More "Trademark" issues



I hate to burst your bubble -- but that story is the one that Flexgauger referred to in his original message in this thread. That makes it very redundant, wouldn't you say?
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Flexgauger wrote:

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 any)?
-mark.
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in article 1nB0f.13824$ snipped-for-privacy@news.cpqcorp.net, Mark Sornson at snipped-for-privacy@zk3.dec.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.
--
Ed Oates
http://homepage.mac.com/edoates
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