A couple recent news items caught my attention regarding trademarked items. First, lawyers for Jack Daniel’s sent a polite cease and desist letter to an author who published a book with a cover that looks much like a bottle of Jack:
Second, there was recently a performance in North Korea by Disney characters, which Disney was quick to condemn:
Now in both cases we’ve got trademarked things being used in an unauthorized way. And the reason the lawyers are busy sending out letters is because of the idea (or fiction IMHO) that the trademark will be lost if they don’t.
Where does this come from? I know about kleenex and aspirin. But seriously, in the modern day? If I can open a restaurant and call it McDonald’s and just tenaciously hold out against a flood of lawyers I will somehow be entitled to that trademark? It doesn’t make sense to me. In this day and age, it’s easily possible to tell who’s the original owner versus who is riding the idea’s nuts. Is shame not enough to stop imitators? Is the business world so cutthroat and ruthless that blatant theft of ideas will occur if not for this silly “law”? It just seems like a strange game of capture the flag to me. If you can capture the flag (the trademark) you own it and it’s yours until some other jerk takes it away from you. That is of course unless you can outspend them in court. Is this really the case and is this going on all the time? And is there any push to reform this system so that it isn’t so arbitrary?