November 21, 2005

To Be or Not to Be...

Based on recent events with Pajamas/OSM/Name of the Week media, we've been talking about whether we've done everything we ought to with this whole blogging thing. In my earlier post, I suggested that Jammies should have "done their homework" or looked before leaping.

When we started this whole thing, being academics, we did research. I even talked to a lawyer about whether it was worth it to copyright or trademark, thinking mostly about whether it would provide us any protections in case someone else tried to do something (bad) using our name, rather than staking turf claim. In the end we went with the Creative Commons license.

Now we're thinking about it again. As my previous post said, I am all in favor of friendly sharing. What if, on the other hand, the same thing happened to the name Bloodless Coup that happened to ...Open Source? And what if the name confusion brought people to a site with which we vehemently disagreed and wanted no association with at all? And what if it didn't get resolved like the situation with PoliBlog, where the encroaching entity backed off?

Right now we're doing some reading. If you're curious too, there are three places to start. And an excerpt of a couple of basic questions:

What is a trademark?

A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.

What is a service mark?

A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

Do I have to register my trademark?

No, but federal registration has several advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration

So rather than "to be or not," the question becomes "to register or not," which is really composed of "is it really worth $400 to possibly look like an asshat pissing in corners and overinflating your own sense of worth?" Updates to come.

Unrelated bonus joke on the title for all you yinzers out there:

Hamlet's soliloquy, translated for Pittsburghers:

"Or not."

Posted by binky at November 21, 2005 04:43 PM | TrackBack | Posted to SiteNotes

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