Man Trademarks 'Welcome To Parry Sound,' Demands Money From Parry Sound Organizations
from the ah,-trademark-law dept
You may have noticed that as the field of “intellectual property law” has been getting more and more attention, those who benefit the most from it have done an effective, if misleading, job of convincing people that copyright, patents and trademark are “just like property.” That’s not true of course, and it’s especially misleading when it comes to trademark law, which is designed to prevent consumer confusion, not to provide incentives, like copyright or patent law. But, all too frequently, we see people think that if they can somehow get a registered trademark on a term, it means they can prevent others from using it. Perhaps the most famous case was that of Leo Stoller who got trademarks on a variety of words, such as “stealth,” and then started demanding everyone who used those words pay up.
It appears that Stoller is not alone in this game, and this latest example may have taken a misinterpretation of trademark law to another level altogether. Reader Project P1 points us to the news that a guy named Nick Slater was somehow able to secure a trademark on the term “Welcome to Parry Sound.” Parry Sound, of course, is a small town in Ontario. Now that Slater has the trademark, he’s been invoicing lots of organizations for daring to use the phrase “welcome to Parry Sound,” in any way. Thankfully, the various lawyers of those invoiced have all said, clearly, that there’s no trademark issue here and not to pay, but Slater isn’t giving up. Town residents have been protesting by putting up “Welcome to Parry Sound” signs on their lawn, and one guy set up a “Welcome to Parry Sound” Facebook group.
Slater’s response? He sent that guy an invoice as well… and then filed a takedown claim with Facebook which blindly complied.
There is no legitimate trademark claim here, but once again, we’re seeing what the concept of “intellectual property” is creating, with people thinking they can own basic things like a town greeting.