Reporter is warned about her use of ‘public storage’ — er… Public Storage (TM)


Los Angeles Times reporter Catherine Saillant’s use of public storage “has caused us some concern,” writes Public Storage paralegal Ann Dickerson. “We trust, of course, that this usage was inadvertent and will be avoided in the future.”

Saillant is told what she did wrong:

From: Ann Dickerson
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:53 AM
To: Saillant, Catherine
Subject: General Comment

Dear Ms. Saillant:

I would like to bring something to your attention which, although probably unintentional, has caused us some concern. In an article found [here], I observed the term PUBLIC STORAGE used improperly in the article to describe a self-storage unit or facility. As PUBLIC STORAGE is a registered trademark of our company, it should be used distinctly.
In order to maintain consumer perception of our trademark, we request that you follow the rules of proper trademark use. Proper use of the Public Storage trademark is as an adjective modifying a proper noun, with capitalization of the mark in type. Also, we ask that you display the proper trademark notice when using our trademark. Furthermore, PUBLIC STORAGE should not be used except to indicate our company’s storage facilities. “Self-storage” or “mini-storage” are suggested alternative adjectives or modifiers for other situations.

We trust, of course, that this usage was inadvertent and will be avoided in the future. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.


The Times reporter says she didn’t bother to reply.

UPDATE: Reporters share their warning-letter stories. (“I once got a letter from DayGlo after using the term ‘day-glow’ in an article.”)