On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 2:33 PM, Paul Kershaw <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> To formally trademark something, there's a lengthy and costly process, enough that a lot of the trademarks that companies claim aren't actually fully legally protected. When you see a (R) after a term, that means that someone has gone through the process and had it approved by the USPTO; when you see a TM, that means (or is supposed to mean) that the company feels it's a unique label, but for whatever reason doesn't want to go through the process (or has and the USPTO has turned them down).

To be clear, it is not an *approval* process but a *registration* process.

The main legal requirement to have a trademark is that you treat it as
one - i.e. using it in a brandy way, telling other people not to use
it, etc. The little ™ on everything isn't required but helps
demonstrate that you are treating it as a trademark.

> Theoretically, there's nothing preventing me from filing a trademark application on every single word in a conlang lexicon. I would succeed for every word that truly is original. I'm sure such an act would make some trademark lawyers very happy with healthy bank accounts for a long time, though. :)

And you'd have an extremely difficult time defending those trademarks;
they're a 'use it or lose it' sort of thing. :-P

PhD - There is *no* requirement for fees of any sort to have something
be a trademark; one needs only make the claim.

Major companies even will often not bother to register their
trademarks (and thus not pay anything), relying purely on usage.

FWIW, this part of things reminds me strongly of (hypothetical)
California common law name changes. (Hypothetical, in that post-9/11
paranoia means that the DMV, and thus banks &c, generally refuse to
acknowledge common-law name changes.)

- Sai