Intellectual property question.

Let’s see now, I will try and be as clear as I can given the circumstances. Please ask for more info if needed.
I realise that law etc differs all over the world, but I am not thinking of this in purely legal terms, rather in terms of good-will or fair behaviour.

  • I have a fan site for a certain company.
  • The sites URL includes the company name, think " " if it helps :slight_smile: (crap example but it’s late and I’m tired)
  • The company appears to at least tacitly accept/endorse these fan sites as there are a number of other communities with URLs that encorporate the compant name, and the communities have occasionally emailed with the company in regard to various questions, so the company knows the sites exist.
  • The company has now released something that has imho a clear inspiration from our fansite. For the sake of the argument you can imagine that they have made a new meal called the McDonalds Bebop Meal.

Question 1:
What’s my cut. hehe

Really though, do I have any recourse? I do not, as I mentioned, want to attempt to take legal action or anything similar, but I would like to mail them about the issue. IMHO there should at least be a couple of “vouchers for BeBop Meals” in it for me, as a goodwill gesture.

Am I completely out of line? Have I been too obtuse in my post to make any sense whatsoever? As I see it, sending a mail to the people in charge of commissioning the “meal” can’t really hurt, and it might help. What is the general opinion?

You’d have a hard time squeezing money out of them. First of all, you are the one violating trademarks by using their name. Unless you have deep pockets and can try to prove the company has let its trademark lapse (probably impossible these days), you can’t win that one.

As for their using your product name, if you didn’t trademark it, there’s little you can do. The name of a product falls under trademark law, not copyright law.

You can try asking them about it, but it’s just as likely you’ll get hit with a nasty letter over your violation as you getting a bonus. It depends on how the people at the company react. You may get a better response from the PR department (and a bebop meal or two) than from the legal department, just as a good will gesture. However, they hold all the cards.

Yep it was the PR department I was considering speaking to. I have a hard time imagining that they will sick the legal department on me considering the fan-site is in adoration of their own PR/Goodwill activity in which they actively encourage community building, and also considering that I have contacted them from that domain name on various occasions.