History UsefulNotes / Trademark

18th May '18 5:05:32 AM Tdarcos
Is there an issue? Send a Message


Trademarks are statutory in nature, meaning that in some cases you might have a perfectly valid and unique name but the law may prohibit you from registering the mark or claiming an exclusive right to an unregistered mark. For example, you can no longer claim exclusivity on a location as part of a mark, but you can if you had a mark registered before about 1990. Someone at The Washington Post failed to notice its trademark for the name of the paper, held for over 100 years, had expired. Had they kept it registered, under the old rules they would still have an exclusive right to the name Washington as part of the mark, but now they have to disclaim an exclusive right to the name of the city as part of the mark when they re-registered it.

to:

Trademarks are statutory in nature, meaning that in some cases you might have a perfectly valid and unique name but the law may prohibit you from registering the mark or claiming an exclusive right to an unregistered mark. For example, you can no longer claim exclusivity on a location as part of a mark, but you can if you had a mark registered before about 1990. Someone at The Washington Post failed to notice its trademark for the name of the paper, held for over 100 years, had expired. Had they kept it registered, under the old rules they would still have an exclusive right to the name Washington as part of the mark, but now they have to disclaim an exclusive right to the name of the city as part of the mark when they re-registered it.
it. Remember this, I'll come back to it later.


Added DiffLines:

Now, if you're going to use a mark for a product or as the name of an organization (like a band), if it's the same as someone else's name or mark (because you are doing a homage) the original owner may not like it and can probably demand it be changed. During the 1960s, two groups named themselves after other organizations. Pacific Gas and Electric did not impress the San Francisco-based public utility, so it changed its name to PG&E. Another rock group used the name of the local bus and rail transportation company, the Chicago Transit Authority. They also did not like this, so the band changed its name to Chicago.

Now if you've been paying attention, what problem does the group Chicago have with their name? Remember the example I gave earlier about ''The Washington Post'' failing to renew its mark, and now cannot have the exclusive right to its city in its name? The group Chicago registered its mark back when you could. If the group Chicago ever fails to renew its trademark, they will lose the ownership of their name.
14th Mar '18 9:53:08 AM Tdarcos
Is there an issue? Send a Message


Trademarks are proper names; that's why they are capitalized when used to refer to the particular product or service. A trademark is classed as "strong" or "weak." A strong mark is so significant that any use typically implies the original company, e.g. if you sold silverware with the name "Exxon", that company would very likely be able to successfully argue in court that anything with that name would be thought to come from the oil company. However, if you sold something under the name "Acme", that mark is so weak that even Creator/WarnerBros probably couldn't stop you.

to:

Trademarks are proper names; that's why they are capitalized when used to refer to the particular product or service. A trademark is classed as "strong" or "weak." A strong mark is so significant that any use typically implies the original company, e.g. if you sold silverware with the name "Exxon", that company Exxon Mobil would very likely be able to successfully argue in court that anything with that name would be thought to come from the oil company. However, if you sold something under the name "Acme", that mark is so weak that even Creator/WarnerBros probably couldn't stop you.
you.

The reason for the strong vs. weak dichotomy is that if you have a registered mark or use an unregistered one, you can't necessarily stop someone else from using the same or a similar mark on completely different goods or services unless your mark is considered "strong". Going back to Exxon Mobil again, they had a bit of trouble with Kellogs. Now, Kellogs sells Frosted Flakes cereal with their mascot, Tony the Tiger. At some point after this, Standard Oil of Mew Jersey (the predecessor to Exxon) started advertising Esso gasoline along with a tiger, either real or a drawing. Kellogs didn't have a problem with this; gasoline has nothing to do with breakfast cereal or food. Flash forward forty plus years, and what is now Exxon Mobil wants to sell food at some of its gas stations under the "On The Run" name, and use their unnamed tiger mascot. This, however, Kellogs was not happy about, and won in court to stop Exxon Mobil from using a tiger in connection with the sale of food. Again, Kellogs specifically told the court it had no objection to Exxon Mobil using a tiger image at their gas pumps or in connection with the sale of gasoline.
14th Mar '18 9:29:31 AM Tdarcos
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

Famous people registering their name or ''nom de plume'' as a trademark or service mark is not that unusual. Frank Sinatra and Stephen Hawking have done so; the Estate of Marilyn Monroe has both that ''nom de plume'' and her birth name, "Norma Jean Baker" registered, Which name the Estate of Elvis Presley has registered is left as an exercdise for the reader.
8th Mar '18 2:35:29 AM MarkLungo
Is there an issue? Send a Message


Generally, if a mark is not registered, the owner will try to warn people it claims some ownership by using TM next to the term. If a mark is registered with the Federal Government through the Patent and Trademark office, the owner can use the R-in-a-circle ® symbol, or the much older "Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off." (Dupont likes to use the old format on its corporate logo). You can't use the ® on a mark only registered at the state level, but you can mention the state registration, e.g. "Trademark Registered with the Virginia Corporation Commission", "Servicemark Registered with the Arizona Secretary of State." etc. A lot of companies would register their marks with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which is why a lot of products would have a notice "Reg. Penna Dept. of Agr." on them. Some countries did not allow the use of the R in a circle notice so some countries where a product's mark is registered the product would have the notice "Trade Mark Regd." on it.

to:

Generally, if a mark is not registered, the owner will try to warn people it claims some ownership by using TM next to the term. If a mark is registered with the Federal Government through the Patent and Trademark office, the owner can use the R-in-a-circle ® symbol, or the much older "Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off." (Dupont likes to use the old format on its corporate logo). You can't use the ® on a mark only registered at the state level, but you can mention the state registration, e.g. "Trademark Registered with the Virginia Corporation Commission", "Servicemark Registered with the Arizona UsefulNotes/{{Arizona}} Secretary of State." etc. A lot of companies would register their marks with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which is why a lot of products would have a notice "Reg. Penna Dept. of Agr." on them. Some countries did not allow the use of the R in a circle notice so some countries where a product's mark is registered the product would have the notice "Trade Mark Regd." on it.



But even then, the restriction is only with respect to goods or services using a protected name or symbol; if you're making a movie involving a UN peacekeeping agency, you can put UN uniforms on the actors and use the UN flag or logo on their vehicles, or film a scene where International Red Cross workers are involved because of the First Amendment. As long as you don't try to include the protected symbols or names in the advertising for the movie, it's unlikely a court would prevent you from doing so unless you tried to claim you had approval of the organization. Although if the usage puts them in a bad light, they may threaten litigation. (See below about "disparagement.") The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority made noises that they were going to take legal action against Film/DieHard 2 because of its frequent mention of "Dulles Airport," which it operates, but nothing happened, someone probably realized they have no grounds to sue and would simply provide lots more publicity, vis-a-vis the StreisandEffect.

So anyway, a trademark is an identifier. That identifier can be a word or two (''Perrier'' water, ''Total'' gasoline, ''Microsoft'' software, ''Jiffy Lube'' oil changes), a phrase (''The Sweetheart of the Corn'' is a trademark that still appears on boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and Canadian Club Whiskey is also known by the phrase ''The Best in the House''), an image (called a 'device' in trademark law) such as the ''Bat symbol'' (not to be confused with [[Franchise/{{Batman}} another bat symbol]]) appearing on a bottle of Bacardi Rum, a color (Owens Corning won the right to trademark the color ''pink'' for use in fiberglass insulation), a layout design (The design of the label on a bottle of Jack Daniels is the property of the Jack Daniels Distillery, as they will be happy to inform you if you use it without permission), or a sound (The MGM Lion's roar for motion pictures). The latter are technically referred to as ''trade dress'', as a "mark" is specifically a phrase or image used to mark an item to denote its manufacturer, but share similar protections.

to:

But even then, the restriction is only with respect to goods or services using a protected name or symbol; if you're making a movie involving a UN peacekeeping agency, you can put UN uniforms on the actors and use the UN flag or logo on their vehicles, or film a scene where International Red Cross workers are involved because of the First Amendment. As long as you don't try to include the protected symbols or names in the advertising for the movie, it's unlikely a court would prevent you from doing so unless you tried to claim you had approval of the organization. Although if the usage puts them in a bad light, they may threaten litigation. (See below about "disparagement.") The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority made noises that they were going to take legal action against Film/DieHard 2 ''Film/DieHard2'' because of its frequent mention of "Dulles Airport," which it operates, but nothing happened, someone probably realized they have no grounds to sue and would simply provide lots more publicity, vis-a-vis the StreisandEffect.

So anyway, a trademark is an identifier. That identifier can be a word or two (''Perrier'' water, ''Total'' gasoline, ''Microsoft'' software, ''Jiffy Lube'' oil changes), a phrase (''The Sweetheart of the Corn'' is a trademark that still appears on boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and Canadian Club Whiskey is also known by the phrase ''The Best in the House''), an image (called a 'device' in trademark law) such as the ''Bat symbol'' (not to be confused with [[Franchise/{{Batman}} another bat symbol]]) appearing on a bottle of Bacardi Rum, a color (Owens Corning won the right to trademark the color ''pink'' for use in fiberglass insulation), a layout design (The design of the label on a bottle of Jack Daniels is the property of the Jack Daniels Distillery, as they will be happy to inform you if you use it without permission), or a sound (The MGM Creator/{{MGM}} Lion's roar for motion pictures). The latter are technically referred to as ''trade dress'', as a "mark" is specifically a phrase or image used to mark an item to denote its manufacturer, but share similar protections.
8th Mar '18 2:31:51 AM MarkLungo
Is there an issue? Send a Message


As a result of treaties between countries, there are marks of international organizations that can't be used without their permission (unless you were using the mark for something before the mark was granted treaty status). The word "Olympic" or the 5 interlocking rings; the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations flag or logo; UsefulNotes/TheRedCross (Johnson & Johnson [[GrandfatherClause can still use the Red Cross for cotton in the United States because they were using it more than 100 years ago before the symbol was protected]]), Red Crescent (some Muslim countries) or Red Crystal. (The Red Crystal got created because the Arab countries wouldn't put up with the use of a red Star of David as the Israeli Red Cross used, so they picked something less offensive.)

to:

As a result of treaties between countries, there are marks of international organizations that can't be used without their permission (unless you were using the mark for something before the mark was granted treaty status). The word "Olympic" "[[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Olympic]]" or the 5 interlocking rings; the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations flag or logo; UsefulNotes/TheRedCross (Johnson & Johnson [[GrandfatherClause can still use the Red Cross for cotton in the United States because they were using it more than 100 years ago before the symbol was protected]]), Red Crescent (some Muslim countries) or Red Crystal. (The Red Crystal got created because the Arab countries wouldn't put up with the use of a red Star of David as the Israeli Red Cross used, so they picked something less offensive.)
8th Mar '18 2:30:15 AM MarkLungo
Is there an issue? Send a Message


Trademarks are proper names; that's why they are capitalized when used to refer to the particular product or service. A trademark is classed as "strong" or "weak." A strong mark is so significant that any use typically implies the original company, e.g. if you sold silverware with the name "Exxon", that company would very likely be able to successfully argue in court that anything with that name would be thought to come from the oil company. However, if you sold something under the name "Acme", that mark is so weak that even Warner Brothers probably couldn't stop you.

Trademarks encompass two types of identifiers; a "trademark" is an identifier applied to some physical thing (a "good"). A "service mark" (or "servicemark") is an identifier applied to some practice (a "service") that is made available to the public but doesn't actually provide some physical thing. For example, your house has electricity for power and may have natural gas or oil for heating. The brand the electric company uses (PEPCO is the electric company for Washington, D.C.) is a service mark because you don't have any actual goods (you can't store electricity). However, the brand of oil or gas is a product you do receive, a physical good (which you could store), and is a trade mark. If you receive gas from a particular company (Wisconsin Gas Company) that does not use a separate name for their gas, then the company's name can be a trademark. If you received oil from a delivery company, that can be a servicemark as well as a separate trademark on the oil by the company that refined it. Now, if you are supplied utilities by a company that provides both gas and electric (the Pacific Gas & Electric Company of San Francisco) then their name can be both a trademark ''and'' a service mark. The term "wordmark" is also seen - this indicates a specific logo that consists of the word written in a specific font, color and spacing rather than a contrived device.

In the examples given earlier, the color pink used on insulation is a trademark (you actually have the insulation), but Jiffy Lube is a service mark, you had the service of an oil change done (and the oil change is done using oil bearing the "Pennzoil" trademark). As noted earlier, in some cases the identifier can be both a trademark and a servicemark. While the MGM Lion Roar sound was a service mark until the 1980s since you didn't get a copy of the film, you just got the service of viewing the film, but now you can get the service of watching a film (in a theatre, via pay-per-view or on-demand via cable or satellite, or on-line via streaming), and the goods of the actual film (on video disc, or digital download), this sound mark could be both a trademark and a service mark.

to:

Trademarks are proper names; that's why they are capitalized when used to refer to the particular product or service. A trademark is classed as "strong" or "weak." A strong mark is so significant that any use typically implies the original company, e.g. if you sold silverware with the name "Exxon", that company would very likely be able to successfully argue in court that anything with that name would be thought to come from the oil company. However, if you sold something under the name "Acme", that mark is so weak that even Warner Brothers Creator/WarnerBros probably couldn't stop you.

Trademarks encompass two types of identifiers; a "trademark" is an identifier applied to some physical thing (a "good"). A "service mark" (or "servicemark") is an identifier applied to some practice (a "service") that is made available to the public but doesn't actually provide some physical thing. For example, your house has electricity for power and may have natural gas or oil for heating. The brand the electric company uses (PEPCO is the electric company for Washington, D.C.) UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC) is a service mark because you don't have any actual goods (you can't store electricity). However, the brand of oil or gas is a product you do receive, a physical good (which you could store), and is a trade mark. If you receive gas from a particular company (Wisconsin Gas Company) that does not use a separate name for their gas, then the company's name can be a trademark. If you received oil from a delivery company, that can be a servicemark as well as a separate trademark on the oil by the company that refined it. Now, if you are supplied utilities by a company that provides both gas and electric (the Pacific Gas & Electric Company of San Francisco) UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco) then their name can be both a trademark ''and'' a service mark. The term "wordmark" is also seen - this indicates a specific logo that consists of the word written in a specific font, color and spacing rather than a contrived device.

In the examples given earlier, the color pink used on insulation is a trademark (you actually have the insulation), but Jiffy Lube is a service mark, you had the service of an oil change done (and the oil change is done using oil bearing the "Pennzoil" trademark). As noted earlier, in some cases the identifier can be both a trademark and a servicemark. While the MGM Creator/{{MGM}} Lion Roar sound was a service mark until the 1980s since you didn't get a copy of the film, you just got the service of viewing the film, but now you can get the service of watching a film (in a theatre, via pay-per-view or on-demand via cable or satellite, or on-line via streaming), and the goods of the actual film (on video disc, or digital download), this sound mark could be both a trademark and a service mark.
8th Mar '18 2:27:30 AM MarkLungo
Is there an issue? Send a Message


You might be asking why [=TV Tropes=] has an article about trademarks (and servicemarks). Well, so that you can understand what they are; what they aren't; how someone else (other than the mark's owner) is allowed to use them in a story; when they can't (or their lawyer thinks they can't) use it; under what circumstances someone using them as part of a media franchise can get a trademark; and when they can't. This will also let you understand ''why'' sometimes they use an obvious fake name in place of an (even more obvious) brand name.

to:

You might be asking why [=TV Tropes=] Wiki/TVTropes has an article about trademarks (and servicemarks). Well, so that you can understand what they are; what they aren't; how someone else (other than the mark's owner) is allowed to use them in a story; when they can't (or their lawyer thinks they can't) use it; under what circumstances someone using them as part of a media franchise can get a trademark; and when they can't. This will also let you understand ''why'' sometimes they use an obvious fake name in place of an (even more obvious) brand name.
12th Feb '18 8:16:37 AM Cryoclaste
Is there an issue? Send a Message


There's another issue about trademarks, generally for titles of works of art like books, films, songs, you can't register the title as a trademark unless the work is extremely popular or has a very long history of use. ''Literature/HarryPotter'' or ''LeftBehind'' as the title of a series of works could be registered, but probably not the titles of the individual books in the series. This can cause problems because there are two completely unrelated movies named ''Film/{{Crash}}'', one about people that set up car crashes as erotica, and another that won an Academy Award. But, if you have a particular work and someone else releases something under the same or a very similar name you ''may'' be able to stop them. But there are exceptions, especially for parody. This is why porn movies usually do puns that are similar to mainstream movies ("Juranal Park" for ''Film/JurassicPark'', "Saturday Night Beaver" for ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'' and "Schindler's Fist" for ''Film/SchindlersList'') as it can be considered parody, which comes (no pun intended) under Fair Use, below. There are exceptions; there is both a clean film called "What's Love Got To Do With It" and a porno film of the same name. How come the porno is able to have the same name? They used it first.

to:

There's another issue about trademarks, generally for titles of works of art like books, films, songs, you can't register the title as a trademark unless the work is extremely popular or has a very long history of use. ''Literature/HarryPotter'' or ''LeftBehind'' ''Literature/LeftBehind'' as the title of a series of works could be registered, but probably not the titles of the individual books in the series. This can cause problems because there are two completely unrelated movies named ''Film/{{Crash}}'', one about people that set up car crashes as erotica, and another that won an Academy Award. But, if you have a particular work and someone else releases something under the same or a very similar name you ''may'' be able to stop them. But there are exceptions, especially for parody. This is why porn movies usually do puns that are similar to mainstream movies ("Juranal Park" for ''Film/JurassicPark'', "Saturday Night Beaver" for ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'' and "Schindler's Fist" for ''Film/SchindlersList'') as it can be considered parody, which comes (no pun intended) under Fair Use, below. There are exceptions; there is both a clean film called "What's Love Got To Do With It" and a porno film of the same name. How come the porno is able to have the same name? They used it first.
20th Jan '18 3:27:40 PM costanton11
Is there an issue? Send a Message


There's another issue about trademarks, generally for titles of works of art like books, films, songs, you can't register the title as a trademark unless the work is extremely popular or has a very long history of use. ''Literature/HarryPotter'' or ''LeftBehind'' as the title of a series of works could be registered, but probably not the titles of the individual books in the series. This can cause problems because there are two completely unrelated movies named ''Film/{{Crash}}'', one about people that set up car crashes as erotica, and another that won an Academy Award. But, if you have a particular work and someone else releases something under the same or a very similar name you ''may'' be able to stop them. But there are exceptions, especially for parody. This is why porn movies usually do puns that are similar to mainstream movies ("Juranal Park" for ''JurassicPark'', "Saturday Night Beaver" for ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'' and "Schindler's Fist" for ''Film/SchindlersList'') as it can be considered parody, which comes (no pun intended) under Fair Use, below. There are exceptions; there is both a clean film called "What's Love Got To Do With It" and a porno film of the same name. How come the porno is able to have the same name? They used it first.

to:

There's another issue about trademarks, generally for titles of works of art like books, films, songs, you can't register the title as a trademark unless the work is extremely popular or has a very long history of use. ''Literature/HarryPotter'' or ''LeftBehind'' as the title of a series of works could be registered, but probably not the titles of the individual books in the series. This can cause problems because there are two completely unrelated movies named ''Film/{{Crash}}'', one about people that set up car crashes as erotica, and another that won an Academy Award. But, if you have a particular work and someone else releases something under the same or a very similar name you ''may'' be able to stop them. But there are exceptions, especially for parody. This is why porn movies usually do puns that are similar to mainstream movies ("Juranal Park" for ''JurassicPark'', ''Film/JurassicPark'', "Saturday Night Beaver" for ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'' and "Schindler's Fist" for ''Film/SchindlersList'') as it can be considered parody, which comes (no pun intended) under Fair Use, below. There are exceptions; there is both a clean film called "What's Love Got To Do With It" and a porno film of the same name. How come the porno is able to have the same name? They used it first.
24th Nov '17 10:36:25 AM nombretomado
Is there an issue? Send a Message


Then there is the concept of FairUse, (which while normally relevant to copyright, also applies to use of other people's trademarks), where someone can use someone else's trademark whether its owner likes it or not. For example, let's say I run a blog and I post openly that I happen to hate Coca-Cola because I think it tastes bad, and I happen to like Dr. Pepper. They can't successfully sue me because it's a legitimate commentary. (To be fair, I will note that my brother, on the other hand, likes Coke and hates Dr. Pepper.) This use of their trademarks is fair use because I am giving a comparison of products. Besides that, it's pure opinion; there is no objective way to prove if a soft drink tastes good or bad. Now, if I sold a soft drink called "Swill", and I ran a survey, I could legally say that "86% of customers preferred Swill over Mountain. Dew" (as long as it was true). (This was the entire premise of the UsefulNotes/PepsiChallenge, where Pepsi showed that people preferred it over Coke, and started the Cola Wars of the 1980s.)

to:

Then there is the concept of FairUse, UsefulNotes/FairUse, (which while normally relevant to copyright, also applies to use of other people's trademarks), where someone can use someone else's trademark whether its owner likes it or not. For example, let's say I run a blog and I post openly that I happen to hate Coca-Cola because I think it tastes bad, and I happen to like Dr. Pepper. They can't successfully sue me because it's a legitimate commentary. (To be fair, I will note that my brother, on the other hand, likes Coke and hates Dr. Pepper.) This use of their trademarks is fair use because I am giving a comparison of products. Besides that, it's pure opinion; there is no objective way to prove if a soft drink tastes good or bad. Now, if I sold a soft drink called "Swill", and I ran a survey, I could legally say that "86% of customers preferred Swill over Mountain. Dew" (as long as it was true). (This was the entire premise of the UsefulNotes/PepsiChallenge, where Pepsi showed that people preferred it over Coke, and started the Cola Wars of the 1980s.)
This list shows the last 10 events of 50. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=UsefulNotes.Trademark