[Perl] Logo and T-shirts for perl.org.il
gaal at forum2.org
Sun Nov 3 12:29:40 PST 2002
On Sun, Nov 03, 2002 at 11:06:21PM +0200, Reuven M. Lerner wrote:
> Gaal> the law is preposterous. How can anybody own an association?
> So you're saying that it should be completely legal for Microsoft to
> unveil a new operating system with a penguin mascot?
> Or for CNN to start advertising with a peacock (symbol of NBC)?
> Or for Federal Express to start using an eagle (US postal service) or
> a deer (Israeli postal authority) as its symbol?
> According to my understanding of American trademark law, all of these
> would be seen as infringements of the trademark. A trademark, after
> all, is supposed to uniquely identify a brand in the mind of
And how is that good for the consumer?
> This means that (a) any attempt by competitors to co-opt
> uses of that trademark will likely be stopped by a judge, and (b) the
> trademark owner *must* stop others from infringing on the trademark,
> or risk not being able to defend it next time around.
> If you write a book, then you can selectively prosecute people who
> infringe on your copyright, going after those with the deepest
> pockets. But I've often heard that trademark law requires holders to
> go after all infringers.
> Xerox corporation used to take out advertisements in Columbia
> Journalism Review (www.cjr.org) that said,
> You can't Xerox a Xerox on a Xerox. But you can make a photocopy
> on a Xerox-brand copier.
> The ad was part of a PR campaign designed to stop the Xerox trademark
> from falling into the public domain. For examples of companies that
> didn't do this, consider Frigidaire, Kleenex, and Hoover, trademarked
> names that are used generically in many parts of the US.
Scitex, and Lego, too. But so what? How does this harm these
But even if it did harm them, this is not the issue at hand. Xerox,
Frigidaire, Kleenex and Scitex (but not Hoover, nor perhpas--I don't
know--Lego) were names that never existed prior to their invention by
the companies. They were entirely created for the purpose of tagging the
companies products, and were not used for anything else before. (Modulo
surprises, that is, just like in patents, where there is a procedure for
other parties claiming prior art). Camels, however, have been free to roam
the deserts, and we have been free to associate them with anything we felt
like. I realize there may be a law that allows someone to legally limit
that, but I contend it's a *silly* law. Remember Microsoft Bookshelf<tm>?
Well, it's not <tm> now, because you can't appropriate words in the
language, and it'd be dire if you could.
Gaal Yahas <gaal at forum2.org> <g.yahas at reading.ac.uk>
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