Monday, March 29, 2004

Patently absurd?
So, the LA Times this morning has an editorial about Donald Trump's absurd attempt to trademark the expression "You're Fired!" Except the editorial is entitled "All Fired Up Over a Patent" and throughout the essay goes back and forth between referring to it as a patent filing and an unregistered trademark. The editorial itself isn't really about trademarking or patenting or anything having to do with intellectual property, but rather about the blurring between entertainment, publicity, and news. But still the total collapsing of the two terms, "patent" and "trademark" by them is a bit odd. And it's not just the LA Times who can't keep these things straight-- Donna at Copyfight pointed out that the New York Times made a similar mistake, referring to it as an attempt to copyright. Now, I'll be the first to admit that keeping these different forms of intellectual property straight can be confusing for us non-lawyers, but you'd think that such illustrious professional producers of IP could at least tell these apart in the broadest sense. In the LA Times case, I partially suspect that the motivation for calling it a patent is so they could include the goofy double use of patent in the final sentence of the editorial:

It was no gamble to predict that a pioneer of patent patent publicity ploys would be what's-his-name on that what's-it-called NBC show.

All Fired Up Over a Patent


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