David versus Goliath: Vodka maker orders Everett salon to change its name

Aug 15, 2013, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:18 pm
Absolut Vodka has ordered Everett’s Absolut Hair to change its name – or face legal act...
Absolut Vodka has ordered Everett's Absolut Hair to change its name - or face legal action. (Absolut Vodka image)
(Absolut Vodka image)

When Jessee Skittrall bought Absolut Hair and Makeup in Everett, the business had been going strong for 15 years. So you can imagine his shock when he got a letter from lawyers for Absolut Vodka telling him he has to change the name.

“Basically, it was a very large document that said Absolut Vodka owns the name outright, they have exclusivity on it and the famousness of it,” Jessee told the Ron and Don Show.

It’s the classic David versus Goliath. And Jessee can’t believe the French company that owns Absolut Vodka would bother picking a fight.

“It just seems stupid to come out of the middle of nowhere. And why us? Seriously. It’s not like you can get some vodka at our place. It’s not like you’re going to buy some there and we’re infringing on their rights.”

The world’s third largest alcohol brand would beg to differ. The company told Jessee the salon’s name and logo is too close to the vodka maker and a violation of its trademark.

“I bought it [the salon] four years ago. It was recognized, so I didn’t feel any need to change it. There hadn’t been a problem, so there wasn’t an issue,” he said.

It’s partially his own fault. Jessee has worked hard on search engine optimization for the salon’s website, so that whenever someone types Absolut in Google, his company would show up near the top of the listings. Unfortunately, Absolut Vodka’s lawyers found him too.

Now, he has no choice but to change.

“We’re kind of backed into a corner. We don’t have the finances to actually hire a lawyer,” he said. And the lawyers he’s talked too have told him it’s a no-win case.

Some people have suggested just adding the letter ‘e’ to Absolut. But even that would cost him.

“I estimate the cost to be about $20,000 by the time we change our website, which we put very large amounts of money into,” along with all the printed materials, signage, and even his own branded line of hair care products. Not to mention all the hours he’ll have to spend making all the changes. But he’s not going to let it ruin him.

“Oh hell no. I’m going to survive this to the best of my abilities.”

The vodka company has given a period of time to make the change – although he says the lawyers haven’t told him exactly how long the grace period will last. He’s thinking of having a contest to let customers come up with a new name. Needless to say, he won’t be giving Absolut to the winner.

Local News

homeless encampments...
Dalton Day

King County Council rejects attempt to remove public homeless encampments

King County Council ahs rejected a motion to codify procedure for removal of homeless encampments in unincorporated King county.
17 hours ago
Charleena Lyles...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle agrees to settlement in Charleena Lyles wrongful death lawsuit

The City of Seattle will pay a $3.5 million settlement to the family of Charleena Lyles, a Black woman who was shot and killed by Seattle police in 2017.
17 hours ago
charity, giving...
MyNorthwest Staff

Secretary of State warns Washingtonians about giving to fake charities

While it's the season for charitable giving, it's also the season for scammers. The secretary of state's office has tips to help protect your donations.
17 hours ago
Tacoma police, South King County...
MyNorthwest Staff

South King County mayors demand action from state to end rash of violence

Multiple mayors in South King County are banding together to combat a violent trend after seven people were shot in four days. 
17 hours ago
Seattle election...
Nick Bowman

How wealthy strongholds helped deliver Seattle’s 2021 election to moderate candidates

Seattle's moderate candidates prevailed in the 2021 election on the strength of wealthy neighborhoods along its eastern and western coastlines.
17 hours ago
pineapple express, seattle rain...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Seattle area sets record for wettest fall season with more rain on the way

As wet weather persists across the region, the Seattle area has officially set an all-time record for fall rain between September and November.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
David versus Goliath: Vodka maker orders Everett salon to change its name