The Straight Dope, trademarks?

This is probably mostly of interest to Ed Zotti.

I don’t know if this has been brought up, or indeed if it is and issue, but I thought I’d point it out. The magazine The Nation is currently running a TV commercial with the slogan(I can’t make out all of it) “No Corporate slings(I think), no white house spin, just the straight dope” With the emphasis on “the straight dope” (at least I am pretty sure thats what they say) It can be seen here.

Might be nothing. Trademark law being what it is, I just thought I’d point it out. I saw the commercial on Bravo tonight.

I’ll pass this on to Ed and the Reader.

your humble TubaDiva

Trademark laws are not broadly interpreted, but narrowly interpreted. They can only be actionable if you have sustained a loss, which is hard to prove, or the copier is a direct competitor, which is also hard to prove. And it has to be used in a comparable context. Can Avis say “We put you into the driver’s seat?” Probably, if they include the text in a paragraph, but not as a billboard headline.

And your claim can be easily overturned by showing the phrase was in general circulation before the registration.

It’s not like a patent - the government records claims, they do not verify them.
Thus, Donald Trump can register “You’re fired” and nobody will stop him. So if somebody uses “You’re fired” and Trump threatens to sue, they can counter with the obvious defense that he was not the originator.
Somehow, the term “straight dope” seems to fit into that same mold.
A registration makes a good bluff, but a poor case in court.