April 24, 2000
Mr. Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
Bellaire, TX 77401-4028
Dear Mr. Archer:
In February, you informed Mr. Huzar,
If the legal office of A&M actually does contact me and requests that I
abandon the use of the word Forbidden Word, I will honor their wishes
and hold a studio-wide contest to rename the dance. Thank you for agreeing
to cease and desist in the use of Texas A&M trademarks. It is a very
difficult and arduous task to monitor illegal use of our trademarks state and
nationwide. Often times, use of our marks is due to lack of knowledge rather
than blatant intent to dilute and misuse these marks.
We recognize that you most likely
used our marks without knowledge that it is a Texas A&M owned trademark
registered with the Texas Secretary of States office. With that in mind,
Texas A&M does not plan to pursue any legal action as long as SSQQ
refrains from use of Aggie and other Texas A&M trademarks in any
Thank you for time and
attention to this matter
Collegiate Licensing Manager
My Reply to Mr. Boenig's "Cease and Desist" letter from Texas A&M.
April 28, 2000
Mr. Tobin Boenig
Collegiate Licensing Manager
Office of Collegiate Licensing
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX
Dear Mr. Boenig,
In response to your Federal Express letter of
April 24, 2000, I just want you to know how grateful I am that Texas A&M
does not at this time plan to pursue any legal action against SSQQ Dance
Studio for its alleged trademark infringements. I find that incredibly decent
of you considering my dance studio has not taught the Forbidden Dance for
profit in nearly a year.
In 1999, my dance studio greedily exploited
Texas A&M to squeeze nearly $100 in ill-gotten gains off the Forbidden
Dance. This makes the Forbidden Dances contribution to our 1999
corporate profits roughly equivalent in percentage to a pimple on a hippos
posterior. This dance is so DEAD that I had voluntarily stopped teaching it
six months before Stephen Huzar ever came along and decided to make my life
Mr. Boenig, with all due respect, do you people
at the Licensing Office realize you are making Texas A&M the laughing
stock of the entire State of Texas? Are you completely clueless?
First Stephen Huzar accuses us of a blatant
act of greed and finds it rather disgusting that we would contribute to
end the noble act of raising scholarships for worthy A&M students.
(email dated 02-04-00).
Then Mark Zietlow of the Michigan Law Firm of
Cunningham, Dalman considers our infringement to be a serious intrusion on
the rights of Texas A&M. (letter dated 03-27-00).
Now you track me down as part of your
difficult and arduous task of monitoring illegal use of A&M
trademarks. (letter dated 04-27-00).
Of course I will cease and desist. It was
funny at first, but you people need to give it up.
Do you realize your letter makes this the
fourth threatening letter sent to me in four months on this subject? I was willing to cooperate from the very start. I actually
like Texas A&M very much, believe it or not. In a weird sort of way, I
even feel sorry for TAMU in this incident.
Did you know that at the same time I am
receiving daily threatening letters my dance studio raised $500 in a charity
event for your University? Did
you know that one month later I have yet to receive a single simple thank
you from your University? What
is wrong with this picture?
I would like to share with you what your own
graduates and various members of the community think of your grandiose
protection of A&M trademarks. I have withheld their names, but you have my
firm word of honor that I can produce every one of these emails if challenged
to do so.
Your Texas A&M gets Mad at SSQQ posting set my
husband (A&M Class of 72) to fuming. He would like to have Mr.
Huzars address in order to send him his opinion on his rude letter to you
and the studio.
studio is teeming with Aggies, and J cant believe that any one of them
would agree with Mr. Huzar.
finally got on the web site to read your Forbidden Word story.
I thought it was ridiculous that Mr. Huzar would make threats against
SSQQ. Looks to me like the
only reason they have an issue is because they wanted to advertise their
Forbidden Word class in Leisure Learning but was unable.
That obviously is a decision by Leisure Learning, not SSQQ.
thought your response was well tempered and classy.
I agree with you, Mr. Huzar should have contacted you first to discuss,
rather than playing hard ball. I
feel as you do, that offering a class called Forbidden Word Jitterbug
lends credibility and respect to the type of dance Aggies do up there in
College Station, which Mr. Huzar should appreciate.
Ive never danced the Forbidden Word Jitterbug, as an Aggie, Ive
seen it danced countless times. I
for one cant wait until the next time you offer the class, it looks like a
lot of fun! I support all Aggie
causes, when it is in the best interest of Aggies and Texas A&M
University. I just dont see
how you teaching Forbidden Word Jitterbug is a threat to Texas A&M.
Maybe Mr. Huzar would have been happier if you would have called it the
College Station Jitterbug? :-)
it was entertaining reading. Glad
the issue has been resolved. See
you on Sunday.
P.S. Dont forget to offer Forbidden Word Jitterbug soon!
Mr J, Aggie Class of 1994
Is it just me, or does it
seem like a lot of Aggies walk around with a chip on their shoulder?
I would be in favor of
renaming the swing dance "Longhorn Jitterbug" if this becomes
necessary. Since SSQQ is by far the greatest (in quality and quantity)
instructor for these classes, it would only take a couple of years for the
"Forbidden Word Jitterbug" to become a faint memory among most
Houstonians. Mr B.
visited the webpage and read about your problems with A & M (although, in
truth, it appears to be a single Aggie whos upset).
Ill concede that Aggie Jitterbug might be a trademark infringement
(but its a bit of a stretch), but I dont think he really read the
webpage if he thinks youre exploiting A & M in it.
The only references I remember to A & M in the webpage are usually
dealing with students who are alumni (like Rachel) or currently enrolled (like
Jamie). That could hardly be
considered exploitation of the Aggie name.
Of course, my first thought when I read the letter is that hes
obviously no English major. My
second thought was that its presumptuous of him to threaten that Aggie
alumni would be offended by your greed over the use of the term Aggie
Jitterbug. You have a lot of A
& M graduates currently taking classes there, and Im sure one of them
would have let you know if it seemed you were exploiting them.
Also, while Leisure Learning is a good avenue for advertising (didnt
that z drive you crazy?), its not the only one.
There are plenty of ways to promote dance classes - Single File and a
Houston Press Romance event are 2 that sprang to mind immediately.
Your response was very considerate (I know that other thoughts must
have been running through your head), and it would be interesting to see what
his response is. Are you going to
update us on this? Take care.
husband and I were so happy to hear that you were offering this scholarship
class! Being Aggies, we would love to participate.
We were wondering when we could sign up and pay in advance for the
class. Our past experience is
that these classes fill quickly. Please
e-mail me back to let us know. Thank
you for your time. Mrs. S
definitely think this got blown way out of proportion.
Im unclear how Texas A&M treats the Utah Aggies.
And even though many universities have since changed their names,
were the Oklahoma Aggies (OSU) and the Michigan Aggies (MSU).
I know quite a few of their alumni still refer to them as the Aggies.
Do all these people get sued, too?
this will all be dropped. Because
I am very disappointed with how my University is handling matters I am
drafting a letter to send to Texas A&M.
I hope this does not stop you from teaching the class as I would love
to take it from your studio.
Texas A&M Class of 1997
you dont mind, but I did email a link to your letter to the Michigan law
firm to...well...pretty much every Longhorn I know. If your click rate
dramatically increases over the next couple of days youll know why. That
was hilarious --- from my very biased perspective, anyhow.
think it is very unfair of you to deprive forbidden worders of their
right to take themselves and their forbidden word seriously, God knows
nobody else does. In normal
society a nick name like this is an insult powerful enough to start a fight.
detect a tongue firmly placed in your cheek when you replied to the mean nasty
suits from Michigan? Mr. W
sure that's the last thing on your mind anyway. I just finished reading the
continuing Shaggie Saga Seven -- Touche!
have my support. Ms. S
your Shaggie Saga after being directed to your website from HornFans.com. After suppressing my bodies autonomic laugh response, I was
able to regain my composure. I
then concluded the following:
I was very impressed
by your writing style and wit.
The majority of
people, including a fair number of Aggies will agree with your initial
assessment of this saga. Regardless of legal justification, this is ludicrous.
If TAMU follows
through with this Draconian tirade, I suggest that you contact the Houston
Texas Exes and try to arrange a fund-raiser for your legal defense fund.
You might hold an Animal House style dance party where attendees
are encouraged to dress like Niedermayer and you teach the Forbidden
Word Jitterbug. Although
Niedermayer dressed like a Nazi, I dont think the Nazi Party will attempt
to prosecute any trademark infringement claims.
Sorry, but I cant speak for any other Brown-Shirt
As the father of two
"forbidden" daughters, I would like to express my apologies for
the way you have been abused by a former Aggie. Mr Huzar is the kind of
person we wish could be forbidden at time of application to this great
university. Please understand that this type of person is not representative
of current or former Aggies. Perhaps Mr. Huzar's time could be better spent
on researching the Licensing Resource Group and their Michigan Law firm to
see how much money they make and what is returned to the university and
former student associations.
would also like to thank you for your donation to the Former Students
Association. -- To bad it was not under better circumstances --
Mr. Boenig, I have more of these letters if you
are still curious. However this sample should give you an inkling of just how
much damage your ill-considered crusade has done to the reputation of your
I am sick and tired of being threatened for
something I tried my best to cooperate with a long time ago.
Do me a favor and sue me. I imagine it will not
only be my best shot in life at 15 minutes of fame, but my counter suit for
frivolous conduct and harassment could possibly earn me a small fortune. I am
quite sure your employer has much deeper pockets than I do. Or is it against
the law to sue a State School? Probably with my luck it is or you guys
wouldnt talk so tough.
And if you arent going to sue me, then I
have a suggestion: Why dont you Cease and Desist yourself?
And while you are at it, how about expediting
that Thank You letter for the Scholarship Money that
the A&M graduates
and many other well-meaning people raised for your school on March 25th ??
That would be a nice gesture for a change.
SSQQ Dance Studio
Benefit Footnote -
Two weeks after I held the Benefit, I
was finally officially "thanked".
On Thursday, April 4, 2000, a nice lady from A&M - a
Ms. Franklin perhaps? - called to thank me for the
However Ms. Franklin was
also curious. She asked me why did we send such a large amount
of money? She had never heard of "SSQQ"
up at College Station.
asked if she even had a clue what was going on, she said no.
filled her in and sent her to the studio web site.
Suddenly there was a gasp. I think she had heard something and had
just made the connection.
What were her words as
she hung up? ...."oh, no..."
Judging from her reaction, she had accidentally contacted the
I never heard back from