Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wordpress software company has a transparent way to handle trademark complaints about blog names

I discovered the Trademark Policy for “Automattic”, the company that hosts Wordpress.  The link is here.  Notice that the directions specifically say that a blog that uses a company or business name to parody a product of the business (like a movie or music) is not generally considered to be committing trademark infringement. 
Chilling Effects has a FAQ on trademark which is undergoing review, here. Note that some practices are real infringement, such as intentionally driving traffic away from a trademark holder with link or "metatag farming".  
Only blogs actually that say “powered by Wordpress” can be reviewed by “Automattic” for trademark claims.  Some hosting services (like Bluehost) do actually use Wordpress to power the content. 
A lot of “frivolous” complaints are based on the idea that some people really do need a wide profit margin on their sites (to support families or other employees) and others don’t. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I get "honorable mention" from another trademark law site

I’ll pass a long a link sent to me in a tweet that “honored” me this morning, “The Trademark, Copyright and Business Law Digest”, here.  I get mentioned for my Wordpress posting (link there) showing all the movie studio trademarks, under the Arts and Entertainment sectuin.  I guess Wordpress postings get found as quickly as Blogger.  I put that posting up to make the point that studios should play their entire trademarks and music before the movie starts.  20th Century Fox is the only studio (using Newman’s fanfare) to do this.  But Paramount (that is, Viacom), one of the more litigious of studios in protecting its intellectual property rights (and in leading the fight against piracy, which went over the top in 2011 with the SOPA debate) doesn’t usually play its “100th Anniversary” Music (which is pretty effective).  For example, with Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”, the music (by Hans Zimmer) for the film started as the Paramount mountain showed.  I think it is far more correct (legally) to show all the trademarks and play all their music first, and only then start the movie.
On another trademark issue, I repeatedly get invitations to load Adobe Flash Player when I go to Major League Baseball, but the site offering it is something called “Easy Computer Repairs”.  That sounds like a scheme to transmit malware, and that the copy of Flash would be fake.  But I notice that all the Adobe trademarks and usual messages are reproduced perfectly, just as with bank phishing schemes.  Trademark violation would be one way to go after these schemes, although it isn’t easy when they’re overseas and hosted in formerly communist countries.   

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Some companies still advertise that "you can patent an idea"

I’ve been seeing some ads recently “How to patent your idea”.  I jerk when I see a claim like that, because as we know, abstract patent claims (for mathematical algorithms) usually are abusive and have resulted in a lot of patent trolling, especially for software in recent years, even resulting in claims against customers as well as vendors.  However the site promoting this verbage, link here  does, when read, indicate that you have to have a working prototype, and have something new that really does work. 
The code of a major computer system (like Vantage in mainframe life insurance processing, or Facebook apps in social media) are pretty easy to copyright.  When acceptable, a patent is indeed even stronger protection than a copyright, because a patent has to do with actual novel functionality of something, not just the expression of something.  A typical resource on the question is here.