Attorney Cheryl Hodgson has done several Art Licensing Info Ask Calls with our community and has agreed to do another on August 18, 2010. You can submit your question anything at www.AskCherylHodgson.com.
Trademarks have been a topic of conversation and will be well into the future, I’m sure. They are much more complicated than copyrighting your art and harder to police and enforce. Cheryl recently posted a great example on her blog and has given me permission to post part of it here too. There is a link at the end if you want to get the full story.
It is not unusual for companies with famous marks such as “eBay” or “McDonalds” to file trademark infringement suits against competitors, especially when trying to avoid confusion in the marketplace. But the number and nature of suits filed by Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor company, leaves the impression that it is an overprotective bully, without knowledge that “intel” is common shorthand for the word “intelligence.”
Since 2008, Intel has filed infringement and dilution suits against at least 20 other companies (mostly small ones) for using the word “intel” in names and domains, even when there is obviously no similarity in goods or services or any possibility of consumer confusion.
Examples of recent suits include Intel’s infringement case against a jeans company with “intel” in its name and a travel agency by the name of Intellife Travel. Trademarks only cover specific areas of business, and because Intel sells microprocessors, not clothes or travel services, both of these suits were filed without consideration of basic trademark interpretation.
Here’s to your creative and legally protected success!
– Tara Reed