There Can Be Only One... Cyberlawyer?

from the seriously? dept

In our culture where some companies (and their lawyers) have convinced people that intellectual property gives you total control over things, we start to see some bizarre and ridiculous trademark claims. The latest comes to us via the EFF, who point to a lawyer who has received a trademark on the term "cyberlaw" and is going after other lawyers who use the term which has been in fairly common usage for ages. As the EFF notes, it's especially upsetting that an intellectual property lawyer would abuse trademark law this way in a manner well beyond what trademark law is supposed to do -- while also warning that courts as well as tech companies don't tend to look kindly on people who abuse trademark law.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 7:14pm

    tradesmackdown

    Ummm, the guy is now officially a "Cyber-dipshit".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ryan, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 7:26pm

    Going after...

    When you say "going after", do you mean that they are just attempting to bring the case to court? As long as this lawyer doesnt win a case, i think he can try all he wants. If he loses, it will set a nice precedent anyways.

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Going after...

    As long as this lawyer doesnt win a case, i think he can try all he wants. If he loses, it will set a nice precedent anyways.

    You must be a lawyer. For the rest of us, as long as this is entertained, it's a loss.

     

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  4.  
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    Nick (profile), Jan 18th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    The irony is just too good. What better way to demonstrate that you do not understand cyberlaw than to be a trademark troll with the term itself.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2008 @ 11:55pm

    Someone call the websheriff! He took care of pirate bay, he can take care of cyberlawyers too.... wait a minute.

     

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  6.  
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    markuss wellbe, Jan 19th, 2008 @ 1:00am

    Re: Going after...

    wow ur good at pointing out the obvious, I bet you talk just to hear your voice.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2008 @ 5:05am

    I have no problems with lawyers eating their own.

     

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  8.  
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    Shohat, Jan 19th, 2008 @ 5:50am

    Yes.. and that's normal

    Stop acting all surprised over normal things.
    Just like there is only one Citybank
    There is only one Detroit motor show
    And there is only one World Trade Center (omg ! the horror)


    Seriously, stop being emo everytime when perfectly reasonable IP law applies to things remotely related to the internet.

     

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  9.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jan 19th, 2008 @ 6:42am

    the answer is..

    The answer is simple...dilute his trademark. Use cyberlaw without the registered trademark thingy and always spell it lower case. Google hated that and tried to get people to stop but had little luck. Think about the manpower that google has and then realize that this is one little chump who wants to sue but doesn't yet realize that he'll have to actively defend the trademark in ways that do *not* involve lawsuits. He's gonna have his work cut out for him.

    Besides, he's likely not going to get to keep it long since it has been used by everyone else to talk about something that was clearly not his practice, and IIRC that's one of the ways they determine if the trademark is defendable.

     

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  10.  
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    Alfred E. Neuman, Jan 19th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: Yes.. and that's normal

    "perfectly reasonable IP law"

    I don't think a trademark on Ambulance Chaser would hold water either.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2008 @ 8:48am

    The guy had to defend the Trademark, right? Could get expensive.

     

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  12.  
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    Lucretious, Jan 20th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    I wouldn't call it upsetting at all. It's ridiculous and any judgej will see it as such. It is actually of benefit to those fighting for rational copyright laws as it highlights the extent that some moronic attorneys are willing to go to lay claim to something that they cannot "own".

     

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  13.  
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    GLyons, Jan 20th, 2008 @ 11:53am

    I believe there is a precident for prior usage of this term by William Gibson in some of his novels.
    Maybe WG should sue this guy.

     

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  14.  
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    Rusty Shackleford, Jan 20th, 2008 @ 5:41pm

    cyberstupid

    not only is the lawyer just another who wants to get rich for free... but the people with the power to grant this trademark seem to be "cyberstupid"... copyright pending

     

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  15.  
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    Ron Paul '08, Jan 20th, 2008 @ 7:53pm

    Re: tradesmackdown

    Amen brother

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Mike Brown, Jan 21st, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Not exactly...

    > a lawyer who has received a trademark on the term "cyberlaw"

    Sorry, no. It's annoying that one lawyer in this day and age could claim exclusive rights in a widely used term like "cyberlaw", but let's not get carried away.

    1 - The lawyer has not "received a trademark". Under US law, trademarks are indications of sources of goods or services, which are created by use in commerce. They are not "received".

    2 - Trademarks can be registered, once they have been created by use in commerce, but a (valid) registration will only be issued if the use was, in fact, trademark use and the mark does, in fact, indicate a source of goods or services.

    3 - If lots of people are using a mark over many years, so that when the consuming public sees the mark they don't associate it with any one of them, then it doesn't indicate a source. In that case, it's not a mark at all, it's a generic term for the good or service.

    4 - The lawyer has just filed an application to register the mark, and that only a month ago. You can apply to register anything - it just takes a credit card and a computer. Just filing an application to register "ham sandwich" doesn't make it a trademark for ham sandwiches - although it could be a very good trademark for tire chains or computer modems or financial advice publications (it's actually registered for that).

    5 - The application will almost certainly be rejected because of the extensive prior use of the term by others. There were two prior attempts by others to register the term, and both were rejected.

    6 - If the application should happen to be approved, it must then be published for opposition by anyone who thinks they will be hurt by the registration. I would not be surprised to see oppositions galore, in the unlikely event that some examiner misses the extensive generic use of the term.

    Bottom line - yes, he should know better, and if he really tries to enforce the "mark" in court he'll find that out.

     

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  17.  
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    Celes, Jan 21st, 2008 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Yes.. and that's normal

    Only one World Trade Center? I guess the ones in Baltimore, New Orleans, and Lexington had better change their names... as well as all the ones outside of the US...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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