Monday, February 26, 2018

Nearly Every English Word Is Trademarked; How Stuff Works, February 26, 2018

John Perritano, How Stuff Works; Nearly Every English Word Is Trademarked

"The two professors, Barton Beebe and Jeanne C. Fromer, looked at the 6.7 million trademark applications filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between 2003 and 2016. They then studied a database of the 100,000 most frequently used words in American English — the Corpus of Contemporary American English. They also reviewed a U.S. Census list of the 151,672 most frequently occurring surnames in the United States.

What they found will knock your socks off, which, by the way is also trademarked. "The data present compelling evidence of substantial word-mark depletion," they write in the Feb. 9, 2018 issue of the Harvard Law Review, "particularly with respect to the sets of potential marks that businesses prefer most: standard English words, short neologisms that are pronounceable by English speakers and common American surnames."...
The result of so many trademarks is that new businesses have to strain their noggins (yes, variations of "noggin" are already taken) to come up with monikers that aren't already claimed, or resort to what's called a "parallel registration." That's when two companies use the exact same name as long as it won't confuse consumers (for example, Delta Faucets and Delta Airlines)."

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