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Challis Hodge <[log in to unmask]>
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Challis Hodge <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Mar 1999 09:01:20 -0600
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At 07:06 PM 3/16/99 -0500, Jared M. Spool wrote:
>> You're absolutely correct. It doesn't exclude the public from using
>> the term. The public can use the term in one of two ways. Any way
>> that cannot be confused as similar to that of the service mark owner
>> or to talk about the service mark owner. In other words, we can not
>> use the term in our domain unless we are talking about the work of
>> the service mark owner.
>That's not true.
>You can use the term all you want.  If you are using to describe a
>service that could be confused with the service offered by the mark
>owner, then they have a prosecutorial right to ask you to cease and
>As far as expense, it is *very* expensive to protect a trademark
>(I've recently learned the hard way).  Unless your actions are
>putting the mark at serious risk, you probably won't get more than
>the cease and desist letter -- which is all the mark owner has to do
>to protect diligently.
>I've just been through all this on protecting a mark.  I don't think
>the community has much to worry about here, especially since I know
>all the parties involved.
>TSDesign doesn't want the phrase to come into common usage, but it
>may anyways.  If it does, they loose the mark.  If it doesn't, then
>who cares?
>As the police say in NY, "Move along, nothing to see here."

With all due respect, I have to disagree. Moving along means accepting that
the public will no longer have the right to use the term User Experience
Audit in a similar way to the trademark owner. It turns out the term seems
to be in common usage now as it shows up in Forrester reports, Microsoft
web sites, and several firms seem to be offering this service. In my
opinion this is a generic term that is in common usage and should not be
owned by any one person or firm.

Don Norman (I think) mentioned something about the ACM working on this
problem and purchasing certain words and phrases. One interesting solution,
that would be less costly for the ACM, is the monitoring of trademark
applications. Someone else mentioned that the applications often slip
through unnoticed and once they are approved they are next to impossible to
reverse. Catching the applications early in the process would allow the
public to contest unreasonable ones before they are approved.