Re: A Different Trademark Question

Subject: Re: A Different Trademark Question
From: "Ridder, Fred" <F -dot- Ridder -at- DIALOGIC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 09:08:31 -0500

Marilyn,

Your posting raises a number of questions. Allow me to offer non-lawyer
answers to some of them and to address a couple of general issues along
the way.

First, there is no law that actually compels you to include *any* trademark
information in your documents, be they internal or external. By including
statements that identify your own trademarks in external documents, you
do help protect these as intellectual property of your company, but even in
external documents this is not specifically required by law. Including
acknowledgement of other companies' trademarks is mostly a matter of
courtesy (and a hope for reciprocal treatment); it is never actually
required.
The only time you can actually get in trouble for using someone else's
trademark in your publications is if you explicitly or implicitly indicate
that
the trademark belongs to you, and that's all that the disclaimer protects
against. Is it "necessary" to include trademark notices in your internal
publications? No, not really. Is it "proper"? Maybe, but the case would
be much stronger for external documents.

Second, as to copyright. My understanding is that copyright protection
exists as soon as a document is written, whether or not it is explicitly
claimed. I believe that including a claim statement when you publish
gives you some greater protection because you have notified the reader
that you claim the rights, but the basic rights exist nonetheless.

Finally, as to the approach my company takes. In internal documents,
we basically don't worry about trademarks. In the current template for
externally distributed technical publications we explicitly list the
trademarks we own that appear in the particular guide, include the
URL of our corporate website's trademark page for more complete
trademark information, and give a blanket acknowledgement that
all other trademarks are the property of their owners.

Fred Ridder (mailto:f -dot- ridder -at- dialogic -dot- com)
Senior Technical Writer
Dialogic Corporation, Parsippany, NJ

And to keep our marketing people happy:
Get the Dialogic Edge at: http://www.dialogic.com


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marilyn Baldwin (mlbb -at- capgroup -dot- com)
> [SMTP:Marilyn_Baldwin -at- CAPGROUP -dot- COM]
> Sent: Thursday, April 02, 1998 5:10 PM
> Subject: A Different Trademark Question
>
> Our tech comm team is currently looking at our few existing Word templates
> to see if they need revision so that they can be used more effectively in
> the future by the team and by contractors we sometimes bring in. Another
> tech writer and I are having a polite disagreement. We produce INTERNAL
> documents - e.g., release notes, user guides, operations manuals - for
> mostly IT and occasionally business customers. The other writer believes
> that it is necessary and proper to have the second page of all documents
> list any products mentioned in the document (e.g., "Click File/New in your
> Word document..."), along with trademark info - an example from one of
> this
> writer's recent documents, which used a template created several years ago
> by a long-term contract tech writer:
>
> Word is a registered trademark of Microsoft
> Excel is a registered trademark of Microsoft
> Lotus 1-2-3 is a registered trademark of IBM
> Visioneer/Paperport is a registered trademark of Visioneer
> Acrobat, Distiller, and Exchange are registered trademarks of Adobe
>
>
> Electronic Research Reports,
> Printed at 13:34 PM on April 2, 1998 (<= another bit of useless info;
> the last save date is ok)
>
> Copyright ? 1998 by The XXXXX Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
> This document was created by the <group name>.
> Any changes or revisions to this document should be directed to the
> <group name> at <location>.
>
> I think this whole page is overkill for an internal document. Even
> technical training providers don't include such information in their
> brochures to potential (external, of course) clients. They just claim to
> be the best training vendors for Word, WordPerfect, Excel, whatever - no
> trademarks, no trademark info.
>
> I think even the last paragraph is no longer applicable, since our
> procedure now is to turn over final documentation - and ownership of it -
> to the requestor. We may be called in again to make revisions, etc., but
> we feel it's important that the users/owners of the data should be
> accountable for it. That way, no matter who the current tech writers are
> -
> or whether a contract tech writer created a particular document - it lives
> on a server/drive/location that is meaningful to the user/owner. And I am
> not at all sure that saying a document is copyrighted makes it so (?).
>
> Anyhow, I'd like to hear what the rest of you (who write only for
> in-the-house customers) do about product names and information in your
> documentation. I am perfectly willing to admit that I'm off-base here,
> and
> to leave the template as is, if the majority of my peers see this
> differently than I do. Thanks in advance for your input!




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