BUSINESS
09/30/2011 01:54 pm ET | Updated Nov 30, 2011

Willa, 8-Year-Old's Soap Company, Takes On Procter And Gamble Over Name

When an 8-year-old New Yorker named Willa said she was tired of babyish soap, her mother Christy Prunier decided to take matters into her own hands.

And so, with her daughter in mind, she invented a line of skin care products for preteens, reports The New York Times. The name? Willa.

But a battle over the name soon followed with a letter from Procter and Gamble asking them to drop it because it sounded too much like their hair product company, Wella.

According to Bizjournals, Prunier ignored the letter and the two companies will face off in court next month.

This corporate behavior isn't anything new, of course. And it's even got a name: "Trademark Bullying".

The Business News Daily writes,

Trademark bullying is a term used to describe a scenario where a trademark owner, usually a large and resource-rich corporation, employs legal means to prevent others from using trademarks that could potentially cut into the market share of the trademark owner.... Essentially, a trademark bully uses threats of litigation against another person who is clearly and beyond any reasonable doubt operating within the bounds of trademark law.
Trademark bullies use trademark law as camouflage as they basically try to drive competitors out of business.

Though the 8-year-old is hopeful about the outcome of the court appearance, it certainly hasn't been a walk in the park.

“I think it’s going to work out,” Willa Prunier told The New York Times. “It’s just a lot of stress for my mom.”