence in the United States, I doubt that you would have a claim on that end. Your usage is not inherently distinctive, it is not arbitrary (due to prior usage as a common phrase), and due to the common usage is not suggestive. Our perspective is that “dragon beard candy” is merely a translation of a common term.

To the best of our knowledge, “Dragon Beard Candy” has been used as a common name for a type of handmade candy originally served some 2000 years ago in China. We believe that the common name for this type of candy has at least 20 years of prior usage in the United States and Canada among immigrant candymakers.

If you can demonstrate an international registration which is relevant to the U.S. market (China has no jurisdiction on U.S. trademark protection), and if you can demonstrate conclusively that your use of “dragon beard candy” is novel and exists prior to the common usage of the generic term “dragon beard candy” within the North American market and Hong Kong, I’d be happy to re-evaluate our decision to use the generic term “dragon beard candy.” Until such time, we see no justification for altering our usage of the term. 

Jason Truesdell, Principal
Yuzu Trading Co. LLC
Phone: 206-274-4575
Fax: 206-260-7401
Wholesale: http://www.yuzutrade.com/
Buy online at http://www.yuzumura.com/

Cc: [Names of my attorneys]. Please file only, no action on your part or on the part of Davis Wright Tremaine is required at this time.
Cc: [Names of my contacts at Bamboo Garden]

The Chinese Gadfly did not respond to the issues I raised. Instead, he sent a “Finanl notice” (sic), under a different identity, and chose to invent a new name for me:

From: Wan Pan International [mailto:1@1swiss.com]
Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 1:41 AM
To: 'Jason Truesdell'
Cc: [Bamboo Garden Hong Kong Office]
Subject: RE: Contact Inquiry From Website (Final Notice)

Finanl Notice

 

Dear James

 

With reference to our email on regards to Trade Mark and action on behalf of company in order to fulfill the requirements to make the legal action and Madrid Protocol permit for above product’s brand to China mainland and Islands & all IPOS International members. We have therefore sending you the following information;

Words in Mark : dragon beard cotton candy
Trade Mark Number: T0104527D                              
National

Application Type : Trade Mark
Class : 30
Part :

Priority Date
Converted Application : N
Application Date : 04 Apr 2001
Mark Lodged in Colour : N
Mark Status : Registered
Mark Status Date : 04 Apr 2001
Status Update Date :

More Details on Mark Status:-
 
 Cert Issuance Date : 19 Jun 2003
 Expiry Date : 04 Apr 2011
 Publication of Acceptance Date : 18 Dec 2002

The Chinese Gadfly did not provide any explanation of the authority of this document, so we don’t have any registry that we can search to verify this claim, even if it were relevant. His registration doesn’t exist in WIPO’s Madrid Protocol database, the international trademark registry. I checked both the number and the name.

I’m surprised that he is putting his trademark registration at risk within China by going head-to-head with a mark that predated his registration. It would surely invalidate his claim. The company that owns the trademark “Bamboo Garden Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy” was established over 10 years ago and has been using the trade name since 1999 or 2000.

I apologise if today’s entry is becoming tedious, but in response to his ambigous “Trade Mark Number” email, I sent him another lengthy reply.

From: Jason Truesdell
Sent: 04 September 2005 13:45
To: 1@1swiss.com

CC: [Bamboo Garden Hong Kong Office], [Bamboo Garden Singapore Office], [Attorney’s Office]
Subject: RE: Contact Inquiry From Website (Final Notice)

1)       My name is not James. I am also not the relevant party, since my company is merely referencing an existing, established trade name from a Hong Kong based company in the capacity of a distributor and in the capacity of an online retailer. I directed you to the Hong Kong vendor’s legal department so that you may explain to them your claim to the name.

2)       The mark “Bamboo Garden Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy” has a continuous trade presence in Hong Kong at least since 2000 under that mark. I’m sure Lavina will fill you in on the details.

3)       You have not demonstrated that your mark has any history predating the use of the common name “dragon beard candy.” You have not demonstrated uniqueness of the mark.

4)       You indicate that your trademark was registered as “Dragon Beard cotton candy.” This is a different claim than “dragon beard candy.”

5)       With regard to my company, we are not referencing the mark “Dragon Beard cotton candy” in any way on our web site. We are not selling any cotton candy products. We do not wish to, because to use the term “cotton candy” to refer to this traditional candy would diminish the value of this traditional, handmade sweet. Cotton candy is recognized as a low-value, generally machine-made class of candy within the United States, and is characterized by artificial flavorings and colorings. The product in question has no such traits.

6)       With regard to my company’s commercial web presence, we do not compare our product to your company’s product. We do not imply any relationship to your mark or brand. We only use the common name “dragon beard candy” in reference to a traditional sweet originating in China, predating your company’s mark, as literally translated from the Chinese name for this type of candy.

7)       You have yet to demonstrate an infringing use of the name to which you claim to have a trademark. You claim that the phrase “dragon beard candy” is protected, but you have not demonstrated that in any way. Nor have you demonstrated the claim’s relevance to the United States or North American market.

8)       You have yet to demonstrate any substantial trade presence within the United States. As I explained before, my company does not sell this product in the P.R.C. and any concerns regarding the name within Asia should be addressed to the manufacturer, to whose legal department I have previously directed you. My company only promotes this product within the United States, and to a lesser extent, Canada. Your trademark claim has no value without a trade presence within the market for which you are making a claim.

9)       I suggest using a more unique brand name in future projects. You will find it difficult to protect trademarks built upon common names for a product. U.S. law grants only very limited protection for trademarks using common names.

 As I explained previously, for my company to consider taking any action, you must demonstrate to me that your trade name predates usage of the common term “dragon beard candy”. I shall have no problem demonstrating prior usage of the common phrase “dragon beard candy” within North America prior to your year 2001 trademark registration. Additionally, you must demonstrate trade presence within the United States. Finally, you must demonstrate that the supplier of the product I distribute has an infringing use of your mark.

We see no cause to remove references to the common phrase “dragon beard candy” on our web site or elsewhere. Unless you have specific responses to the points I have made above, my company will see no cause to reconsider our usage of the common phrase, nor cause to alter our references to the Hong Kong trade name “Bamboo Garden Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy.” If you have issues with their trade name, please take it up with Bamboo Garden’s legal department. 

Jason Truesdell
Phone: 206-274-4575
Fax: 206-260-7401
Wholesale: http://www.yuzutrade.com/
Internet Retail: http://www.yuzumura.com/
Blog: http://blog.jagaimo.com/

For our next installment in the adventures of Mr. Chinese Gadfly, we’ll feature his continued ambiguous threats and simultaneous non-responsiveness to the substance of our replies. I expect Mr. Chinese Gadfly’s rhetoric to increase in histrionics and decrease in substance. Stay tuned. 

Technorati tags: China, trademarks, law

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