You are confusing "copyright" with "trademark". There is a big difference!
When a company does not vigorously defend a "trademark" and the term starts
becoming a generic term for a product then the "trademark" can be invalidated.
For example, the term "xerox" is often used to describe any copy of a
document. However, the Xerox Corporation does vigorously defend their
trademark to keep from losing it. It is the same thing with Motorola and
"Private Line" (their trademark for CTCSS) and "Handy Talkie, Handi Talki, HT,
and so forth. Although many amateur radio operators use these terms for any
portable radio or handheld radio, since Motorola has defended its "trademarks",
those terms are not in the "public domain". By the way, there is no "time
limit" on trademarks.
Back in the 1970s, when the Japanese first started exporting handheld radios to
the United States, several of those companies placed advertisements in the
various amateur radio magazines using the terms "handy talkie", "handi talki",
HT, and so forth. Just as soon as those magazines "hit the streets" Motorola's
legal department came down hard on the magazines and the Japanese companies for
using their "trademarks". The magazines refused to publish any more
advertisements with those terms and the Japanese manufacturers had to change
the advertisements to eliminate Motorola's "trademarks".
When I was in college (mid 1960s)in one business law class we had various
examples based on actual cases. One of these had to do with the Bell Telephone
System and their "Liberty Bell" trademark. One day one of the Bell executives
noticed a "pushcart" vendor in downtown Philadelphia with a "Liberty Bell" on
the side of his cart. Since the "Liberty Bell" was the trademark of the Bell
System the executive decided to make the "pushcart" vendor take the "Liberty
Bell" from the side of his cart.
The Bell System legal department first sent a letter to the vendor which he
ignored. Then they decided to take him to court. The vendor "showed up" with
a lawyer in tow and had made a counter-suit for several millions of dollars.
The Bell System lawyers presented, over a couple of days, their reasons why the
vendor's use of the "Liberty Bell" violated their trademark rights. When the
Bell System lawyers were through the vendor's lawyer walked up to the judge's
bench and handed him a piece paper.
The judge read the paper and then immediately ruled against the Bell System and
ruled in favor of the vendor's counter-suit.
The Bell System lawyers were absolutely surprised that the judge not only ruled
against them, but had ruled in favor of the vendor in just a few minutes. Then
the vendor's lawyer took the piece of paper over to the Bell System lawyers.
It was a document from the United States Government showing that the "pushcart"
vendor had "trademarked" the "Liberty Bell" in the late 1800s while the Bell
System had never even applied for that symbol as their trademark. The vendor
was perfectly happy for the Bell System to use "his" trademark but when the
company decided to make him stop using the trademark he became angry.
The result was the vendor was awarded a large sum of money and the Bell System
was given a certain length of time to remove the "Liberty Bell" from their
buildings, telephone booths, etc. The Bell System then went to the "stylized"
bell. There was no notation in the textbook about what happened to the
executive who had instigated the lawsuit. However, I suspect that his tenure
with the Bell System was ended in a very short period of time.
On Wed, 19 May 2010 03:45:11 +0000, Charles Harpole<email@example.com> wrote:
"Kleenix" was denied copyright with the argument that the word had entered the
language to such a thorough extent as to no longer just refer to one branded
"DeepFreeze" LOST their copyright to their name as it was in such common use
that it was considered "generic". That has always puzzled me that DOS was
copyrighted as it is by itself a generic term.
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