More "Trademark" issues

On Mon, 03 Oct 2005 13:07:34 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net> wrote:


Since the Internet is a 'modern' medium where's the problem?
Here's another.
"Here lies an Honest Lawyer, and that is Strange" Gravestone of Thomas Strange LLB, in the UK. Presumably a final comment by Mr. Strange on his peers.
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Jon Miller wrote:

The "them" I am referring to are the trademarks of the predecessor railroads.

Trademarks CAN be bought and sold.

Certainly a trademark isn't real estate, like a house or land is. I never claimed otherwise (nor have others), so I don't know how you made that jump in logic to equate trademark ownership with real estate ownership. But trademarks ARE property, and a person (or a corporation, in the case of the Union Pacific's trademarks) can own and license them to others.
If people don't like the Union Pacific's trademark policy because they feel that the trademark isn't owned by the U.P. anymore because of non-use, that's OK. Certainly myself (and others) don't feel that is the case, but there surely are grounds for others to make that claim.
Likewise, if people don't like the Union Pacific's trademark policy because they feel that it is bad for the model railroading community, again that's OK. Even though the legality may be in question (depending upon if you believe the U.P. owns the trademarks... see above), I'm sure people on the other side of that argument can at least see where that concept is coming from.
BUT... if you're going to say that trademarks can't be bought, and that the owner of a trademark has no rights (if no rights, what does ownership mean then?)... well then, you're just blowing smoke. Why even make such ridiculous claims?
___________ Mark Mathu Whitefish Bay, Wis.
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feel that the trademark isn't owned by the U.P. anymore because of non-use, that's OK.< The real arguments are here; 1) UP does own that newer shield or whatever trade mark. Most all will stipulate to that. 2) UP owns no others and in fact has been turned down (by the government) for most/all (previous roads) that they have tried to re-register. 3) UP ( and many other corporations) are simply using the concept (and this is what most people object to) "we have more money and more lawyers than you will ever have so we win!
And if there was any concept that is not in the spirit of the Constitution of the US it's number 3!
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Jon Miller wrote:

I agree with #1. Never had a problem with that. I agree with #2. They've gone to great lengths to wipe out the assimilated roads' identities. I most wholeheartedly agree with #3. It's the modern American way. It's never the principle of whether or not you're right or wrong, it comes down to which way will cost the least money, and it's sad that the bean counters control even the legal system.
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in article 9YA2f.1589$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com, Jay Cunnington at snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote on 10/10/05 2:22 PM:

It's not the bean counters who cause the problem,; they are merely pragmatists who point out the costs. It is the Trial Lawyers Association (largest contributors to the Democratic Party at last count, though the NEA may have surpassed them recently) that consistently lobbies against tort reform, including LOSER PAYS changes.
If a deep pocket sues you, and it is not an abuse of process (essentially impossible to prove), you must pay to defend yourself. Think $500 an hour and hundreds, maybe thousands of hours in an intellectual property case). If you think you are right and fight it to the end and WIN convincingly, you still lose: you can't sue the deep pocket for your legal fees. So, if half a million is chump change to UP, but it is a "bet the company" for Mom&Pop's Model Railroads, and there is no way to recover, your bean counters tell you to quit.
If we had a loser pays system, at least if you really really thought you were right, and you were, the other side would pay for your lawyers. I suspect we would then have contingency fees on the defense side of these kinds of cases for a change.
I don't know why the TLA is against this: it is sort of a full employment act for litigation defense lawyers who now mostly get paid by insurance companies in personal injury cases. That could be expanded to being paid by the losers in all kinds of cases where the defense was strong, but had no countersuit possibility.
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I don't know which track we've been down more often: The hot McDonalds coffee topic, or the reason for 4'-8 1/2" gauge. ____ Mark
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in article Y5I2f.116363$ snipped-for-privacy@tornado.rdc-kc.rr.com, Mark Mathu at snipped-for-privacy@mathu.com wrote on 10/10/05 10:30 PM:

Well many of us have layouts which go 'round and 'round, so we are used to it.
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says...

Copyrights, trademarks and patents have been considered property in the USA for over 200 years. I think that qualifies as traditional.
The government does not license for any of these. They are guaranteed by the US Constitution.
Patents are granted by the government. The patent holder licenses it to others.
Copyrights are inherent in a created work, and can be registered.
Tradements are registered but must have that registration approved by the government.
Patents and copyrights have time limits.
Trademarks can be renewed forever if they are in use.
Are you one of those people who thinks something only has value if it hurts when you drop it on your foot?
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Ken Rice -=:=- kennrice (AT) erols (DOT) com
http://users.erols.com/kennrice - Lego Compatible Flex Track,
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Please tell me where in the contitution it even mentions the words trademark, copyright and patents. I have done a quick text search and cannot find anything to back up your assertion.
I believe that these were enacted by law and were not even called property until this whole "Intelectual Property" thing started to be pushed.
I suppose you are one of those people who think that everything under the sun should be owned by some private individual.
Ken Harstine
[This followup was posted to rec.models.railroad and a copy was sent to the cited author.]

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Ken Harstine wrote:

It does not use those words per se.
Article I, Section 8 "The Congress shall have power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries; ..."
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In the case of the entertainment business this is now, 100 years? Not very limited in my view and I'm sure not what the founding fathers had in mind!
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Jon Miller wrote:

That's the Disney extension of copyright. Disney Corp must've helped someone get elected....
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in article AbE0f.2150$ snipped-for-privacy@news20.bellglobal.com, Wolf Kirchmeir at snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca wrote on 10/4/05 4:27 PM:

No, Disney was rightfully concerned that the copyrighted, trademarked, and service marked image of "mickey mouse" was about to be used to imitate genuine Disney products including the usual stuffed animals, but also animations, advertisements, etc., all leading to confusion in the market place: is this product "endorsed by Mickey Mouse" really from Disney, or someone else? Copyrighted symbols, etc. still in active use need some form of protection.
It is less clear that the "Happy Birthday" song needs the same protection.
Gibson just sued PRS Guitars over the PRS "Single Cut," a guitar which bares a superficial resemblance to the Les Paul design (but then, so does the Fender Telecaster, a prior product). PRS suspended all production, advertising, and asked dealers to return product while the suit was pending (the penalties for willful violation of copyright or patent are quite high). A wise judge finally tossed Gibson's suit pretty much based on a deposition from a Gibson employee that anyone mistaking the PRS Single Cut for a Les Paul was "an idiot." (By the way, the PRS Single cut is probably a superior product in many ways, and it is more expensive that most Les Paul guitars).
So, sometimes, the system works, but only the lawyers get any money.
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Edward A. Oates wrote:

Well, if Disney's success in marketing Micket Mouse leads to such confusion, too bad. You gotta play by the rules, even if the rules hurt you. Not that they would: no one could use Mickey Mosue as a trademark, for example, since is no limit on trademark or sevice mark protection so long as they actively used. Disney's trademark/service mark protection isn't the issue. No one would be allowed to package any protect to look like a Disney product. Besides, using MM for non-Disney-like purposes would not IMO be confusing. Oops, I forgot: American trademark lawyers routinely assume that the denizens of the USA to be utterly stupid and easily flummoxed by any con-man coming down the pike.
There is however a limit on the protection of _copyrighted works_, in this case the movies and books, etc etc. Under the old rules, Disney's early cartoons would have gone public domain a long time ago: Disney asked for and got an extension to 75 years, and only recently got that extended to 100 years. Public domain means anyone could've done anything they wanted with them. That's what Disney didn't want, so they lobbied for and got an extension of copyright (which AFAIK only applies in the USA, which ignores international copyright law as a matter of course anyhow.)
When the copyright on Disney's feature length cartoons finally does run out, there will be a nice question about whether the titles etc are covered as trademarka. AFAIK, titles are neither trademarks nor service marks. Disney's trademark, like any trademark, protects the packaging etc in which the product is sold, but they won't be able to stop people from selling the movies in other, non-Disney packaging. In fact, people will have to sell the movies without any reference to Disney at all, because "Disney" is trademarked. That would cost Disney a lot of free advertising....

It was in fact composed recently enough that it is still protected. It's one of those songs that people don't realise is recent (and copyrighted) until they check. "Fair use" means you can sing it if you want, just don't charge money for the privilege (???) of listening to you. :-)

Interesting case history. Copyright, trademark/service mark, etc law is made for the benefit of corporations, not for creators, and least of all for consumers. This is an evolution IMO not foreseen and definitely not intended by the framers of the US Constitution.
The US Constitution's reference to protection for writers and inventors IMO very clearly a) assumes that copyright is a matter of licensing by the State, not property as such; and b) limits protection (via licensing) to individuals. The theory is that by granting an exclusive license to benefit from an idea or concept, the State would provide an incentive to create and invent, which would improve the arts and technology. Of course an individual may contract with someone to produce the goods in question for a consideration, but copyright was clearly conceived as a licence, not as property.
But then the framers of the US Constitution didn't think that corporations were persons, either. This was so obvious to them, they didn't think it necessary to say so, which enabled later legal bright lights to argue that coporations were persons in law, one of the most pernicious legal concepts ever to be put into practice. But that's another issue.
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pernicious legal concepts ever to be put into practice.< Then you would think the Supreme Court (and it's newer?? strict interpretation [maybe]of the Constitution) will change some of these laws. No way<VBG> and it will probably make them worse. So in today's society what is strict interpretation vs legislating from the bench?
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Jon Miller wrote:

What's the difference? One mans; strict interpretation is another woman's legislation from the bench. We in Canada have the same dilemma, since we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is explicitly designed to judge the law made by the lawmakers.
I don't think the trend to, um, widen the interpretation of the US Constitution will change, in fact it's inevitable and necessary. The Founders could not foresee all that would change, and were wise enough to frame the Constitution in abstract enough terms that it can be adapted to the changing needs and values of the polity that it guides. The only question is which ideology informs that process. The selection of Supreme Court judges is now nakedly and unashamedly political - a few decades ago there was at least the pretense of non-partisan attitudes.
Not being a US citizen, I can only offer comments from the sidelines. I have read around US Constitutional issues from time to time, so I am probably somewhat better informed than the average US Citizen, who gleans his insights primarily from TV and radio talk shows. Or so I've been told.
That being said, the Declaration of Independence, and especially its Preamble, is still, in my estimation, one of the greatest documents of _liberal_ democracy ever written. It rests on the principle of responsible (not representative) democracy: that is the notion that the rulers are responsible to all the people, and do not merely represent the interests of the people who elected them; and further that the people have not only the right but the duty to remove rulers who have broken the implicit contract between them. The Constitution does not IMO reflect all the principles, express and implied, of the Declaration, more's the pity.
And that's enough political theory for today.
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[ Snip ]

That document is downright revolutionary! It's so depressing to read the Declaration, and to then look at what the current US government has become.
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On Wed, 05 Oct 2005 02:37:22 GMT, Edward A. Oates wrote:

Is this an example of what the "tort reform" lobby refer to as groundless lawsuits? <g>
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in article snipped-for-privacy@40tude.net, Steve Caple at snipped-for-privacy@commoncast.net wrote on 10/5/05 7:46 AM:

Maybe a ground loopy lawsuit...
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On Wed, 05 Oct 2005 17:37:54 GMT, Edward A. Oates wrote:

That's hard on the props.
Oops, forgot - they all fly Gulfstreams, now.
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