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Subject:RE: Populated screenshots From:"Hager, Harry (US - East Brunswick)" <hhager -at- dc -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Wed, 4 Apr 2001 07:58:20 -0500
<Character names cannot be copyrighted under U.S. law. They can be
trademarked, but I am not presenting them in a manner that would be in any
sort of trademark violation. Naming your chips was a trademark issue
because you were marketing a product under the name.>
I guess I'll just have to go back and tell all those corporate lawyers
involved that Brian said it was a trademark issue and not a copyright issue
and therefore we were wrong to even worry about it. <g>
Okay. I misspoke. It's a trademark and not a copyright. If I had thought
about it more carefully, I would have used the right word. Sometimes my
fingers are faster than my brain.
My advice not to use those names is still correct.
As for the chips with the names of Big Bird, Ernie, et al, this was not a
marketing scheme. (When did I say it was a marketing scheme?) The chips in
the computer I was documenting were not being marketed by the trademarked
names. These chips were not CPU chips. (When did I say they were CPU chips?)
They were other types of integrated circuits in the computer. The only
people who would ever see these chip names would be people who read the
schematics or the other detailed hardware documentation. The average user or
buyer would never know these chip names existed in the computer. BTW, the
selling price of one of these computers was in the neighborhood of a million
So, even though very few people would ever know about the names of these
chips, even though the names were not being used as a marketing scheme, and
even though no one could possibly confuse some little integrated circuit
inside a big computer with Bert and Ernie (and thus no substantive trademark
infringement), it was still a legal morass.
Bryan, if you want to keep using trademarked names in your documentation, go
ahead. I don't care. Although I do wish that AMD will continue to be a
success. My next PC will probably have one of your Duron(TM) or ATHLON(TM)
I simply want to warn others not to do it. These are not trivial matters. It
never is when corporate lawyers get involved.
So readers, if you do this, if you use trademarked names in your
documentation you are risking potentially serious legal problems. Do it at
your own peril. If you do use these names, a lawyer may come knocking on
your door. If you use these names, you might get called into a very fancy
office of some head honcho of something or other in your company and see
some visitors with three-piece suits and very nice leather briefcases. If
that doesn't matter to you, or if that doesn't bother you, who am I to say
Obviously, I am not a lawyer, so please check with your local corporate
lawyer before following any of my advice.
H. Jim Hager
hhager -at- dc -dot- com
Pittsburgh Data Center
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