keekerdc.com

essays and pithy thoughts

Trademarks and you

in down is the new up, glhf

I have a great new idea for a company. See, I’ve discovered that iguanas really enjoy getting their bellies rubbed. Contrary to what happens sometimes when attempting the manuever with cats (the technical term for it is ‘love mauling’), it’s not a trap, they won’t claw your wrists off, provided you do it properly. I’ve found the right technique and I’m ready for investors to help me build a fleet of fully-automated iguana belly massaging machines. My company’s going to be called ‘Iguana Belly Massaging, LLC.’ Dig it?

Word. Aside from the underlying business being entirely bullshit, there’s nothing stopping me from going about making good on this plan. I just can’t ever refer to my business as ‘IBM’ when listing myself in directories or otherwise trying to publicize my business. That’s off limits. The reason, of course, is that this tiny company called International Business Machines has owned that trademark for quite some time in many locales. If I use that trademark to refer to my business instead of the one that owns the mark, that’s a basic case of trademark infringement.

This is a pretty boiled down example, but it generally holds water; I’m not really delving into the nuances of the topic because Harvard’s already done a pretty good job of it; read this if you’d like a further dissection on it.

Anyway, being a relatively big soccer fan, I had an additional point of view with which to view the North American Star League’s recent debut onto the gaming scene. There’s a certain Division II (provisional, but Div II nonetheless) soccer league that operates right here in the US of A called the North American Soccer League.

One of these above mentioned entities owns the trademark for ‘NASL.’ One doesn’t. I’ll give you one guess…

Look, the very simple process that it took to ferret out the complete ownership body behind the Singapore-based CPL seems downright mind-melting and expensive compared to the free search you can do through this website on any trademark held in the US. Check it out.

This doesn’t mean that the Star League necessarily must find a new name, but considering the similarities between the two entities that are using this mark (sports leagues), the case for infringement is arguably there. If they keep the name, they can’t ever refer to themselves as the NASL, as they’ve already done in many, many venues, including their own web assets.

For something that is so brazenly self-promotional as the NA Star League, this is the literal definition of bush league.

At least it’s provided some moments of humor, at the expense of some NA Soccer League tweeps: