Sears Warns Nevada County Teens Over Name Of Lawn Care Business

PENN VALLEY (CBS13) – There is a David and Goliath battle going on in Nevada County where two entrepreneurial teens are under attack from a nationally known department store.

Sears is going after 13-year-old twins James and Andrew Schnitzius over the name of their lawn care business: Weed Whackers R Us.

According to the twins’ mother, Clarissa Schnitzius, the boys started the business last summer to earn money to buy iPod Touches.

“We taught them if you want something you have to work hard for it and so they decided well, ‘we’ll do yards this summer’,” said Clarissa Schnitzius.

Their uncle helped them come up with the name Weed Whackers R US and made a one-page website to get the word out to their small community of Lake Wildwood.

wee whackers 2 Sears Warns Nevada County Teens Over Name Of Lawn Care Business

The website for Weed Whackers R Us with a note saying it will be taken down. (credit: weed-whackers-r-us)

The problem, Sears has trademarked the name Weedwacker®. Lawyers for Sears sent a letter this week accusing the boys of trademark infringement and cybersquatting. Sears is demanding the boys take down the website and discontinue using the name Weed Whackers R Us.

CBS13’s Nick Janes asked the twins, “Are you trying to compete with Sears?”.

“No, no. We didn’t think of it,” said Andrew Schnitzius.

“We’re just 2 13-year-old kids in a small neighborhood,” added brother James. “It’s kinda surprising.”

If the boys do not take down the website, the letter states: “Sears is entitled to recover up to $100,000 in statutory damages per violation.” The boys could also be forced to hand over their comparatively paltry profits.

“With business costs and all that, we probably got about $300 with gas and stuff,” explained Andrew.

“I understand they need to protect their trademarks, but really? They’re only 13-year-old boys working in their neighborhood,” said Clarissa.

After CBS13 contacted Sears, they sent us the following statement:

“Sears sent a cease and desist letter to the website’s owners in the ordinary course of enforcing our intellectual property rights. It is necessary for Sears to take such actions in order to protect its intellectual property rights in some of the world’s most famous brands, such as CRAFTSMAN®, KENMORE®, DIEHARD® and WEEDWACKER®. When Sears sent the letter and made the request, it did not know the age of the site’s owners. Sears plans to reach out to the two young men and their families in an effort to amicably resolve this matter.” – Kimberly Freely, Spokesperson Sears Holdings Corporation

James and Andrew say they want to follow the rules. So they say, lesson learned and they’ll take down the website.

After gathering suggestions for a new business name including ‘Invasive Species Annihilators’, the twins have settled on ‘The Weed Assassins’. They are pretty sure that name won’t violate any copyright laws.

  • Sactogirl65

    If this is how Sears spends their time, money and energy then it’s no wonder they are on the verge of going under!

  • Obama

    sweet! I cant wait for SOPA to pass!

    • SDS

      then u better off living in a Communist country. What an idiot Redneck!

  • Ginger Reese

    That gives me another reason never to shop at Sears again. I’ll take my business somewhere else. I’ll never buy anymore products made or sold with a Sears trademark.

  • Dan

    I guess people here really don’t understand that Sears has no choice. If they allow these kids to use a copyrighted name then they have failed to enforce their copyright and give up their right to enforce the copyright against anyone else and that includes real competition..

    What I don’t understand is why Sears doesn’t just offer the Kids a licence to use the copyrighted name. Sears could licence the name to the Kids for a $1 and still retain their right to enforce their copyright against anyone else who tries to steal it.

    • CT

      Maybe they will. The spokesperson did say they were going tor reach out to the boys and try to settle things amicably so…

  • Christopher J Murphy Jr.

    this is ridiculous! Are companies so hard up for cash they jump at any chance they get to file a lawsuit? I say BOYCOTT SEARS & K-MART! I mean do they REALLY feel threatened by these 2? come on! Just because they “didn’t know they were teens” doesn’t excuse them from quickly rushing to litigation.

  • Sears wacks 13 year old WEEDWACKER infringers

    […] to an article on CBS Sacramento, “[t]here is a David and Goliath battle going on in Nevada County where two […]

  • Hugo Alberto

    But their name is weed-whackers-r-us not weedwacker wich is totally different it has dashes and an H and an S, yea is so easy for millionare companies to own every word in the dictionary put them together and I will trademark my name so nobody can use it without my consent.

    Maybe I am an ignorant in this trademark subject but weed-wHackerS is not same as weedwacker, I would agree with sears if they used “The weedwacker boys”

    Now we need to see if toys r us comes with another complaint.

    If I would use a different name I will try Tweens-Wacking-Weeds.

  • Hugo Alberto

    hahahaha you made my day.

  • Disgusted

    Why has no one noticed that Weedwacker® and Weed Whacker are NOT THE SAME?! This is beyond absurd and highlights the utter failure of language these days.

  • Snad

    From a trademark perspective, Toys R Us ain’t gonna be too happy either.

  • Kenny

    Anynoe remeber Disney suing day care centers back in the 1980’s for having Disney characters on the walls? I applaud these parents having these boys work for something they wanted instead of just giving it to them. When my stepson turned eighteen he wanted a car. He asked my wife (his mother) why couldn’t she buy him a car. I over heard it. I asked him what kind of car he wanted? He wanted a Honda like one of his friends had. I told him we could look for one. I had his hopes up. Then I told him he could buy it when he got a job and bought it himself. You should have heard the whining and fussing when we wouldn’t buy him a car. BTW I was his stepdad for seven months when he turned eighteen.

  • luanne

    This is ridiculous; not worthy of taking up the time of a judge or court. I hope the boys & Sears are able to work out something that will benefit the boys. It sounds like Sears was unaware that they were dealing with a couple of kids, they probably thought this was a larger yard company using the Weedwacker or Weed-Whacker to sell business, which of course they were. Good luck boys, I’m sure Sears will work with you.

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