The dark prowes of copyright: mark duels from Specsavers to Facebook

Swimmer Ryan Lochte perhaps isnt riling anyone by marking Jeah, his outlandish win screeching but can Specsavers truly patent shouldve, or can Facebook own look and work? The macrocosm of trademark principle is murky indeed

Last week US swimmer Ryan Lochte obtained himself wanted for wondering by Rio police over a narrative about being mugged one of the two bad things that presumably happened to him at the 2016 Games( the other was losing to Michael Phelps; the overcome stands, the mugging, it turns out, was made up ). One wonders whether Ryans ejaculation, on learning that he was craved back in Brazil, was a howling Jeah! He trademarked his strange victory scream in August 2012, after triumphing golden in London Olympics. It entails, like, almost everything, he explained, reasonably unhelpfully.

When, in November 2016, she becomes( God willing) the most powerful wife in the world, Potus( untrademarked, apparently) Hillary will be quite within her rights to tell Donald: Youre fuelled! His attempt to trademark that word was turned down in 2004. When she embarked her safarus, Clintons camp were luckier in marking the term Hillary for America. Trump for America was nixed. Advantage Hillary. Lets hope it bides that way.

Sarah Palin, when she was going high-pitched all those years ago, tried to trademark her own refer but apparently botched the application. It would not, one deduces, be hopeful for the world had the fearless Alaskan constituted it at the very highest reverberate( did you say blue button? I thought you said blood-red. Ah, well, its alone Russia ).

The government-run intellectual property places in the US and UK are, on the whole, level-headed in their verdicts. Walmart is well on the way to owning everything in the US. But its attempt to trademark the yellow-bellied smiley face in 2006 was disclaimed. Emoticons seem immune. Smile on.

Its not clear, nonetheless, whether Facebook owns the twinned components of face and journal. The US Patent and Trademark Office allowed the company to register face in 2010; it does not appear to have successfully registered journal, though it has asserted copyright on the word in its user agreement since 2012. In 2010 it propelled a dres against educating website Teachbook, which cast chills through the book and face-product worlds. Its murky. Best trampled carefully.

Business necessitates clear the definitions contained in owned. But, for chancers, marking can be a Las Vegas casino. A small punt can, if the TM deities smile on you, raising unimaginably immense reinforces. The expenditure for a logo, here and in the US, is around 200. The ways is simple and( unless youre Sarah Palin,) easy to fill in.

Unsurprisingly, every year parties try their fluke. They may well be inspired by the boasts announcer Michael Buffer, who, when compering boxing bouts in the 1980 s, came up with the reverberate dictation Lets get ready to rumble. Buffer has manufactured more than $400 m hiring out those five messages. Shakespeare should have been so lucky.

Michael Buffers marked $400 m catchphrase

Rather more meticulous is the self-described intellectual property entrepreneur Leo Stoller. Stoller was foresightful enough to trademark, in the early years of the 21 st century, the word stealth. Internet search engines mean he can now situate any recent use of his parole. He is all very well be looking at this article now( I think were safe, for the purposes of the bazaar apply convention, but Im not sure ). Every year Stoller fires off a onslaught of ferocious letters from his entanglement fellowship Rentamark.com, requiring payment for the use of his parole. Some recipients pay up sometimes thousands of dollars. Stoller also went to law against the aircraft producer Northrop Grumman for cheekily utilizing his message for their B2 stealth bomber. Stoller, who is clearly not needing a sense of humour, has also, the New York Times reports, trademarked the word audacity.

There was some fuss a few days ago about high-street optician Specsavers applying to have the reduction shouldve( as in their motto, Shouldve are going to be Specsavers) mark safeguarded. Theyve get past the first round, but I hope theyre unlucky. Taylor Swift is a pitiless trademarker of her song cloth. I cant conceive she hasnt applied a TM stamp on Shouldve Said No. If she hasnt, I hope she does rapid. I like her more than the optician.

The most recent crop of applications to clear the first impediment, as rostered by the UK Intellectual Property Office, are principally bland and name-protective. There are some idiosyncrasies, though. Bella Freud, the clothes designer, wants to trademark 1970. It seems bonkers. But I believe it will be valid simply as an moniker applicable in respect of her wrinkle( and very handsome wears they are) of 1970 Wool Jumpers, emblazoned with the year across their front.

I was a bit fazed by BBC Worldwide Limited applying to trademark the word swashbuckle. But then someone told me it was the name of a popular pirate-themed comedy game show on childrens Tv. All clear. But does that represent no one else can use the word in historic narration, for instance without a Stoller-style letter? Zounds!

On sounding the EU referendum result, US brewer Sam Adams opportunistically lodged with US trademark approvals an application for Brexit, to be pasted on their upcoming brand of hard cider. Expressing for myself and 16 million others , not being able to use the word Brexit is no enormous loss. Cheers.

Orwells Nose by John Sutherland is published by Reaktion at 15.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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