Women are from Venus, Men are from AOL?
AOL and author debate differences between "mail" and "male"
September 19, 1999
Denver — Her book title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the perils of Internet dating, but America Online isn’t laughing.
Madelene Sabol, a relationship counselor who lives in Aurora, said she has been threatened by AOL with a lawsuit over the title of her book, ”You’ve Got Male.”
”Our concern is that customers will be confused,” said AOL spokesman Jim Whitney. ”We’ve used ‘You Have Mail’ for the past decade so people identify that phrase with AOL. We don’t want customers to think the book is associated with AOL.”
Whitney said the company is concerned it could lose its trademark if it is too often used as a generic term. Notable companies like Rollerblade in-line skates and Xerox Corp. have seen their trademark names degenerate into regular usage, which could threaten their trademark status.
Sabol said AOL lawyers threatening her with a lawsuit have been sending her letters since the book was published in July, but she thinks their claim is unfounded.
”I think that M-A-L-E is a totally different word from M-A-I-L,” she said. ”They don’t own the English language. “You’ve got mail’ is a common phrase and I don’t think they should have the authority to own that phrase.”
Sabol said she has no plans to stop selling her book.
”I spent three years on this book and put all my savings into it,” she said. ”I’m a woman who wanted to accomplish a goal and America is free. I am going to fight this.”