Category: trademark and copyright

This category deals mainly with two kinds of questions: (1) are two brand names so similar as to create confusion and blur brand image?  (2) Is a mark sufficiently distinctive as to be protectable (includes unprecedented meaning shift, e.g., “Dawn,” “Reebok”)?   Or is it already established in the language as a generic term?

“Google” goes generic

Some years ago, right around this time of year, a geek site, as an April Fools prank, launched a new product — unicorn meat – which it called “the new white meat,” and lawyers for the National Pork Board issue a cease-and-desist order, because they’ve gone to great lengths to copyright “the other white meat” as a synonym for “pork,” and the new product might cause consumer confusion (or “trademark dilution,” as they sometimes call it).

https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/unicorns-theyre-not-the-other-white-meat/

I’m not going to tell those lawyers to lighten up – they get paid big bucks to defend their trademark vigorously, by which I mean they make sure it is associated with their product and no other.

Memo to National Pork Board Lawyers

By Alan M. Perlman.

A geek site, as an April Fools prank, launches a new product — unicorn meat – which it calls “the new white meat,” and lawyers for the National Pork Board issue a cease-and-desist order, because they’ve gone to great lengths to copyright “the other white meat” as a synonym for “pork,” and the new product might cause consumer confusion (or “trademark dilution,” as they sometimes call it).

When a Lawyer Needs a Linguist…

Linguists and lawyers

When does a lawyer need a linguist?

Roger Shuy, one of the most preeminent forensic linguists, notes that the interpretation and application of the law are overwhelmingly about language. Thus, there are many situations in which the expertise of a linguist – someone trained in the precise description and analysis of language (but not necessarily a person who knows many languages) – can make substantial contributions to a case. The linguist can provide evidence one way or the other. Or he/she can clarify the linguistic principles, problems, and processes that the case involves.

(1) Patent/copyright law.