Colour trademarks

IPKat reports on a UK trademark decision involving the use of color as a mark: When a Single Colour is the Prior Mark

The IPKat brings news of an interesting Trade Mark Registry decision concerning an opposition based on a registration of a colour per se. Orange Personal Communications is the proprietor of two marks for the colour orange in the form of Pantone 151 and a colour sample, applied to the visible surface of packaging or promotional materials etc, where it is the predominant colour.

Senate votes against spam

NY Times: Antispam Bill Passes Senate by Voice Vote.
Via Prof. Lessig, CongressDaily reports that Senator Corzine (Dn-NJ) plans on holding up the pro-spam “anti-spam” bill to insist that the FTC at least study the viability of bounties as part of the solution to spam.
From the House side, Silicon Valley lawmakers think Spam bill is a turkey

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D.-CA) and Mike Honda (D.-CA) said they voted against the landmark anti-spam bill because the legislation is simply not tough enough and that consumers deserve better. Both said they support the stricter standards of their state’s recently passed anti-spam law, an opt-in measure that allows individual consumers to sue spammers.

Here, Congress gets to look good, by voting for a bill that is intended to stop spam, which no one likes. But, the bill is severely flawed and will likely be ineffective at best and will probably increase the amount of spam clogging inboxes around the US. (See CAN SPAM Act can’t stop spam

Coffee and Tea

Some countries have a coffee culture (like the US, with a Starbucks on every corner), while other countries have a tea culture, where it is the primary hot, caffeinated beverage. The US, along with Italy, France and Germany are examples of coffee countries. China, England, Japan and Russia are tea countries.
Why certain countries prefer one beverage over the other appears to be a function of trade routes, colonial exploits and geography. Tea spread out from China, which is the oldest and second-largest producer of tea in the world. India is the largest.
Coffee was first harvested in Africa and first roasted in the Middle East. Today, Brazil and Columbia are the largest coffee producers, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam and Mexico. The American preference for coffee is likely linked to the Monroe Doctrine and a preference for trade with countries in the western hemisphere.
Is there any correlation between cultural attitudes and whether a country is a coffee or tea country? Do coffee-drinking cultures tend to share certain traits and characteristics while tea-drinking cultures share others?

Cell phone problem survey has problems

Today, the City of New York released its Mobile Phone Deadspot Survey, based on the results of a self-selected sample of New Yorkers (including me) who complained about their mobile service on the website or to 311. The most problems were reported in midtown. 2003_11_deadcellzone.jpg
Unfortunately, these results are useless. The survey makes no distinction between the quality of service in each area and the nature or severity of the problems in each location. A more useful survey would not be that difficult to conduct: a couple of testers with one phone per carrier could walk each block and note the available signal strength for each service. Every so often, the testers would also check whether an outgoing call could be successfully completed. Of course, only Manhattan alone would be relatively quick to complete. Surveying the entire five boroughs would be a very long project, even by car.
(via Gothamist)

Posted in NYC.

Dewey Decimal Trademark Suit Settled

OCLC and The Library Hotel settle trademark complaint

Under the settlement terms, The Library Hotel will receive permission from OCLC to use the Dewey Decimal Classification® trademarks in its hotel and in its marketing materials, with an acknowledgment that OCLC is the owner of the Dewey® trademarks. The Library Hotel will make a financial donation to a non-profit organization that promotes reading by children.

Previously: File under trademark infringement


The major TV networks and Nielsen Media Research wonder why males, ages 18-35, watch less television. The study seeks to blame this decrease in viewing on the appeal of cable TV, video games and the internet (while not addressing the impact of books or this new-fangled thing called real life, which is like interactive 3-D TV.)
While I may not have the complete answer to that question, I, as a member of this group, can offer one piece of advice on how to avoid losing viewers (or me, at least): stop canceling the shows that I want to watch, such as Futurama, Firefly, Family Guy1 and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Oh, and show more Law and Order. I can never seem to find that playing.
UPDATE: NBC is set to address that problem: ‘Law and Order’ channel mulled.
1While at first, I thought Family Guy was merely a bad ripoff of the Simpsons, I’ve come to appreciate it in reruns. It is obviously heavily influenced by The Simpsons, but still unique. And funny.

Proprietary Database, Public Data and Copyright

In Assesment Technologies of WI, LLC v. WIREdata, Inc., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that one may copy and access a copyrighted database in order to extract non-copyrightable public information from that database. For a unanimous three judge panel, Judge Posner writes:

This case is about the attempt of a copyright owner to use copyright law to block access to data that not only are neither copyrightable nor copyrighted, but were not created or obtained by the copyright owner. The owner is trying to secrete the data in its copyrighted program– a program the existence of which reduced the likelihood that the data would be retained in a form in which they would have been readily accessible. It would be appalling if such an attempt could succeed.

(via How Appealing)
See also InfoToday discussing newsletter redistribution and databases: Intranet Publishers Beware!
Susan Crawford: Justly Irascible: A victory for rationality. And a warning to those who would use copyright claims to convert otherwise freely-available material into private property.
Elizabeth Rader: Judge Posner Chases A Wild Hare
How Appealing: 20 Questions for Judge Posner