German Company Wants To Protect Its Use Of The '@' Sign: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

from the @hats-and-@fish dept

A little while back, Techdirt wrote about a rather brave French company that tried to trademark the Anonymous logo. Now Der Spiegel is reporting that someone wants a German "wordmark" on the "@" sign (original in German). The company involved has the rather unusual name "@ T.E.L.L.", where the initials apparently stand for "Tradinghouse for Exclusive Luxury Labels". Although it's not really clear what the connection is, it is seeking to protect its use of the @-symbol for various classes of luxury goods (application in German), including the following:

shoes, hats, belts, fish, dried fruit, eggs, milk, coffee, tea, tapioca, bread, sugar, honey, syrups, alcoholic beverages (excluding beer), cigarettes, cigars, cigarette lighters and ashtrays
Despite this limitation to certain luxury items, and despite a press release (pdf in German) emphasizing that the company has no intention of sending out warning letters to people using the @-sign in their email addresses, you do have to wonder how wise it is to hand out control, no matter how circumscribed, over something so fundamental to the working of the modern world.

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