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The Story Behind the Name Change

January 1st, 2010

The Phone Call
I got a phone call in mid-Spetember of 2009. The person at the other end said they were Marie Seibel and were calling from Townsend and Townsend, a law office in San Francisco that Apple retains to protect their intellectual property.

She had been asked to contact me regarding the name 'ipodsickbay.com' which included Apple's trademark "Ipod" as part of the title. They wanted me to change the name and abandon the use of ipodsickbay.com.

She was clear they weren't asking me to stop repairing iPods, they just wanted the name I had used for several years to not be used any longer.

I asked what time frame they wanted this to occur in and she responded back, "What might seem reasonable to you?" I replied I would need 6 months to find a new name and make the change.

She responded back, "That sounds reasonable. I'll ask Apple."

Frankly I thought the entire conversation was a prank and that I was being punked by Ashley Totah who had me send her repaired to her old address and was holding me responsible for the people renting her old place for keeping it. Ashley had posted a negative review in Yelp and told me she was getting her attorney involved. I thought that was this.

The Letter

Time went by and I heard nothing about this, until 8 days after Thanksgiving in early December. A letter was delivered by Fed Ex, that began,

"Further to our recent phone call...."

It read,

Dear Mr Walburg,

Further to our recent phone call, we understand iPod Sick Bay has agreed to abandon all use of, and plans to use the, IPod Sick Bay mark. In reliance on this representation, Apple Inc. will agree to your request for a phase-out period as described below, provided you promptly agree that:

1. Within six minths of the date of this letter you will cease all use of ipod Sick Bay as a name and mar;

2. Within six months of the date of this letter, you will cease all use of the wwwipodsickbay.com domain, including for redirection, and hold the domnain without using it until the current term of registration expires;

3) You will permanently refrain from using, attempting to register, or otherwise claiming exclusive rights in any name or mark containing or confusinly similar to Apple's iPod trademark or any variations thereof, including iPodSickBay, in connection with the promotion or sale of your products or services; and

4) You will immediately and permanently discontinue use of any images of Apple products taken from Apple's website or other promotional materials without permission, and of any images of Apple products used as part of a logo.


If the above terms correctly summarize your representation and agreement, please countersign a copy of this letter and return it to us within ten days of your receipt of this letter. Please fell free to contact us if you have questions.



Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Very truly yours

Marie Seibel"

My Phone call to them

Certainly a chunk of time had passed since the "recent phone call" and they wanted this signed and back to them at a time of year when the legal closes down for vacation during Thanksgiving week for 9 days. A cynical person would think they were deliberately trying to push me into an un-represented corner.

I called Marie the next day (Monday) at 9 and left a voice mail. I didn't get a response so I called again at 1:30 (lawyer return from lunch time ) and was given a choice to be put through to her assistant Antonia Wong.

I mentioned to Antonia that there were no days available to get someone to review it so I wanted the document dated not December 15th but January 15th.

I also wanted them to send two copies of the revised letter

I also made clear I don't use any Apple generated images since I am a known photographer that I prefer my own shots and their 'folksy' appearance. The iPod image in the iPod Sick Bay logo was a photo I took.

Antonia said she would convey things to Marie and I got back an email on December 21st that read

The email and revised Letter

"Dear Frank,

Thanks for your call. We will send two copies of the letter with a January date to give you sufficient time to respond. With respect to Paragraph 4, I will change the language as follows: "You will refrain from using any images of Apple products taken from Appleā€™s website or other promotional materials without permission, and will not use any images of Apple products as part of a logo." Can you please confirm at your earliest convenience that the foregoing language is acceptable?

Thanks,

Marie"

A few days later I got two copies of the revised letter. It was now dated January 15th 2010

The fourth paragraph now read.

4. You will refrain from using any images of Apple products taken from Apple's website or other promotional materials without permission, and will not use any images of Apple products as part of a logo."

I signed it and sent it back.

The new name and enhanced meaning

I will now be using www.isickbay.com as the domain for my work.

In ways, it's better because I have been quite a bit of work on peoples iPhones and the iPod aspect had become limiting without my realizing it. I think iSickBay.com will give more room to grow in notoriety.

I'm a bit bummer that all the links back to my site for my water immersion work will appear to be broken since the sites they originate from will link back to the iSB old site.

So it's January 1st 2010 as I write and here's to new beginnings... a new decade, a new name and a year filled with promise. I plan to use it wisely.



Frank

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