Re: Trademarks

Subject: Re: Trademarks
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 19:56:10 PST

Arlen P Walker writes:

>The "lawyer letter" is a "cease and desist" letter. It is true that this
>is as far as the practice usually goes. "They don't prosecute me, therefore
>it's OK for me to break the law," is a sentiment that I find rather
>surprising coming from you, Robert. You're usually more solidly connected
>to a right/wrong honor code than that.

You're leaping to conclusions. You have concluded that I believe
that lawyer-letters contain Truth About the Law. I believe no such
thing. I believe that they contain Thinly Veiled Threats.

I believe your conclusion about the law is correct, because my
dictionary refers to kleenex, coke, and xerox each as "a trademark for
a ____." Since usage is king to the people who put dictionaries
together, there must be a high level of threat aimed at them to cause
such blatantly inaccurate definitions (in terms of common usage)
in their dictionaries.

Personally, I also believe in common usage. I should be able to
speak colloqial English without being sued for it. When trademark
law extends outside a narrowly defined field covering the
"use of marks in trade," it has gone too far.

Considering any generic use of the word "kleenex" to be an illegal
act of trademark infringement is just as silly as considering any
utterance of the phrase, "Go ahead -- make my day" to be copyright

But be damned to the lawyers, it's my language, and they can't take
it away from me.

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon * High-Tech Technical Writing
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (503) 453-5841
"I regret that I have but one * for my country." -- Nathan Hale

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