What's the current status of UPs efforts to
what? -- license their logo, or stop model makers
from using it altogether?
How long have model train makers been using their logo
with impunity? If UP let it be used for free by
the model train makers for many years, has anyone
successfully argued that they've lost the right to
now claim trademark infringement against the model
train makers on a legal theory akin to adverse possession
law that grants 'regular tresspassers' a permanent right
to use private land because of continous 'notorious'
use that was uncontested for longer than whatever
the statute of limitations is? (Are there other
legal theories that might succeed?)
Or will the model train makers capitulate because
1) they don't have legal standing to continue to
use private railroad trademarked names or 2) they
don't want to lose whatever goodwill exists
between the model makers and railroads (if there is
in article 1nB0f.13824$ firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark Sornson at
email@example.com wrote on 10/4/05 1:12 PM:
It seems that this UP et al issue is brought up annually with the same
arguments: fallen flags trade and service marks have lapsed; older UP et al
marks are in the public domain due to long standing use without prosecution
or objection by the "owners," etc. No one argues that UP has no right to
protect their current marks.
The conclusion is the same: whatever the merits of UP's claims over fallen
flag and historic marks, the legal costs and possible penalty for willfully
using the marks exceeds the cost of just paying up and passing the cost
(about $5 per $100 retail price) onto the customer. So even those who
initially were going to the mat for this (Athearn to name one) capitulated.
The Horizon acquisition probably had something to do with that decision.
So all we can realistically argue about is UP's wisdom in pursuing this
small revenue source. It may make me feel animosity towards UP as a company,
but I have no way to apply pressure: I don't ship anything of any size. And
industry as a whole who might affect UP's decisions don't care, either.
Intellectual property law is a mess right now, in my opinion. Ridiculous
things get patented (see MTH speed in miles per hour patents and disputes
with Quantum and BLI in the archives), overbroad patents are granted (like
the one to a Mr. Hiatt who patented the "microprocessor" and tried to get
millions from Intel...he eventually lost, but some lawyers made a lot of
money); like music which is still under license and copyright decades after
the composer's death (Duke Ellington songs must still be licensed for use),
plays based on classics still requiring licenses for schools (Treasure
Island, written for the stage in 1904 and based on R. L. Stephenson's book
is still under license by the French company); and the list goes on.
I understand the anti-fraud need to protect service and trademarks still in
use identifying a business (Mickey Mouse comes to mind) and there is a need
to do that, but no one confuses Southern Pacific with UP any more.
And don't get me started on the Millennium Copyright stuff: makes what was
formerly "fair use" (making my own backups, for example) illegal, along with
the prior restraint on free speech by making it illegal to publish a program
on the internet do decrypt files.
I guess it is the usual answer: write your congressional representatives.
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