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Re: OT-CHAT: Starship Enterprise

From: James Brooks <hirundo@tricon.net>

At 04:01 PM 1/9/99 -0500, you wrote:
>I am not a lawyer, I run a printing press. we make boxes for a lot of
>consumer products. Cereal. cake mixes. fast food items and assorted grocery
>items etc. Every brand name that has a little R with a circle around it.
>That means it is registered and no one else can use it for ANY commercial
>purpose. If it isn't on there we have to correct it before running the job.
>The word " Kleenex " its self  is registered.
>Michael D. Greenfield 
>redear@ infinet.com

As a journalist I am constantly being made aware of the battle owners of
registered trade names undertake to keep their name from being used in a
generic sense. The classic case is aspirin, which Bayer did not adequately
protect and now anyone can use it.
We constantly get news releases from company attorneys pointing out that
such terms as Frisbie, Xerox etc. are registered and are to be capitalized
when used in reportage. The AP style manual also has many entries pointing
out that Kleenex is a paper product made by (I think) Kimberly-Clark),
warning reporters to use tissue, facial tissue or some other generic word
rather than Kleenex, except when used in the proper sense.
Flowers have a long history of doing honor to individuals, including
celebrities (Eleanor Roosevelt), schools (Tennessee Vol) and the murkier
area of product (Silverado - another potential source to trouble to
Schreiner from GMC unless they asked permission). I have no idea what the
legal status of such use takes, because company lawyers make very good
6-figure incomes in protecting registrations. I remember a very good local
restaurant which closed its doors after 20 years or face a complete name
change, new signage etc under pressure from Holiday Inn attorneys.
Anyone thinking of naming an iris after a product or other registered
entity could avoid a lot of potential trouble by requesting permission,
including a photo, and pointing out that you are paying homage or honor or
recognition to the product in a positive sense. That should get a positive
response to be kept on file forever, and if it gets a snooty response, it
is a far, far better thing to change the proposed name at that point than
be served with a cease and desist order later. 
A small custom car maker in Bristol, Tenn., was hauled into Federal Court
after he made a fiberglass replica or finished car available for sale. He
made the replicas Ferraris used in the old tv serires Miami Vice, and hoped
to make some profit from the fact that the series appreciated this
particular model to over $1 million each in the collector's market. Ferrari
drove him into bankruptcy, literally planting a stake in his heart so he
would never be able to make another car, his molds and all shop tools were
confiscated. No mercy shown whatsoever, even though they no longer made
this model, and did not directly profit from price increases in the
seconadary collectors market. Their claim, upheld in federal court, was
that a car made to look like a Ferrari, even without pseudo emblems,
violated their Marque Registration. 
I strongly suspect that a company as large as Schreiners, which seems to
like this sort of tie-in, follows the path of obtaining proper permission.
It would be interesting if someone from Schreiners would join this thread.

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James Brooks
Jonesborough, TN
Persimmon Katz
 { o o }
 >  "  <  html wizard and frog stalker

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