Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chilling Effects Commentary


"Americas News Intel Publishing hired a lawyer, who sent the following response, also published on their home page. We think it's worth quoting at length:

More importantly, the word 'intel' as used in the intelligence and information services sectors may not be trademarked. The word intel is an abbreviation for intelligence in the English language, and can be found in dictionaries of record such as the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. And the use of the word intel as an abbreviation for intelligence is common in public discourse. . . . No sum of money spent to secure the public identification of the word 'intel' with products produced by Intel Corporation can withdraw the word, as it is used in standard English, from the public domain.

The argument made there, that words used descriptively or generically to describe a product may not be trademarked in that product's sector, is a valid one. For instance, if I owned some kind of "apple" trademark, I couldn't keep sellers of that round red or green fruit from using the word "apple"—or consumers really would get confused!"