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Showing posts from February, 2007
Generic Names

Scott Allen posed a very interesting question in response to this post. Here's what Scott's wondering:

"How can you go about protesting a first use claim if you're not the one making the claim of prior use, but you simply have material knowledge of it (heck, so does Google) and don't want to see a generic word hijacked as a mark? Last August, it seems that Learn.com filed a trademark on the word "webinar" claiming first use in commerce June 6, 2000. Now I know for a fact that the word was used in commerce before that, because my company was using it, and we borrowed the term from WebEx. I did some searching on Google (webinar + 1999) and quickly found several more examples, including a couple from my employer at the time. I hate to see generic words hijacked like this (familiar with Entrepreneur Media?). What can be done about this?"

Great question, Scott. The USPTO is actually quite good at catching these marks at the gate. For instance,…