Overzealous Trademark Holder Tries To Stop Blogger From Using The Phrase 'Branded Community'
from the this-again? dept
Take this bizarre case as an example. A blogger on ZDNet had a post about "enterprise communities" where the phrase "branded community" was used. That's a descriptive use and a perfectly reasonable one. Yet, the owner of some marketing firm wrote a semi-threatening letter claiming to hold the trademark on "branded community" and demanding that the blogger "refrain from using the phrase in any other current or future materials."
Of course, that's a complete abuse of trademark law, which does not grant the holder the ability to prevent all usage of the phrase, only usage that might cause confusion with the goods or services related to the mark. Using it as a passing phrase in a blog post does no such thing -- but it already scared off the blogger, who changed the phrase in the original (though, thankfully, posted the threat letter with a detailed response). Either way, it's yet another sign of the times, when people start thinking that a trademark allows them to prevent people from using a perfectly normal descriptive phrase like "branded community."