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Trademark & copyright related to conlangs (was death of Dr. James Cooke Brown, inventor of Loglan)

From:Jeffrey Henning <jeffrey@...>
Date:Saturday, February 19, 2000, 14:55
bjm10@CORNELL.EDU comunu:

> Short phrases, names, and words are not covered by copyright law, never > have been, never shall be. I take it there were no actual intellectual > property lawyers working on this project.
But they are covered by trademark law. The Lojbanistis lucked out that the term "loglan" was seen applying to the category; even though the term was very generic, I could see it being a legitimate trademark if Brown had followed the right steps. Many trademarks are pretty close to generic: Windows for a GUI, WinSurvey and Survey Pro for a survey program. I once read that trademarks had five levels, where level 1 was in fact generic and level 5 was abstract (relating Apple to computers, for instance). Nintendo has trademarked all the words in their Pokemon naming language, being the names of the individual Pokemon monsters: Riachu, Picachu, Charmander, Charizard, etc. That provides a strong protection. But trademark law relates to categories. It would be totally possible to trademark all those names for names of beer, for instance, since that is a completely different category. For instance, my real job is writing SurveySolutions web-survey research software (probably a Level II trademark), for which we have a trademark; there's SurveySolutions software consulting service trademarked by another company, with the Trademark Office ruling those were two different categories; there's a SurveySolutions company specializing in land surveying. Or take Perseus, the name of our company; it's also the name of a publisher, a venture capitalist, an educational project (Greek literature), a bespoke consultancy in England, and more and more. So if you want to protect your word list, you would need to trademark and would need to relate it to a product. Each Pokemon monster is also a specific toy. I don't think you could trademark each Klingon word unless there were products associated with those words; the words are not themselves products. IANAL(AIAWS). Best regards, Jeffrey Henning - Invent Your Own Language "If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed.... Oh, wait, he does!"