Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blogger's "gaymer" trademark claim, now closed, was indeed troubling

Bloggers may not always be the good guys. Electronic Frontier Foundation is reporting that a blogger, Chris Vizzini, has “surrendered” a trademark for the term “gaymer” (or the plural gaymers), which he had tried to use against a Reddit forum by that name.  EFF has a story here

Chris gives his rather long and detailed account of the matter at his site “gaymer.org” (singular), here.    It would be hard to judge “who is right” on all this without spending a lot of time. The site says that, apart from this explanation, it is "closed" and even demonstrates such with an image. 
   
But normally, a common word in the English language should not be monopolized by one entity, company, or person.  Trademark has more validity when a site is a commercial operation that sells services or products, and has some sort of substantial volume with consumers, perhaps to the point of taking credit cards, setting up accounts, running e-commerce, etc.  I don’t know if this was happening with this site. It might be valid when there are clear business plans for future commercial use (for example, producing and distributing films).  To some extent, trademark is ultimately about money, Trump-style, like it or not.  
  

Trademark is largely about putting brands on products and services in commerce – even when “not for profit” (as with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, for example).  Copyright is about content.  Patent is about inventions – things that work, do stuff.    

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