My name is Maria Borrasso. I'm a 66 year old widow who owns and operates Borrasso Landscaping for 37 years, established in 1977. My late husband, Anthony, Sr. and I started the business with a prayer and a dream. It was a struggle since we had 2 small children at the time. We worked very hard for years to build a successful business. Anthony Sr. died from cancer and I decided to keep the business operating since I had worked it from day one and I hoped our son would keep the business running in the event that I retired or died.
Our son, Tony, Jr. worked for us since he was a teenager. When his dad died. Tony was trained in Sales and was also my foreman. We worked hand and hand with the business. We were very, very close. His girlfriend, now wife, Jodie started working in the office. Jodie advanced to my personal secretary. I was also training Jodie for when I retired, for the business would eventually be Tony's. My relationship with my son changed, he felt Entitlement. His dad died and he believed the business was his, not mine.
After unsuccessfully trying to take over my business in many ways, one by telling my customers that he owned the business, and that I kicked back and just answer the phone. Tony started Borrasso Construction Co in 2006 doing the same Identical work, in the same areas as my company.
Since 2006, I've been given the run around by the legal system and was told that I had to live with it. I tried to operate my business, but I was Competing Against Myself and My Business Reputation. Thus making it's impossible to have 2 Borrasso businesses... less then a mile apart doing the Same Identical work with the Same Name, with the Same Identical Advertisements. Both Borrasso Landscaping (my company) and Borrasso Construction (Tony's) had the Same Salesman. To add insult to injury the phone number now used by Borrasso Construction- Tony Borrasso, is the Same phone number used to call my customers from Borrasso Landscaping. Hard to tell one Borrasso company from the other. Can't tell they are Two Independently owned businesses, causing Customer Confusion.
With Tony's weekly Mass advertising (Full Page Display Ads) through Trib Total Media (Pennysaver), he literally Moved my business to "His Home Phone Number" a phone number he used for Sales & Service to call my customers for approx. 13 years. My business is now living with Tony and he reaps 100% of the income, benefits of my 36 years in business, etc....
Tony’s 43 years old. He was 6 ½ when his dad and I started Borrasso Landscaping. I've tried everything to bring Tony to the table to discuss this but he ignores all calls, etc. He's taken everything my late husband and I worked so hard for and has left me with No Income other then SS.. which is not much.
I advertised with the Pennysaver, and TTM (presently called Trib Total Media with Pennysaver Classifies) since 1977 so they know the history of my company.
Please understand that the TTM (Pennysaver) is the ONLY Weekly publication that a contractor can do a full page, 1/2 page, etc. display ad in my area.
Customers think that Borrasso Landscaping (me) and Borrasso Construction Co (Tony) are affliated and owned by me. The confusion is unbelievable, all customers see is the name Borrasso which they’ve seen for over 36 years. My Rights have been violated by Tony, Trib Total Media and by THE SYSTEM who allow this LEGAL THEFT.
Trademark Infringement Attorney, Matthew Pritchard sent Trib Total Media letters.. stating that I own the service mark "Borrasso" in the Greater Pittsburgh area under the PA Common Law Trademark Rights and requested that the Trib Total Media stop the Misuse of my service mark "Borrasso" by stopping all further advertisements of Borrasso Construction (Tony Borrasso) in any Trib Total Media publication.
Trib Total Media (TTM) refuses to stop the Misuse of my service mark “Borrasso”.
TTM’s attorney - H. Yale Gutnick wrote in a letter dated June 29, 2012 stating::::: “Trib Total Media is Continuing to run the Advertisments for Borrasso Construction”.
Thus violating my ownership rights of the mark. TTM is violating trademark law.
``````````I'm tired of the slow legal system, especially the outrageous amount of $ 30,000 that they want to go before a Federal judge to show proof that I own my own company, Borrasso Landscaping since 1977? Documentation that is registered with the State and Federal Government? The State of PA gave my business away, they can give it back!
I have Common Law Trademark Rights in PA. This law states that "Federal registration is not required to establish trademark rights. "Common law" rights arise from the actual use of a trademark without federal registration. Generally, whoever first uses a trademark in commerce has the ultimate right to use that trademark in that way."
````````Borrasso Landscaping 1977 comes before Borrasso Construction in 2006.
That's why I'm doing this petition, first. Then my entire story goes to the Media. I can't believe this can happen in the United States of America and by my own son. It's time the Public knows that Your business can be STOLEN, right from under your nose as mine was without notice.
The State of PA..... for $ 70 will do a fictitious name search and register your new business. When it's too late and the state approved the New Business. The Existing business finds out that the New business is Infringing on their business, then the State tells the Existing Business to .... "Hire an Attorney".
The Sad thing is there is a "Commonlaw" database search, of which PA refuses to use. PA is a state who does not stand behind Sole Proprietors.. the Commonlaw search would have pulled up my company trademark name "Borrasso" and would have stopped Tony from using it. The state of PA is an accomplish to theft and because they don't protect Sole Proprietors by enforcing the Commonlaw Trademark Law.. they sold me out and I'm sure I'm not the only business who's business name and reputation was given away by the state of Pennsylvania.
Why isn't the PA Fictitious Name database Linked to other State and Federal agencies where they can catch this "injustice" before it helps destroy an existing business that have worked years and years to build a successful company.
I am licensed with the PA Dept.of Revenue for payroll state tax deductions and paying company sales tax. I am licensed with the Federal Gov. for deducting Social Security and Witholding taxes from employees paychecks. I am licensed with the Unemployment Compensation Bureau for paying benefits for my employees. I've been filing Borrasso Landscaping Tax Returns with the Internal Revenue Service since 1977.
By 2005, I had filed my 28 th Borrasso Landscaping Tax Return. But in 2006, the history of Borrasso Landscaping's existence was not found in the fictitious name search done For Tony Borrasso, who didn't need to do a Borrasso name search. Tony knew his parent had a business using the name Borrasso in the same field, in the same locale. He also knew that my business, Borrasso Landscaping would not be in the database, since I was NOT using a Fictitious Name. I am using my surname, Borrasso- and a descriptive name- Landscaping.. thus NOT making it a Fictitious Name... therefore I'm Not in the database.
Fictitious Names have CO, INC, LLC, etc. behind their name. Tony intentionally added CO to his company name (Borrasso Construction Co) to make it a Fictitious Name knowing that another Borrasso in the same field (me) would NOT be shown in the Fictitious Name Database search.......for Borrasso Landscaping is NOT a Fictitious Name and not in the State's Fictitious Name database.
WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THE "STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA"... RELY SOLELY ON A DATABASE CALLED "FICTITIOUS NAME DATABASE'... TO GRANT NEW BUSINESS APPROVAL.. WHEN THEY KNOW THAT "ALL" BUSINESSES ARE "NOT" LISTED IN THEIR DATABASE? Guess this will be my next petition.
*** In my conquest for justice against Tony taking my business...I went so far as to write the Governor of PA.. only to get a letter from one of their attorneys, requesting that " I hire an attorney ". I wrote the Attorney General of PA, contacted my PA State Representative.. only to be told "Hire an Attorney". ****Funny! the State of PA, gives my business to someone else then tells me to hire an attorney!!!!
For Now... Please join me by signing the Petition against Trib Total Media, Inc.(TTM) requesting they Stop the Misuse of my service mark “Borrasso” by stopping all Borrasso Construction’s Advertisments in any Trib Total Media publication.
In the petition is a letter to TTM written by my Trademark Infringement Attorney, Matthew Pritchard which explains why I own the service mark! Attorney Matthew Pritchard's expertise is Trademark Infringement and he's a Law Professor at the University of Pittsburgh who teaches "Trademark Infringement Law".
It's a shame that I have to fight for what's mine to begin with.
A female in a male prominant construction business is not taken seriously. Trib Total Media and the legal system would be taking this more seriously if I were a man. But I'm not and I still own my business service mark no matter what my gender is.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT_iVmtD7OI Borrasso Landscaping video
I Thank You,
Maria A. Borrasso, Owner/Operator
Borrasso Landscaping *1977*
I am requesting that you immediately Stop All Further Advertisments for Borrasso Construction, Anthony Borrasso, in any Trib Total Media Publication.
TTM has continued to "Misuse" Borrasso Landscaping's service mark, Borrasso by running advertisments for Borrasso Construction, Anthony Borrasso. AS PER YOUR ATTORNEY H. Yale Gutnick letter dated June 29, 2012 -
Mr. Gutnick states:: “Trib Total Media is Continuing to run the Advertisments for Borrasso Construction”.
Please re-read the letter dated May 24, 2012 sent to and received by your attorney H. Yale Gutnick (on that date), regarding Maria Borrasso, Borrasso Landscaping's "Legal Ownership" of the mark, "Borrasso" -. sent by Attorney Matthew Pritchard, "Trademark Infringement" expert.
May 24, 2012
Trib Total Media, Inc.
Dear Mr. Gutnick,
I write in response to your letter of May 18, 2012. In particular, you solicited evidence that demonstrates Maria Borrasso’s ownership of a service mark in BORRASSO for landscape and hardscape services In the greater Pittsburgh area.
As I am sure you are aware, registration of a mark at either the state or federal level is mere statutory Overlay of rights recognized in the Common Law based on the use of the mark in commerce. Maria Borrasso and her predecessor-in-interest have been using BORRASSO continuously in commerce since 1977.
We fully expect, as a relation and prior employee of Borrasso Landscaping, that Anthony Borrasso, Jr., the owner of Borrasso Construction, LLC, would be well aware of this prior use of BORRASSO in the greater Pittsburgh area. Evidence of the early use of BORRASSO is attached for your review and records.
As a surname, service mark rights would not immediately attach to the use of BORRASSO. Those rights are established upon demonstration of acquired distinctiveness in the name. The Statutory presumption is that acquired distinctiveness occurs following five years of continuous and substantially exclusive use of the mark in the geographic area in which the mark is used (greater Pittsburgh). Acquired distinctiveness would have resulted in greater Pittsburgh no later than 1982, some 24 years prior to Mr. Borrasso’s use of BORRASSO CONSTRUCTION. Accordingly, Maria Borrasso is the Senior user of BORRASSO for landscape and hardscape services in greater Pittsburgh area.
Next, the primary commercial impression of BORRASSO LANDSCAPING and BORRASSO CONSTRUCTION are Identical, namely, “Borrasso.” The generic terms “Landscaping” and “Construction” have little, if any, bearing in an analysis of the similarity of the marks from a trademark perspective. Based on prior advertising by both firms, you should easily conclude that the services offered by the parties are identical or highly related. As a result, the use of BORRASSO CONSTRUCTION causes a likelihood of confusion with BORRASSO LANDSCAPING, at least in Greater Pittsburgh.
Lastly, we recognize that Pennsylvania law provides for the qualified right for one to use their own personal name in business; however, that use may not be done with artifice or with the intenson to mislead. Borrasso Construction’s use of BORRASSO as a service mark is done with artifice and, we believe, an intension to deceive. For example, advertisements, job site signage and truck livery Are nearly identical to that of Maria Borrasso. Accordingly, Mr. Anthony Borrasso has far exceeded the limited right established under Pennsylvania law to use one’s name in business.
For all of the forgoing reasons, we request that you discontinue any further advertisments of BORRASSO CONSTRUCTION in any Trib Total Media publication.
Very Truly Yours, J.Matthew Pritchard. Webb Law Firm
( J. Matthew Pritchard's expertise is "Trademark Infringement" and "Law Professor" at the University of Pittsburgh who teaches "" Trademark Infringement Law "")
Attorney Pritchard clearly states that Maria Borrasso owns the service mark "Borrasso" in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
TRIB TOTAL MEDIA YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF YOUR OWN
"TERMS & CONDITIONS" ----- reference link- http://classifieds.triblive.com/page/2.html .. This is for online advertisements but certainly applies to offline advertisements:::::::::::: It reads as::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Terms & Conditions by Trib Total Media....
4. Proper behavior will help make TribClassifieds.com more successful and useful for its members. Therefore, you agree not to post, e-mail or otherwise make available through the site Content::::***** that infringes any patent, **trademark**, trade secret, copyright or **other proprietary *rights* of any party**, or *Content that you do Not have a Right to make Available under any Law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships*.
"Trib Total Media, Inc......For all of the forgoing reasons, you are to immediately discontinue any further advertisements of BORRASSO CONSTRUCTION, Anthony Borrasso, Jr. in any Trib Total Media publication."
Thank you for your time!