Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chilling Effects has major page on trademark

Chilling Effects has a trademark information page that is well worth noting. The basic link is here.

There is an FAQ page by Maya Alexandri titled whimsically “What to expect when you’re expecting (to be sued for trademark infringement).

The page covers such topics as international issues, and similar but not exactly matching wordmarks, and the idea that a trademark connotes the source of a product or service. The page indicates that “it isn’t easy in the United States” to establish if another party has a valid trademark. There are some interesting concepts, such as contributory trademark infringement, and even the possibility that the use of HTML meta-tags based on another party’s trademark could sometimes constitute infringement.

“Fair use” is possible in trademark law (as in copyright). Here the term refers to the use of a term for its descriptive value rather than a secondary commercial (and therefore trademarked) value. Parodies are possible.

It is entirely possible for non-profit organizations to use trademarks if they are engaged in commerce.

Jared Kramer discusses the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (USC 1125, section (d), “Cyberpiracy prevention”, link here on Cornell Law School’s site. This, of course, starts with the premise that domain names can interfere with the use of trademarks, a problem that became evident in the 1990s, as some companies were slow to set up domains based on their marks before others had used them, sometimes unaware of the existing companies’ marks. Cameron Johnson discussed this problem in his book “You Call the Shots” (see this blog April 14).

Amy Bender discusses ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

Picture: from NASA (p.d.)

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