Company Trademarks The Pirate Bay Logo

from the missing-the-point dept

Quite a few people have pointed to the story about a Swedish company that has trademarked The Pirate Bay logo, and plans to sell USB keys with the logo included. The company claims that this is fine because The Pirate Bay had not registered the trademark itself. In the meantime, some folks associated with The Pirate Bay are saying they're going to try to overturn the ruling.

I don't know how Swedish trademark law works, but at least in the US there is a concept of a "common law trademark," which is supposed to prevent others from registering a mark on a brand that someone else is using -- even if they haven't registered it. It would seem like quite a silly trademark law if the Swedish trademark law doesn't include anything like that.

As for those who think it's ironic or even hypocritical that The Pirate Bay guys are somewhat bothered by this, you need to understand a few things. First, they clearly state that they have no problem with anyone doing anything else with The Pirate Bay logo. So, if this company just wanted to sell those USB keys by itself, it could do so. The issue they have is with this company "locking up" the trademark so others can't use it. That seems entirely in support with what they stand for.

Separately, it's worth pointing out (yet again, because some people still get confused by this) that trademarks are wholly different beasts than copyrights or patents. Trademarks are not about protectionism, but about preventing consumer confusion over who actually made or offers a specific product. It's a very different concept.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    Out of all three of the pillars of intellectual property (why isn't it taxed like real property?) trademark is the one pillar I am least worried about in the overall scheme.

    Patents? I think there's a mess of problems but at least they don't last for centuries.

    Copyright? Thank goodness artistic human expression is locked down for centuries. And that corporations can own artistic human expression for 90 years. Otherwise nobody would create anything.

    And everyone has, what is essentially, a copying super-machine in their pockets.

    "Just because it's okay to marry a negro doesn't mean you should!"

    Seriously, good luck in the 21st century.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Cynix, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:29pm

    "Just because it's okay to marry a negro doesn't mean you should!"

    Sorry, was that a racist comment?

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Bigot Buster, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:36pm

    Re:

    "Just because it's okay to marry a negro doesn't mean you should!"

    Um, what is this bigoted comment supposed to mean?

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    Re:

    That statement itself was based off of racism, yes. I imagine a racists saying it.

    There were laws that prevented two people from marrying. Of course, back in the day it was based on skin color but now it's based on sexuality.

    My point is: just because something is against the law (copyright infringement, segregation) doesn't make that action automatically wrong.

    Who know? Just as we look back at laws dealing with segregation and shake our collective heads, we might do the same with copyright infringement laws. They are seriously asinine and deserve reform.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re:

    Laws preventing two people from marrying are about as useful as laws preventing people from sharing.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re:

    I probably should have clarified. My apologies.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    TheStupidOne, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:41pm

    Confusion

    If trademarks are supposed to prevent confusion in the marketplace ... wouldn't someone other than the pirate bay using that logo be suggesting affiliation with the pirate bay and thus be confusing if no affiliation actually exists?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Confusion

    That's my other beef. All these laws are confusing! And some of them are really old.

    But we shouldn't work towards reform? No, that would be a horrible thing to do.

    I know, let's make more laws and have secret treaties and kick people off of the internet. That will solve everything!

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

    Re:

    Oh look- Grandpa finally got on the internet!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In my defense, I have been trolling/shilling/commenting here for about 3 days straight.

    Break time!

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re:

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 17th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Except... that quote isn't saying "just because something is against the law doesn't make it wrong" - it's saying "just because something is allowed doesn't make it right."

    Pretty different concepts.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 5:02pm

    Obviously the recording industry is going sue the USB key makers since they run The Pirate Bay right? I mean they registered the trademark on a brand we all know.

    USB Keys = sneaker net

    See how they are trying to not be tracked.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Just because you can fileshare (everyone can) doesn't mean you should!" - Copyright Maximalist

    Fine, I think copyright maximalists are like racists. It makes it easier to disagree with them.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 5:31pm

    No why would they care? They can just pirate their own logo.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Daniel, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 6:39pm

    I believe it is in order, protect your trademark

     

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  17.  
    icon
    Tor (profile), Nov 17th, 2009 @ 10:02pm

    The company will unregister it

    The company has after communication with Peter Sunde (a.k.a. brokep) decided to unregister the trademark and said that all they wanted to achieve was to get an ok to use the image (although all the free advertising was probably part of the plan too ;)).

    Source: Swedish Radio news (google translated)

    There's another interesting part of the story: when the registration became public many people mailed to the patent and registration office with questions about it. When Fredrik Neij - one of the Pirate Bay guys - mailed a question to them he got a reply within two minutes. But not from the Patent and Registration office but instead from Swedish Radio - citing his original mail in full. Now it could be that correspondence like this with authorities is openly available under Swedish transparency laws, but in that case one has to make a formal request in order to access it. I have never heard of normal correspondence being automatically forwarded to journalists like this.

    "I don't know how Swedish trademark law works, but at least in the US there is a concept of a "common law trademark," which is supposed to prevent others from registering a mark on a brand that someone else is using -- even if they haven't registered it. It would seem like quite a silly trademark law if the Swedish trademark law doesn't include anything like that."


    Swedish trademark law indeed has something similar. Although I don't have any detailed knowledge of it I doubt that "common law trademarks" would cover more areas than the ones established by the common usage however. The trademark application in this case covered just one so called trademark class. I don't think it would have limited the possibility to continue using the image as a logo for the file-sharing site (but I'm no expert on legal matters).

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Why?, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 11:22pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why clarify? You used quotes around it. With the context, it was perfectly understandable.

    And yes, I'm black, thank you.

     

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  19.  
    icon
    thetrademarkattorney (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:58am

    Lots of Info

    Well, I was under the impression Pirate Bay shut shop and that too for illegal activities. Well, if someone wants to go ahead and have a legal biz with that name in ALMOST the same class of goods or services, all the best to them, for wouldnt the consumers be confused?btw, great post and even better comments, found quite a lot of mind chow here

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    vyvyan, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 2:35am

    Re:

    "Just because it's okay to marry a negro doesn't mean you should!"

    No connection to what you were saying before that. I wonder from where have you pulled this one?

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Nina Paley (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:57am

    there should be share-alike for trademark

    There should be share-alike registrations for trademarks. That would be cool.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Mechwarrior, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:05am

    So what're they gonna do, sue Pirate Bay for trademark infringement?

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re:

    I heard it from a copyright maximalist.

     

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


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