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Re: [wg-b] US Statutorily Protected Marks

Harald Tveit Alvestrand wrote:

> Thank you - this makes the point that US statutorily protected marks do not
> necessarily meet the Paris/TRIPS criteria for "famous marks" more
> eloquently than any logical argument!
> "Smokey Bear" indeed!

Smokey Bear is one of the least problematical examples.

How about:
"Life Saving Service"? (highly generic)
"UD," "SSA" and "FFA" -- acronyms that could mean hundreds of things in other
parts of the (Roman alphabet-using) world?

Many of these statutorily protected marks are associated with US government
organizations and reflect a legitimate interest in squelching confusion or
deception related to the delivery of basic governmental services, such as Social
Security Administration or the Commodity Credit Corporation. But this kind of
protection cannot and should not be extended globally, because these marks lack
any special meaning outside one specific national jurisdiction.

The other issue that this list brings out is how such a process is bound to
become subject to political favoritism and/or political sacred cows, such as
veterans organizations that no politician in his right mind would challenge. How
famous, after all, is the Paralyzed Veterans of America or the Grand Army of the
Republic? I doubt that most Americans have heard of these organizations.

Special exclusions are a nuclear weapon when it comes to DNS. They are costly,
highly destructive and generate lots of fallout. Their use should be limited to
the narrowest range possible.

These lists of nationally famous marks tell us next to nothing about how to
handle the problem globally, especially when, as in the US case, the criteria
for generating them are entirely legislative and political rather than objective
or judicial.