Mother Jones Cites Compendium of “IP Overkill”
The current edition of Mother Jones magazine includes an alternately sad and hilarious list of tidbits and factoids about intellectual property. Depending on your legal or commercial leanings, one could view this list as an example of how well the proprietary IP system works, or how much it has failed.
Included on the list are:
- Last year Mister Softee spent $170,000 to track down and sue 45 competitors for copying its blue-and-white trucks and playing its copyrighted jingle.
- Ninety-one pending trademarks bear Donald Trump’s name, including “Donald J. Trump the Fragrance” and “Trump’s Golden Lager.” He failed to trademark the phrase “You’re fired.”
- Huey Newton’s widow is trademarking the phrase “Burn, Baby, Burn” for use as a BBQ sauce slogan.
- Martin Luther King Jr.’s estate charges academic authors $50 for each sentence of the “I Have a Dream” speech that they reprint.
Interestingly, the list omits actor Damon Wayans’ attempts to trademark a racial slur to use on clothing, books, and general merchandise.
Clara Jeffery. Intellectual Property Run Amok. Mother Jones. March/April 2006.
Rogers Cadenhead. Actor Tries to Trademark ‘N’ Word. Wired News. Feb. 23, 2006.
CopyCense™: K. Matthew Dames on the law, business, and technology of digital content. A business venture of Seso Digital LLC.