Friday, February 22, 2008

EFF: Lawyer Trademarks "Cyberlaw" Threatens Legal Action

"I wish I could say I was surprised by this one, but such overreaching invocations of IP rights are all too common -- even where, as in this case, there are no actual "rights" to speak of. But an IP lawyer should know that courts...."

Yes the trend continues, some businesses want to own language and prevent others from speaking by misusing trademark law -- from freecycle to cyberlaw. See also: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.cyberlaw21feb21,0,1813223.story

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1 comment:

MoonShaddow said...

I left this comment regarding that article:

Nice article. I particularly like this part:
"Protecting that business is what was on his mind when he filed for trademark registration, he said."

"In the meantime, he has attached the symbol 'TM' to both his firm's name and his blog. It indicates that he treats them as trademarks, but does not specify official rights."

"'The notation scares away people who don't know any better.... It means nothing official,' said Ned T. Himmelrich, an attorney with Gordon Feinblatt LLC in Baltimore. Himmelrich had not heard about the cyberlaw flap."

This is the same M.O., same SNAFU, and same likely outcome as Deron Beal's megalomaniacal power grab when he tried to gag millions of ordinary people who were peacefully reducing waste output and greenhouse gas emissions...

Beal demanded everyone who used the term "freecycle" kowtow to his narrow set of rules as to who could use the word, how it may be used in a sentence, and where it must be used. He also demanded the "TM" be attached to the first place the word appeared in any context.

Beal enlisted Yahoo Groups' management, who apparently "don't know any better", to do his dirty work. At his bidding, Yahoo deleted several hundred Yahoo-based groups, which disconnected tens of thousands of recycling-friendly activists and set the freecycling movement back a few years.

Beal's minions continue to attack peaceful, well-meaning groups of freecyclers by falsely claiming trademark infringement and demanding that Yahoo delete the groups. This despite the fact that a court has ruled that Beal cannot claim trademark rights because the term was already in widespread use before he had the idea to hoard the term for his own use.

Another victory for free speech in the court system, which all too often allows people like Menhart and Beal to steal our free speech rights in order to maximize their personal gains.