Legal Issues

by Carlo Longino




Does My Butt Look Big In This Pentium?

from the pyrrhic dept

The concept of trademark is often misunderstood (and often abused, too). It's not intended to give a holder complete control over a word or mark, rather it's intended to prevent confusion in the marketplace -- so, for instance, I couldn't start selling a computer operating system called Windows, since it might confuse people into thinking it was that better-known version of Windows. With that in mind, the news that Intel has won a trademark dispute in Indonesia is a little odd, since the company on the other side was making Intel-brand blue jeans. Last we checked, it was pretty obvious that you couldn't power a computer with dungarees, nor could you use a processor for a pair of pants. An Indonesian court initially agreed, but now the country's Supreme Court has cancelled the clothing maker's domestic trademark, in effect shutting down its brand of jeans. Intel, of course, heralds this as some great victory for global intellectual property rights -- but really, it's hard to see how battling some jeans maker in one of the company's minor markets does much for it in the long run. Unless, of course, it's got plans for us all to be rocking Centrino shirts, Rosedale pants and the special Viiv underwear during the fall season.

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  • identicon
    Cixelsid, 2 Feb 2007 @ 4:18pm

    Hooray!

    Intel fights for the right to distinguish between a silicon transistors and trousers! A victory for all intel-lectuals (tm).

    *Hmmm let me just quickly open this here envelope that just arrived in the mail*

    Oh noes!!! I's is being sued by Intel(tm)!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2007 @ 4:27pm

    Personally, I'd rather have some AMD slacks...But thats just me...

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

  • identicon
    Passionate Lurker, 2 Feb 2007 @ 4:46pm

    What if I wanted to sell Oakley shoes? Acccording to your logic, Carlo, I should be able to because no one would confuse my shoes with those sunglass people.

    Oh, wait, those sunglass people did make shoes.

    Then what if I called my new electronics company Daewoo? That would be okay, right? Nobody would confuse me with the auto manufacturer or ship builder.

    Oh wait, they're the same company.

    Then maybe if I called my new drinking water TRUMP. Who would confuse that with a Manhattan real estate firm?

    Oh wait...

    My point, Carlo, is that in this day and age where businesses cross the lines of marketing everyday, maybe your just missed the point here... Again.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 2 Feb 2007 @ 4:56pm

      Re:

      What if I wanted to sell Oakley shoes? Acccording to your logic, Carlo, I should be able to because no one would confuse my shoes with those sunglass people.

      When you get a trademark, you get it for the area of business that the mark is being used in. I would assume that Oakley's trademark covers apparel, and therefore, it would cover shoes and sunglasses.

      That's not the same as the situation above.

      Then what if I called my new electronics company Daewoo? That would be okay, right? Nobody would confuse me with the auto manufacturer or ship builder.

      Again, it's likely the company has marks covering both areas.

      Not the same as the situation above.

      Then maybe if I called my new drinking water TRUMP. Who would confuse that with a Manhattan real estate firm?

      Again, when Trump launched his water offering, it's quite likely he filed a trademark for the use of the name in the water business.

      Point is, none of your examples relates to the situation in the post.

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

      • identicon
        Passionate Lurker, 2 Feb 2007 @ 5:06pm

        Re: Re:

        Sorry, Mike, I disagree.

        You cannot, with any degree of certainty, tell us that the trademarks for those companies were filed for at the same time as the original.

        Daewoo wants to get into the automotive business 15 years after they succeed in electronics, they apply for a new TM. They have marks covering both because they wanted to protect themselves, but it was never in the original plan.

        Intel decides now that they want to protect themselves, and in the same way, they reserve a Trademark. This time, though, it's in the apparel industry. Who are you to argue that this is any different?

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

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 2 Feb 2007 @ 5:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Passionate Lurker,

          You can disagree, but you would be wrong. You should look up how trademark law works.


          You cannot, with any degree of certainty, tell us that the trademarks for those companies were filed for at the same time as the original.


          I never said they were filed at the same time. But you can't trademark a *future* product. You can only trademark a mark you are using in trade. And, when you file it, included in the filing is what the mark is used for and what category of goods it covers. That's simply how trademarks work.

          You might not like it, but unfortunately the law is against you.

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

          • identicon
            Passionate Lurker, 2 Feb 2007 @ 6:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's an amusing and interesting position you've taken as you attempt to defend Carlo's stance.

            The most amusing line being:

            You might not like it, but unfortunately the law is against you.


            Maybe, rather than fancying yourself as some expert in Trademark law, you could read the article above. In fact, just the bold, blue line would do.

            Intel has won a trademark dispute...

            Maybe, sir, it is the law that is against you

            Come down a minute from Blowhard Mountain, and stop arguing for arguments sake.

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

            • icon
              Mike (profile), 2 Feb 2007 @ 6:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Maybe, sir, it is the law that is against you

              No, it's a court that has made a bad decision. The law is actually pretty clear about it, and for a good reason.

              Are you really trying to suggest that by having a brand name in one business, you should automatically retain all rights to it in any other business?

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

              • identicon
                Mike's devil's advocate, 3 Feb 2007 @ 5:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                OK, for one thing, I agree with you Mike. Having a trademark in computer tech shouldn't grant an assumed trademark in apparel. But how would you take this situation?

                What if some company like Monsanto started marketing Techdirt(tm), a new soil treatment for farmers using the latest hi-tech nanobots to make your corn grow faster and heartier.

                Would you have a problem with that?

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

                • icon
                  Mike (profile), 3 Feb 2007 @ 6:49pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  What if some company like Monsanto started marketing Techdirt(tm), a new soil treatment for farmers using the latest hi-tech nanobots to make your corn grow faster and heartier.

                  Would you have a problem with that?


                  Nope. Not a problem. Let them go for it.

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

              • identicon
                ehrichweiss, 3 Feb 2007 @ 10:58am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "No, it's a court that has made a bad decision. The law is actually pretty clear about it, and for a good reason."

                AND it was a court in Indonesia, not the US. I imagine that offering an Indonesian Supreme Court judge $1,000 USD to change his decision is a lot more effective than a couple hundred thousand to the equivalent US counterpart.

                Lurker, you need to do some research into the Radio Shack vs Bianca's Smut Shack lawsuit. "The Shack" decided that they owned the trademark to every iteration and implementation of "shack" and brought suit against BSS. Radio Shaft lost because of the very things that Mike and everyone else are trying to explain to you.

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

      • identicon
        Trashed, 3 Feb 2007 @ 11:54am

        Re: Re:

        I dunno, you are making assertions about the "likelyhood" that Daewoo has multiple Trademaks covering multiple markets. I've never heard of trademaks being limited to market segments before. Who decides what those segments are? It seems there would be lots of overlap if anyone tried to. Anyway, the links Carlo gives don't really support this assertion. So I'm still waiting for someone to post something concrete.

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

  • identicon
    Diana, 2 Feb 2007 @ 5:10pm

    Lurker, your confusing the point here.
    First off all. Calling BLUE JEAN's, computer chips is just silly.
    There is no threat to the computer company who has gone after people for using blue doors on porn sites.
    The company is paranoid!
    Second of all if you're going to use a company as a example; use someone who doesn't manufacture that produce. Or have anything what so ever to do their market.
    Daewoo does auto, trading and ELECTRONICS.
    I could see if you use Dairy Queen suing the NFL for selling blizzard shirts.

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

  • identicon
    Jack, 2 Feb 2007 @ 6:06pm

    Intel?

    So when is the military going to sue 'Intel' for using the word intel. Let's just shoot all the tort lawyers who seem to be the real ones profiting from all this. C'mon people it's got to stop somewhere

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

  • identicon
    RevMike, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:09pm

    Everyone cool it.

    The simple fact is that trademark is governed by local laws. In the US, a mark can only infringe if it is potentially confusing. This is actually governed by state law, but most states are pretty consistent on this. If this case was about a mark in the US, the jeans company would have won.

    One minor problem, however. This case took place in Indonesia and applies Indonesian law.

    This may come as a shock, but US law and Indonesian law are a little bit different.

    It is not unusual for other countries to have more restrictive trademark rules. In the UK, for instance, the World Wildlife Fund successfully forced the World Wrestling Federation to stop using the mark WWF. The UK's trademark rules don't take into account potential to confuse.

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

  • identicon
    LMAO, not coming back to rant with youns, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:36pm

    Dawoo makes tv's, cars, boats, radios, even computer moniters, so umm an electronics company will not be able to trademark an already made elcetronics company.

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

  • identicon
    vapiddreamer, 2 Feb 2007 @ 7:47pm

    Hey Passionate Lurker

    Your an ass-hat

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

  • identicon
    Trashed, 3 Feb 2007 @ 11:38am

    So if someone creates an automobile and plants a decal on the side that says Hewlet Packard, HP should allow it because no one would EVER think they were the same company? Give me a break!

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

  • identicon
    Sboj, 3 Feb 2007 @ 7:49pm

    Apple

    I went to the store to get an iPod. All I saw were banannas, oranges, grapes, etc. WTF?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2007 @ 11:41pm

    The US does have a way to figure out what segment your product or service is in. They also have more info
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/doc/basic/

    What is a trademark or service mark?

    * A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
    * A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this booklet, the terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks.

    Do Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents protect the same things?

    No. Trademarks, copyrights and patents all differ. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention. For copyright information, go to http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/. For patent information, go to http://www.uspto.gov/main/patents.htm.

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

  • identicon
    The Swiss Cheese Monster, 4 Feb 2007 @ 5:12am

    Intel

    Is a short for intelligence, or intelligent. The root intel has been around for a very long time, several hundred years.

    Intel being able to sue over somebody else using the word would be like Subway going after New York for the use of the word for their mass transit system.

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

  • identicon
    parsko, 4 Feb 2007 @ 1:52pm

    Why is this a surprise?

    Check out:
    http://www.research.philips.com/newscenter/archive/2006/060901-lumalive.html

    In the proper spirit of Techdirt, I certainly agree it was the wrong execution on behalf of non-jean Intel, but the logical thing to do. Eventually, someone will have to do this for Philips, and want to own the name for it. Perhaps they could have come to a better agreement.

    -parsko

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

  • identicon
    ShadowSoldier, 4 Feb 2007 @ 8:57pm

    I think that it is crazy to assume anyone would confuse a small brand of Jeans and a Multinational Computer chip maker. Now I'm just pissed that my MacBook doesn't work as a functional set of pants. I must admit however, that a pair of jeans that were covered with computer chips would be pretty cool.
    Also Does Intel now bear the responsibility for the failures in the Iraq war, you know, because of the bad (fake) intel. I know someone already made this pun I just couldn't resist

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

  • identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 5 Feb 2007 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I should think mike would love it, since he has the Techdirt.com domain name, so he gets someone else to go on about his company's name, and when people try to look up the other company's product, they find out about mike's. Sure, most of them will just be confused (i.e those with the inteligentce of dorpus on a bad day), but some will come back here, and tell thier friends about the sitre, and Techdirt CI will get some advertising (which is waht this site is all about).

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


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