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Old 08-14-2019, 11:07 AM
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O.S.U. wants to trademark the word "the"


https://www.espn.com/college-footbal...emark-word-the

The nerve! I'm going to write a nasty letter to the jerk who thought up the idea.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:21 AM
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So, do they want to limit the ability of say The Rolling Stones from selling shirts that say 'The Rolling Stones', but a shirt that says 'Rolling Stones' would be okay?
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:25 AM
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"Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university's brand and trademarks," Davey told The Columbus Dispatch in a statement.
Ha! He forgot to say “The.”
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:43 AM
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So, do they want to limit the ability of say The Rolling Stones from selling shirts that say 'The Rolling Stones', but a shirt that says 'Rolling Stones' would be okay?
I’m assuming that it’s only trademarking “the” word in a particular context, so “The Rolling Stones” is acceptable.

As the article said, “Common words and phrases can be trademarked if the seeker can prove a distinctive usage outside the traditional meaning.” The Rolling Stones don’t have a “distinctive usage outside the traditional meaning.” They’re using it normally.

What I’m curious about is what this “distinctive usage” is. If it’s just putting “the” in front of a university name, that won’t work. I’m sure many universities do; in my home state UW goes by “The University of Washington”.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:54 AM
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The Hell you say!
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:16 PM
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You'd never see this kind of thing happening in Russia.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 08-14-2019 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:27 PM
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Never mind the trademark application; how stupid would you have to be to actually buy shit like this?

[Note, you can see other samples by using the links on the page.]

Last edited by mhendo; 08-14-2019 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:53 PM
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Little Nemo:

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You'd never see this kind of thing happening in Russia.
Of course you wouldn't, because in Russia, "the" trademarks YOU!
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:55 PM
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So, do they want to limit the ability of say The Rolling Stones from selling shirts that say 'The Rolling Stones', but a shirt that says 'Rolling Stones' would be okay?
No, they want to limit the ability of others to sell shirts that contain only the word "THE" and no other text (like this one). Stupid idea, but not quite as stupid as ESPN makes it sound.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:29 PM
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No, they want to limit the ability of others to sell shirts that contain only the word "THE" and no other text (like this one). Stupid idea, but not quite as stupid as ESPN makes it sound.
Yeah that’s pretty stupid.

ETA: Also they don’t have a chance in hell. I see a few organizations using “THE” as an acronym:
https://www.acronymfinder.com/THE.html

If they try to claim nobody else uses “THE” alone as a slogan or name, they are mistaken.

Last edited by Atamasama; 08-14-2019 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:35 PM
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Note that the ESPN article, as usual, reflects a misunderstanding of what "trademark" means.

They are seeking to register a trademark. That means that they have to prove that they already have trademark rights.

And the bit about "one of the most common words in the English language" is a red herring. It doesn't matter how common a word is. Any word can become a trademark when it's not being used for its ordinary meaning.

"Apple" is a common, ordinary word. Yet it's a trademark. So is "Delta" and "United" and "American" and "Continental."

There was (is?) a rock back called "the The." So why not an apparel trademark for "The"?

The question of how successful or popular such a brand is or might be is a different question from whether it can be a trademark in the first place.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:54 PM
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So no other university would be allowed to call itself "The _ University"?

Actually that wouldn't be such a bad thing...
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:02 PM
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So no other university would be allowed to call itself "The _ University"?
No. Why would you think so?
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:32 PM
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Let me guess: Russian lacks articles entirely?

I wonder how the school in Columbus officially translates their name into Latin (because you've got to have Latin on diplomas and such).
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:33 PM
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I don't understand trademark law. Boise State plays on blue turf, so if any other stadium wants to put in turf of any color but green they have to pay BSU. Other schools have been using The __ University forever. How do you trademark something that wasn't yours exclusively in the first place?
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:42 PM
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I don't understand trademark law. Boise State plays on blue turf, so if any other stadium wants to put in turf of any color but green they have to pay BSU. Other schools have been using The __ University forever. How do you trademark something that wasn't yours exclusively in the first place?
Ohio State was the first University to be obnoxious about it. They should trademark their douchy attitude.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:11 PM
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Other schools have been using The __ University forever. How do you trademark something that wasn't yours exclusively in the first place?
Because O.S.U. isn't seeking to claim a trademark on "the" used as the normal word "the." They can't. You can't have a trademark on a word for its normal usage.

Ask yourself this ... How can one single company have exclusive rights in the word "apple" when it's a normal English word that has been used for centuries by everyone?

The answer is that Apple Inc. isn't claiming rights in the word "apple" as it is used in its dictionary meaning. It is claiming rights only to the extent that "Apple" is distinctive as the indicator of a source of goods or services.

So, why not "The"? There's no difference between "The" being a trademark and "Apple" being a trademark.

In principal there's no reason why "The" can't operate as a trademark.

However, there is a glitch here, because what O.S.U. has submitted to the Patent and Trademark Office as a specimen of its trademark use is a T-shirt with the word "The" printed in big letters on the front.

This is a very weak specimen for trademark use in the category "Clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats." The reason is that what it looks like is an "ornamental use," rather than a trademark use (the term of art is "use in commerce").

The usual guideline is "if it's on the front of the T-shirt it's an ornamental use; if it's on the tag, it's a trademark use."

See, the trademark is what indicates to you who produced an item. It's not somethign that has decorative value.

This doesn't mean that O.S.U. has no chance of proving its use in commerce of "The," but they might have an uphill battle.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Because O.S.U. isn't seeking to claim a trademark on "the" used as the normal word "the." They can't. You can't have a trademark on a word for its normal usage.

Ask yourself this ... How can one single company have exclusive rights in the word "apple" when it's a normal English word that has been used for centuries by everyone?

The answer is that Apple Inc. isn't claiming rights in the word "apple" as it is used in its dictionary meaning. It is claiming rights only to the extent that "Apple" is distinctive as the indicator of a source of goods or services.

So, why not "The"? There's no difference between "The" being a trademark and "Apple" being a trademark.

In principal there's no reason why "The" can't operate as a trademark.
IANAL, but it seems like these guys might have a prior claim to the trademark.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:29 PM
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In an attempt to be thorough and clarify what's going on here.

Ohio State is not seeking to "trademark" the word "The." Ohio State is seeking to register its trademark rights in the word "The" with the Patent and Trademark Office.

Yes, I know that "trying to trademark" or "wanting to trademark" or whatever is a common way of expressing this idea in the news media and otherwise. But I encourage all of you to fix this in your own minds, so you can understand what's really going on.

Trademark rights in federal and state law in the United States are not granted by the government by issuance of paper. In this sense, it's like copyrights. Trademark and copyright protections thus stand in contrast to patent protections in U.S. law.

This is what I mean--

What creates a patent right? It's when the federal government gives you a piece of paper (a patent) that says you have patent rights. That's why don't object to the use of "patent" as a verb. Because the process is clear. If you want a patent right, you patent it by seeking a patent from the government, and the government might give you a patent. It works find.

But that's not how it works in copyright and trademark law. You don't get a trademark by asking the government for a trademark and then the government decides to give you a trademark. No.

You get a trademark by yourself, without government action when you ...

(1) Use in commerce (2) a distinctive (3) indicator of the source (4) of goods or services that (5) doesn't create a likelihood of confusion with someone else's trademark.

If you have those five things, you have a trademark and you can send nasty letters to people you think are infringing your trademark. You can sue, in either federal court or state court, if you think someone is violating your trademark rights. This is what the verb "trademark" should mean because this is the point that you have rights.

At no point do you have to go to the government to get a piece of paper saying you have a trademark to do these things.

However, both state and federal governments have an optional service called "registration." In that process, you are going to the government and saying "I already have this trademark and I want a piece of paper from you that recognizes it." It's optional. But it has certain advantages.

So, that's the stage Ohio State is at now. It wants a registration certificate from the Patent and Trademark Office. In order to get it, it's going to have to demonstrate that it has all those things that define a trademark.

This is the problem with the verb "trademark." It makes people think that the source of the rights and the government's giving you a piece of paper constitute a single act of "trademarking." Nope. That's how patents work, but that's not how trademarks work.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:32 PM
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IANAL, but it seems like these guys might have a prior claim to the trademark.
You'll note that I mentioned them already above.

Two different entities can have trademark rights in the same word.

Trademark rights are bound by geography and scope of goods and services. Does "the The" the rock band use "The" as a brand name for "Clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats." I would guess that they don't.

And in any case "the The" isn't the same thing as "The." Mayyybe they might be confusingly similar, but mayyybe not.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:42 PM
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I don't understand trademark law. Boise State plays on blue turf, so if any other stadium wants to put in turf of any color but green they have to pay BSU.
First of all, this is not correct. Boise State has a design trademark registration for "the color blue used on the artificial turf in the stadium" (U.S. trademark registration No. 3707623).

Why can they do this? Because it's distinctive. Before they started doing this, no one else was coloring their stadium turf blue. And they did it in a way that constituted a source indicator. They presented it to the public with the message "when you see a blue playing field, you know you're watching a Boise State sporting event!" (perhaps not exactly in those words).

They kept doing it to the extent that it became distinctive, and the public grew to learn that if they saw a blue field, that it was a Boise State event. That's how any trademark comes into being.

That's how "International Business Machines" became a trademark. It's a simple noun phrase, which has a literal meaning, but because a company used it in commerce, they could show that it had become distinctive in the minds of the public.

And the part about "so if any other stadium wants to put in turf of any color but green they have to pay BSU."

This is tricky. If Boise State willy-nilly issues licenses to let other stadiums use blue turf (note blue, not "any color but green"), then they risk losing their trademark through "naked licensing." They have to be careful that the public doesn't lose the notion that blue turf is an indicator for a specific source of goods and services. There has to be some connection with the licensee and the source. Boise State has to exercise some kind of quality control such that when the public sees blue turf they think "Oh, this is going to have certain qualities or characteristics because the blue turf means X."
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:43 PM
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Hilariously, a university spokesman is insisting that the trademark application is to support "our core academic mission of teaching and research".
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Originally Posted by Acsenray
there is a glitch here, because what O.S.U. has submitted to the Patent and Trademark Office as a specimen of its trademark use is a T-shirt with the word "The" printed in big letters on the front.

This is a very weak specimen for trademark use in the category "Clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats." The reason is that what it looks like is an "ornamental use," rather than a trademark use (the term of art is "use in commerce").

The usual guideline is "if it's on the front of the T-shirt it's an ornamental use; if it's on the tag, it's a trademark use."
If they're really trying to protect a potential line of clothing with just the word "The" on the front in big letters, they're going to dial up the scorn and laughter directed at the school to 11. Maybe that's the whole point - school leaders fear that other university sports programs are overshadowing O.S.U. as the most hated in the country. Can't let Notre Dame or Alabama get the advantage.

Originally I thought that "The Ohio State University" silliness was connected to a deep-seated fear that otherwise, people would confuse the school with Ohio University down in Athens, which might also account for the schools not playing each other in major sports.

Or there's another pathology involved that I don't understand.

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Old 08-14-2019, 04:59 PM
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If they're really trying to protect a potential line of clothing with just the word "The" on the front in big letters, they're going to dial up the scorn and laughter directed at the school to 11.
It's a potential line of "The Ohio State University" clothing with very heavy emphasis on the "The". So heavy that the rest is practically invisible.

(See link in post #7.)

Last edited by Skywatcher; 08-14-2019 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:22 PM
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You'll note that I mentioned them already above.

Two different entities can have trademark rights in the same word.

Trademark rights are bound by geography and scope of goods and services. Does "the The" the rock band use "The" as a brand name for "Clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats." I would guess that they don't.

And in any case "the The" isn't the same thing as "The." Mayyybe they might be confusingly similar, but mayyybe not.
Times Higher Education magazine doesn't produce clothing, as far as I know, but they do very prominently use THE as branding, have been doing so for at least a decade, and have an international presence. Would that be enough to disrupt the university's use of the word as a trademark?

Particularly as clothing isn't either of their core business, and 'putting your logo on a shirt' is a very common commercial enterprise that many many companies do, who don't have clothing as their core business
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:30 PM
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Times Higher Education magazine doesn't produce clothing, as far as I know, but they do very prominently use THE as branding, have been doing so for at least a decade, and have an international presence. Would that be enough to disrupt the university's use of the word as a trademark?
Maybe. Someone would have to make the case that "THE" as used by Times Higher Education or someone else is established as a trademark that this would create confusion over or that this and other uses of "the" on the front of shirts are already known as a common ornamental feature among the relevant consuming public. Because this is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the relevant consuming public is the United States.

In cases like this, it shouldn't take much, because, as I said before, ornamental uses on the front of shirts and caps is usually a pretty hard sell, or should be anyway.

But it's probably not a killer if Times Higher Education isn't in the scope of the business that Ohio State is in, one way or another.

And, as I said, trademarks need not be unique. Just because Times Higher Education uses "THE" as a trademark doesn't mean that Ohio State can't have trademark rights in "The."

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Particularly as clothing isn't either of their core business, and 'putting your logo on a shirt' is a very common commercial enterprise that many many companies do, who don't have clothing as their core business
The "core business" thing is a red herring. It doesn't matter if it's your core business. The question always comes down to is it a use in commerce of a distinctive indicator of the source of goods or services that doesn't create confusion with someone else's trademark.

Ohio State can be in the business of selling clothing (obviously, they're going to contract out the actual manufacture). It doesn't matter that it isn't the university's core business.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:55 PM
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Put it this way: If you saw that shirt, with a gray THE on a red background, without the context you learned from this thread, would you be able to guess what it was referring to? There's a decent chance you would, especially if you're the sort of person who follows colleges. Which means that that particular shirt design can be emblematic of the school in Columbus, which means that it can be a trademark.

On the other hand, you might likewise recognize the source of a shirt that had that color scheme, but no particular words or symbols on it at all. And you probably wouldn't recognize a shirt that had the same word, but in a different color scheme. So I think the argument for the word THE, specifically, as a trademark is weak.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:05 PM
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First of all, this is not correct. Boise State has a design trademark registration for "the color blue used on the artificial turf in the stadium" (U.S. trademark registration No. 3707623).

Why can they do this? Because it's distinctive. Before they started doing this, no one else was coloring their stadium turf blue. And they did it in a way that constituted a source indicator. They presented it to the public with the message "when you see a blue playing field, you know you're watching a Boise State sporting event!" (perhaps not exactly in those words).

They kept doing it to the extent that it became distinctive, and the public grew to learn that if they saw a blue field, that it was a Boise State event. That's how any trademark comes into being.

That's how "International Business Machines" became a trademark. It's a simple noun phrase, which has a literal meaning, but because a company used it in commerce, they could show that it had become distinctive in the minds of the public.

And the part about "so if any other stadium wants to put in turf of any color but green they have to pay BSU."

This is tricky. If Boise State willy-nilly issues licenses to let other stadiums use blue turf (note blue, not "any color but green"), then they risk losing their trademark through "naked licensing." They have to be careful that the public doesn't lose the notion that blue turf is an indicator for a specific source of goods and services. There has to be some connection with the licensee and the source. Boise State has to exercise some kind of quality control such that when the public sees blue turf they think "Oh, this is going to have certain qualities or characteristics because the blue turf means X."
That's not what they think:
Quote:
Now, we could sit around and argue whether or not having a blue football field was a thing fit to be trademarked. Personally, considering the specific color the school used, I could buy an argument that fans that see the field do indeed think of Boise State. I certainly do. But the school expanded the trademark in 2010 to fields not just blue, but fields that are "non-green." And that's crazy. Bradlee Frazer, an IP attorney working with the school, has stated that any non-green athletic field carries with it the risk of confusion pertaining to Boise State. He can say that all he wants, but such a stance likely wouldn't survive a challenge from another school.

But those challenges have never come, mostly because Boise State is quite liberal with freely licensing the ability to have non-green fields to other schools.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:12 PM
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Trademark owners always confidently overstate the scope of their rights. Ultimately it takes someone willing to fight them in court for it to be settled as a matter of law.

I didn’t catch an expanded trademark registration but maybe it’s there.

In any case what they’ve managed to accomplish for the time being is to avoid any definitive adjudication by the courts as to what trademark law actually allows.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:40 PM
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I just learned today that the Detroit Tigers have trademarked the Old English "D".

Trademarking a word is one thing. But trademarking a letter?


mmm
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:43 PM
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I just learned today that the Detroit Tigers have trademarked the Old English "D".

Trademarking a word is one thing. But trademarking a letter?


mmm
It’s not a letter. It’s a logo. They don’t have control over the letter “D.” It’s one or two specific renderings of the letter D as used in connection with their baseball or sporting events business.

That doesn’t mean no one can ever use a “D” again. In practical terms it means that another sports club can’t use that specific “D” as a logo to the extent that the Tigers can say that they are competing in the same marketplace. It’s not like they are making it impossible for other “D” named businesses to have a logo.

And pretty much every other baseball team has a trademark comprised of one or two letters rendered in a particular way.

Facebook has an F. Amazon has an A. Those aren’t remarkable.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:37 PM
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If you saw a baseball cap with the Dodgers version of the “D” on it, would you ever think that wasn’t a Dodgers hat? You wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t, and neither would anyone else familiar with the MLB. That is exactly why trademarks exist. If Joe Schmoe sells a hat with that D on it, people will buy it thinking it’s a Dodgers hat, without the team getting a dime, even though the team’s marketing and popularity was directly responsible for that sale. Some business could use that D on a logo and give the mistaken impression that the Dodgers endorse the product or are otherwise affiliated with it. They have an absolute right to trademark that D so that others can’t mooch off of it.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:55 PM
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You'd never see this kind of thing happening in Russia.
It might happen in The Ukraine, though.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:15 PM
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I never realized just how far THE issue had gotten. If they think that their use of the word "The" is distinctive, they are basically admitting to being obnoxious pricks.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:19 PM
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I never realized just how far THE issue had gotten. If they think that their use of the word "The" is distinctive, they are basically admitting to being obnoxious pricks.
No. They're admitting to being the obnoxious pricks.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:33 PM
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Ask yourself this ... How can one single company have exclusive rights in the word "apple" when it's a normal English word that has been used for centuries by everyone?

The answer is that Apple Inc. isn't claiming rights in the word "apple" as it is used in its dictionary meaning. It is claiming rights only to the extent that "Apple" is distinctive as the indicator of a source of goods or services.

So, why not "The"? There's no difference between "The" being a trademark and "Apple" being a trademark.
Apple Inc has had some issues with its trademark. Because there was a previous well-known use of Apple as a trademark; Apple Records, the Beatles record company.

Apple Records sued Apple Computer in 1978. Apple Computer paid a settlement and there was an agreement that Apple Computer would stay out of music. In 1986, a new Apple computer had music making capabilities so Apple Records sued again and won a new settlement. In 1991, Apple Computer included some music files on a new computer so once again Apple Records sued and collected. Then in 2003, Apple Computer started up iTunes, prompting a fourth Apples Record lawsuit but this time they lost. However, they appealed the decision and Apple Computer finally decided to buy the trademark rights from Apple Records.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:38 AM
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I just learned today that the Detroit Tigers have trademarked the Old English "D".

Trademarking a word is one thing. But trademarking a letter?


mmm
That letter on a dark blue baseball cap has been part of Detroit’s uniform since 1901, the year they were founded. Old pictures of Ty Cobb have the same symbol as that of Alan Trammell and Miguel Cabrera. When you watched Magnum, P.I. and you saw Tom Selleck wearing that hat, did you have any doubt what his favorite team was?

That’s why they were able to do that. It is as distinctive an indicator of the team as the NY mark is for the Yankees. If you were given a test of team logos you would instantaneously know which team each logo denoted. That’s why they were able to trademark its use.

That said, they’re not overzealous about it. A town near me uses it as the symbol of their local youth baseball organization and nobody cares because they’re not trying to make money from it. Contrast that with Little League, who would sue them immediately if they used that term instead of “youth baseball” to describe themselves in order to protect their trademark and keep it from becoming genericized.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:11 AM
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Apple Inc has had some issues with its trademark. Because there was a previous well-known use of Apple as a trademark; Apple Records, the Beatles record company.

Apple Records sued Apple Computer in 1978. Apple Computer paid a settlement and there was an agreement that Apple Computer would stay out of music. In 1986, a new Apple computer had music making capabilities so Apple Records sued again and won a new settlement. In 1991, Apple Computer included some music files on a new computer so once again Apple Records sued and collected. Then in 2003, Apple Computer started up iTunes, prompting a fourth Apples Record lawsuit but this time they lost. However, they appealed the decision and Apple Computer finally decided to buy the trademark rights from Apple Records.
This story tells you at least two things relevant to this thread -- (1) an ordinary word can become a trademark, and (2) two companies can have an identical trademark
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  #38  
Old 08-15-2019, 07:05 AM
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It’s not a letter. It’s a logo. They don’t have control over the letter “D.” It’s one or two specific renderings of the letter D as used in connection with their baseball or sporting events business.

That doesn’t mean no one can ever use a “D” again. In practical terms it means that another sports club can’t use that specific “D” as a logo to the extent that the Tigers can say that they are competing in the same marketplace. It’s not like they are making it impossible for other “D” named businesses to have a logo.

And pretty much every other baseball team has a trademark comprised of one or two letters rendered in a particular way.

Facebook has an F. Amazon has an A. Those aren’t remarkable.
Except that Facebook "invented" their F and Amazon created their version of the A. The Tigers, even though they have been around a good while, did not create the Old English D.


mmm
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:08 AM
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Check out the University of Michigan's response to the Ohio State logo issue:

link


mmm
  #40  
Old 08-15-2019, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
Except that Facebook "invented" their F and Amazon created their version of the A. The Tigers, even though they have been around a good while, did not create the Old English D.


mmm
First of all, no, they didn’t invent anything. They’re just slight variations on common letterforms. That minor change doesn’t count for anything you can call “inventions” of new things.

To that extent the Detroit Tigers D is rendered in a particular way that’s just specific enough to be different from other renderings. You’re classifying it as an old English D but there is an infinite number of ways to render Old English D.

Second, so what? There’s nothing in trademark law that requires a trademark to be new or original or invented by you. Most trademarks are just words and combinations of common alphanumeric characters. Nobody’s required to be inventing anything. For Pete’s sake, some huge proportion of trademarks are just someone’s name.

What matters is that it’s a distinctive source indicator for the relevant market segment. And I don’t think you. An argue that it’s not true for the Detroit D.

The Boise State thing is different in my view. I don’t see how “not green” can be a source indicator, especially if they’re licensing it to everyone. But until someone determines to pony up for a lawsuit against them we won’t kniw.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:32 AM
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O.S.U.'s fetish with "The" doesn't stop with the football team/university as a whole.

There's the James Cancer Center at O.S.U., which the school doesn't want you to refer to as such.

No, it's The James Cancer Center, or The James (as it appears on their stationery).

It becomes lots more distinguished when it's The James, especially when you use a patrician tone of voice.
  #42  
Old 08-15-2019, 09:57 AM
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First of all, no, they didn’t invent anything. They’re just slight variations on common letterforms. That minor change doesn’t count for anything you can call “inventions” of new things.

To that extent the Detroit Tigers D is rendered in a particular way that’s just specific enough to be different from other renderings. You’re classifying it as an old English D but there is an infinite number of ways to render Old English D.

Second, so what? There’s nothing in trademark law that requires a trademark to be new or original or invented by you. Most trademarks are just words and combinations of common alphanumeric characters. Nobody’s required to be inventing anything. For Pete’s sake, some huge proportion of trademarks are just someone’s name.

What matters is that it’s a distinctive source indicator for the relevant market segment. And I don’t think you. An argue that it’s not true for the Detroit D.

The Boise State thing is different in my view. I don’t see how “not green” can be a source indicator, especially if they’re licensing it to everyone. But until someone determines to pony up for a lawsuit against them we won’t kniw.
You are way more serious about this than I am, so I'm going to bow to your, um, expertise.


mmm

Last edited by Mean Mr. Mustard; 08-15-2019 at 10:02 AM.
  #43  
Old 08-15-2019, 10:01 AM
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O.S.U.'s fetish with "The" doesn't stop with the football team/university as a whole.

There's the James Cancer Center at O.S.U., which the school doesn't want you to refer to as such.

No, it's The James Cancer Center, or The James (as it appears on their stationery).

It becomes lots more distinguished when it's The James, especially when you use a patrician tone of voice.
This is the biggest parcel of hogwash I've seen in a long time.

If it ever comes up in conversation I'm gonna call it "The Jimmy".


mmm
  #44  
Old 08-15-2019, 10:51 AM
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Hmmmp, I this doesn't cause any issues with how we describe our expressways in Southern California.

THE 101
THE 405
THE 210
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:04 AM
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A town near me uses it as the symbol of their local youth baseball organization and nobody cares because they’re not trying to make money from it. Contrast that with Little League, who would sue them immediately if they used that term instead of “youth baseball” to describe themselves in order to protect their trademark and keep it from becoming genericized.
I wonder what would happen if they took a cue from Peanuts and called themselves the Very Little League.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:17 AM
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Hmmmp, I this doesn't cause any issues with how we describe our expressways in Southern California.

THE 101
THE 405
THE 210
Are you asking for a serious answer or are you just joshing?
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  #47  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:19 AM
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Contrast that with Little League, who would sue them immediately if they used that term instead of “youth baseball” to describe themselves in order to protect their trademark and keep it from becoming genericized.
An unaired (but on the DVD) episode of the animated TV series version of Clerks was allowed to say "Little League," but had to call it something like "Junior Major League" when it appeared on the screen.

Of course, all of these pale in comparison to what the International Olympic Committee does to protect the trademark "Olympics," right down to demanding that Greek restaurants that use the work "Olympic" change their names. The one event not controlled by the IOC that gets away with it: the Special Olympics.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:57 AM
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You'll note that I mentioned them already above.

Two different entities can have trademark rights in the same word.

Trademark rights are bound by geography and scope of goods and services. Does "the The" the rock band use "The" as a brand name for "Clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats." I would guess that they don't.
You can certainly buy clothes with the name of the band on it.

Quote:
And in any case "the The" isn't the same thing as "The." Mayyybe they might be confusingly similar, but mayyybe not.
If I saw a shirt with just the word "THE" on it, I'd probably think of the band, first. Does that count as brand confusion? Admittedly, I'm unlikely to attempt to get an undergrad degree from a The The concert, or expect a live music show if I'm sitting in a econ 101 class room in Idaho.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:01 PM
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Of course, all of these pale in comparison to what the International Olympic Committee does to protect the trademark "Olympics," right down to demanding that Greek restaurants that use the work "Olympic" change their names. The one event not controlled by the IOC that gets away with it: the Special Olympics.
They threatened to sue the makers of the card game Legend of the Five Rings, because they had a picture of five rings on the back of the cards.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:47 PM
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They threatened to sue the makers of the card game Legend of the Five Rings, because they had a picture of five rings on the back of the cards.
I wonder if/when they will go after publishers of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings.

Maybe Musashi’s ghost can duel someone at the IOC over rights to the logo. He never lost a duel so I’d bet on the ghost.
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