Neiman Marcus attacks Women’s Shelter over name

Neiman Marcus apparently has a brand they’ve trademarked called “LAST CALL” through which they sell high-end clothes.

Columbia, SC, has a charity resale store called “Revente’s Last Call“, which is essentially a Goodwill, that gives all of its procedes to the local Women’s Shelter.

RLC was opened in 2010 to benefit The Women’s Shelter. We donate ALL of our net profits to the shelter and also clothe those in need through referrals from various local agencies.  As of May 1, 2012 we have donated over $40,000 to the Womens Shelter.

Well, Neiman Marcus is apparently concerned that “Revente’s Last Call” is going to be confused with “Last Call with Carson Daly” “Last Call by Neiman Marcus” and has sent a letter threatening to take legal action against the charity.

Sometimes, corporations have just no idea that they are coming across as complete jackasses, do they?

My immediate instinct would be to encourage a boycott of the local Neiman Marcus but, oops, there isn’t a Neiman Marcus in Columbia, SC.  In fact, there’s not a Neiman Marcus in the ENTIRE state.  But they feel really threatened by The Women’s Shelter charity anyway, I guess.  Their Facebook statement to the complaints:

Like all businesses, we have a responsibility to protect our trademarks. Our VP of corporate communications can be reached at (214) 573-5822 if you would like a more detailed statement from us. Thank you.

Oh hey, look there’s a number we can all call!  So call that, and if you want to write about this and help ensure they get the bad PR they deserve, please do! I will even link to you if you want!

And here’s a wonderful suggestion by Christopher Bickel:

Neiman’s team could have been more proactive in sending a letter stating “We believe that your store’s name unintentionally infringes on our mark, but we are prepared to help you defray the costs of changing it in light of the mission of your organization” or alternatively “we would be happy to allow you a non-exclusive license to use the mark so long as your store continues to serve the community as a non-profit.” Sometimes protecting your PR is as important as protecting your legal rights.

The fact is, Neiman could have been a lot better about this in a dozen ways.  For example, picking up the phone and calling the charity instead of sending them a legal letter.

My recommendation to all corporations: Before you wave around your legal dick to threaten people over sketchy, petty bullshit, make sure you’re not doing it to a company that does something like feed orphans, save battered women, or clothe homeless vets.