Re: Coercion = Intellectual Property Rights?

Charlie Stross (
Tue, 22 Dec 1998 15:24:46 +0000

On Mon, Dec 21, 1998 at 10:51:32AM -0500, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> Under GATT, the issue should simply evolve around the first registered use
> date in either country, and that regional or local users should defer to
> those with broader presence. If the scottish McDonalds had a previous
> registered date, while the Americans have broader presence, then there is
> definitely a sticky wicket there.

Clan McDonald have been around in Scotland for, oh, only a few hundred years longer than the fried rat company.

Indeed, trademarking "McDonald's" is a bit like trademarking "Smith" or "Clinton" or "Jones". I'd think that this sort of thing simply shouldn't be allowed -- if you want a trademark, you should damned well pick a name that isn't already in use.

> Yes, xerographic is a common usage term that includes the trademarked name. A
> hoover is more commonly used these days to describe a girls abilities...
> There is also Q-tip, while 'windows' are used by many graphical user
> interfaces...

But the term "window" in the context of GUIs pre-dates Microsoft -- you have to go back to Xerox PARC, or even earlier, to Ivan Sutherland's work in the sixties.

US trademark law seems to be somewhat fucked-up, if you ask me.