The Strength of Weak Ties

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Corporations Behaving Badly...Again!

By way of Stephen Downes, it seems that Apple, yes Apple, has trademarked the word Pod. Here is a quote from the original article by Richard Waters at cited by Stephen:

Apple has laid legal claim to the word “Pod,” arguing that other companies that use the word as part of their product names risk infringing the trademark of its popular iPod music player.

So what exactly is a trademark? From the U.S. Patent Office.

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

Evidently copyrights, trademarks and patents are all slightly different, but what they all have in common is that they protect something that an individual or corporation believes is rightfully theirs. They prevent others from legally using what the trademarking entity believes to be theirs.

See where I'm going?

I'll be expecting to see posts condeming Apple for their greed in protecting something that they think is theirs. They aren't patenting it because the word POD is not an invention, so they are trademarking it because the name represents something important to their success as a business (actually, I wonder if they hold patents on iPod technology...hmmm) . That's just dead wrong-it should be available for anyone to use, right, at anytime and for any reason? It belongs to everyone, right? How dare they!

Hey, if you don't believe Blackboard can patent something, then its my suggestion that you also won't be happy with Apple and their current business practices.

Beyond Stephens original post, I bet I won't see anything....

...afterall, it's Apple.


  • At 8:28 PM , Anonymous dave cormier said...

    you're right. trademarks and patents are different. Only one of them is trying to restrict an idea. There are still only two parts of this Bb argument, no matter how much people try to obfuscate it.

    1. They didn't invent it.
    2. patenting ideas is very troublesome.

    The word 'pod' is not an idea. That, and apple is not looking to then patent all 'P' words...

    They still suck for trademarking pod. but there's a category difference between the two actions.

    For that matter, google sent a S&D to the washington times for using google as a verb. And we all chased tim o'reilly around the internet for the web 2.0 thing. i don't like any of it, and have written on trademarking (and service marking) before as have many, many of the 'other people'. The pod thing is part of a larger issue that none of us like, but it does not potentially threaten an entire industry.

    I'm not aware, furthermore, of a vast outcry to outlaw patents or trademarks in the blogosphere... It is possible to agree with one trademark and disagree with another. (or patent, which is, again VERY different.


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