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mal103
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 21 May 2011
Posts: 559


PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds similar to what happened to me but not related to previous Sensei and I can't offer legal advice.

I was unhappy with standards and dodgy insurance so ended up leaving, started own school, I already had two clubs running in neighbouring towns so just an admin change. I told students they can train anywhere they chose, some left the old club, some stayed, some stayed but still train with me.
Problems may occur later as old club gave away belts too easily so may have some joint students overtake mine but none of mine are belt chasers and shouldn't be bothered.
I was lied about when I left and someone tried to threaten legal action about what was said, not said etc. I had a better case against them but didn't do anything.
It is tempting to try and compete against the old club but not worth it, good karate and sound business will keep and attract students.

My best advice to you would be to consider a name change of the style as he may claim it as his, if you were to call it something else or drop the name there should be less chance of being accused of copying the style. In addition you may consider changing the syllabus enough for it to be different. I was okay because it's Shotokan karate which is popular but I have changed a few things already.

Everything else you are doing seems fine, train well, train hard and don't bad mouth anyone and people will see pass any problems and carry on training. You could try to keep a dialogue going with the father to try and see exactly what he wants but also try to convince him that you are not going to give in to demands, offer to work with him but not be dictated to. This may go in your favour as being the good guys.

It is a nightmare when things go bad but I have come out the other side now and spend my energy in giving good training now which is absolutely great, stick with it and let us know.
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dhdye
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 16 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Tukwila

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:41 pm    Post subject: Update Reply with quote

Hello All,

Just wanted to submit an update on how things are going with the new school. Just last week we had our third rank testing and we were so grateful to see all the new excited faces and great supporting parents. The growth is slow but steady, we haven't lost any $ or had to use our personal finances.
Due to the tension with his father we opted to train in a nearby city, it is still a budding town so we will essentially grow with this town and the other nearby towns. This is good because we still both work full time (sometimes more than that) jobs so its just enough but not too much.
Thanks to all of you who posted to my thread, it was so helpful - that was a trying time and we look forward to our growth as we plug ahead and share martial arts to our community.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14323
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Update Reply with quote

dhdye wrote:
Hello All,

Just wanted to submit an update on how things are going with the new school. Just last week we had our third rank testing and we were so grateful to see all the new excited faces and great supporting parents. The growth is slow but steady, we haven't lost any $ or had to use our personal finances.
Due to the tension with his father we opted to train in a nearby city, it is still a budding town so we will essentially grow with this town and the other nearby towns. This is good because we still both work full time (sometimes more than that) jobs so its just enough but not too much.
Thanks to all of you who posted to my thread, it was so helpful - that was a trying time and we look forward to our growth as we plug ahead and share martial arts to our community.

Glad to see that things worked out across the board!!



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Patrick
KF Administrator

Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 27000
Location: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the update, dhdye.

Patrick
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chiliphil1
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 225


PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrick wrote:
Just stating the obvious here, but this forum is not a replacement for legal advance and can't be taken as legal advice. What you'll hear is a lot of opinions. Legal advice should be sought from attorneys.

With that out of the way, yes, you can be sued. The simple truth is that anyone can sue for anything. It doesn't mean they'll be successful, of course. But they can sue you.

People threaten lawsuits all the time. Most who threaten never do anything, they are just trying to intimidate.

As far as stealing customers, this seems like a good read: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/167128

As far as "trademark," if that is what your husband's father said, that just illustrates he doesn't know what he's talking about. The area of law that would impact this is copyright, which is different. Can a martial arts curriculum be copyrighted? I don't see why not. Choreography can (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl119.html). Not to compare the martial arts to dance, but it seems fairly applicable. But I'm not a lawyer, so could be wrong.

It sounds like you are uneasy and looking for advice on what to do. If I were you, I would do one of these or both:

1. Ignore him. Block him from texting your phones or calling you. If he gets through, ignore him.

If the story is as you say, your husband's father is damaging his own credibility, not just your husband's. He might have some passionate supporters, but most people don't wish to be apart of family drama, especially when it isn't their family.

Your husband should have an answer in mind when people ask him about it. I would say that answer should be polite and should not get into personally attacks. "My father and I had a falling out. Unfortunately, he fired me. It is a difficult situation for me and my family. I didn't want to give up the martial arts, so I decided to start my own school." Something like that.

2. If you are really worried, contact an attorney. It may cost you some money, but will probably give you some piece of mind. If you want, you could have the attorney send a letter to your father demanding that he stop the threats to you and your new business.

Does that help your family situation? Probably not. So only you can decide what course to take here.

Not an easy situation, either way. Best of luck.

Patrick


Another thing that comes to mind would be the "fire with fire" method. If the father continues to threaten to sue in that case you could sue him for slander since he is going around telling everyone about your personal information. You wouldn't have to go through with it if you did want to but it seems to me that you have a solid case for this, I would imagine that if he were served papers that he was being sued for ruining your name them he would back off a bit.. Though that could also have the opposite effect.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14323
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrick wrote:
Just stating the obvious here, but this forum is not a replacement for legal advance and can't be taken as legal advice. What you'll hear is a lot of opinions. Legal advice should be sought from attorneys.

With that out of the way, yes, you can be sued. The simple truth is that anyone can sue for anything. It doesn't mean they'll be successful, of course. But they can sue you.

People threaten lawsuits all the time. Most who threaten never do anything, they are just trying to intimidate.

As far as stealing customers, this seems like a good read: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/167128

As far as "trademark," if that is what your husband's father said, that just illustrates he doesn't know what he's talking about. The area of law that would impact this is copyright, which is different. Can a martial arts curriculum be copyrighted? I don't see why not. Choreography can (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl119.html). Not to compare the martial arts to dance, but it seems fairly applicable. But I'm not a lawyer, so could be wrong.

It sounds like you are uneasy and looking for advice on what to do. If I were you, I would do one of these or both:

1. Ignore him. Block him from texting your phones or calling you. If he gets through, ignore him.

If the story is as you say, your husband's father is damaging his own credibility, not just your husband's. He might have some passionate supporters, but most people don't wish to be apart of family drama, especially when it isn't their family.

Your husband should have an answer in mind when people ask him about it. I would say that answer should be polite and should not get into personally attacks. "My father and I had a falling out. Unfortunately, he fired me. It is a difficult situation for me and my family. I didn't want to give up the martial arts, so I decided to start my own school." Something like that.

2. If you are really worried, contact an attorney. It may cost you some money, but will probably give you some piece of mind. If you want, you could have the attorney send a letter to your father demanding that he stop the threats to you and your new business.

Does that help your family situation? Probably not. So only you can decide what course to take here.

Not an easy situation, either way. Best of luck.

Patrick

Solid post!!



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