A truly historic ruling invalidated fraudulent trademarks obtained by Meth Lab Cleanup Company, LLC. Their numerous attempts to coerce, and intimidate competitors is finally over. A Washington judge correctly ruled that the term “Meth lab cleanup” is generic and has not generated second meaning. Bio Clean of Washington took on the company after they were threatened with a lawsuit over using the term on their website. Bio Clean Inc., who has been in the meth lab cleanup business far longer than Meth Lab Cleanup Company, took on the battle not only for them but also for the industry as a whole.
MLCC entered into the training business several years ago. This structure for their business was flawed from the get go. Their intent was to train parties throughout the country to do meth lab cleanup and then utilize a select few as sub contractors. This idea backfired however, when many of the “subcontractors” became more successful than they were. They fired multiple subcontractors and soon realized their attempts to manage these jobs from their kitchen table were not working. Essentially they were training their competition and then when the competition didn’t want to work with them, or became successful they would send legal letters intimidating them. This worked with everyone except Spaulding Decon and Bio Clean of WA.
During the lengthy legal battle with Bio Clean Inc., MLCC president, Joseph Mazzuca was caught intimidating witnesses and attempting to get them to change their written statements. Bio Clean submitted numerous documents showing that not only government agencies, but also thousands of other companies and news media outlets utilize the term to describe the service. The evidence was compelling.
A blog by Eric Goldman sums up the case quite eloquently. court-cleans-up-trademark-status-of-the-phrase-meth-lab-cleanup
In 2010 Spaulding Decon was also sued by MLCC for utilizing the term “meth lab cleanup” as a service. As a young company we agreed to settle to avoid further legal fees. The settlement included our granted use of the then trademarked term, and we agreed to not pursue the cancellation of their trademarks. MLCC has consistently known that their trademarks were very weak and vulnerable to cancellation. In 2014 MLCC sued us again for the same exact thing. The judge in our case ruled in our favor and stated that we had not violated any trademarks, and granted us full use of the term in lower case. The details of the ruling can be found here: Spaulding Decon v Meth Lab Cleanup LLC. Barely two months later the Washington judge not only ruled in favor of Bio Clean Inc., but also invalidated all the federal trademarks.
This was a true victory for all companies in the meth lab cleanup business. It forces litigious companies like MLCC to play fair and win contracts on their merits and not by intimidation and lawsuits. Perhaps now that MLCC has nothing unique they will go away forever. The industry has no one to thank but Bio Clean Inc.