My Life. My Card. My Intellectual Property Battle.

from the the-world-we-live-in dept

Barely a day goes by when we don't hear of yet another story about some sort of intellectual property claim being asserted where it doesn't belong. It's a function of a current culture where people are being incorrectly taught that every idea, every concept, every word and every sound should be protected and "owned" despite the fact that these things, by their very nature, are infinite and can be freely shared at no cost to anyone. The latest such case involves a guy who apparently pitched the slogan "My Card. My Life" to American Express a while back. Soon afterwards, entirely independently, AmEx's own ad agency pitched the same slogan, which is now being used. After discovering that the other guy was trying to trademark (we assume, even though the article claims "patent") the phrase, AmEx sued to get a declaratory judgment that its use of the phrase did not infringe. Thankfully, a judge has agreed that no infringement occurred. Yet, in this age, where we're being incorrectly bombarded with the message that ideas can be owned and protected, it's no surprise that American Express would worry about such a thing.

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  1. identicon
    Willton, 13 Feb 2008 @ 6:05am

    The ignorance of trademark laws is palpable here

    One thing you folks need to understand: anything can be trademarked, as long as it is actually used in connection with goods or services. It does not matter if they mark is a mere 4 words, such as "Have It Your Way" or "My Life. My Card."; such a formulation of words is a valid trademark.

    The problem that tripped up this guy, however, is that he has never used the mark in connection with any goods or services. One cannot own a trademark unless one uses said trademark.

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