[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[wg-b] REPOST: Original never appeared

To: wg-b@dnso.org
cc: mpalage@infonetworks.com, "Hartman, Steve" <HartmanS@Nabisco.com>
Subject: Re: [wg-b] Position Papers 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Mon, 13 Dec 1999 10:54:57 EST."
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 09:33:52 -0800

On 13 December 1999, "Hartman, Steve" <HartmanS@Nabisco.com> wrote:
>The assertion that famous mark holders seek to remove words from the domain
>name dictionary is inflammatory and misleading. For one, there are different
>kinds of famous marks (as there are different kinds of marks generally).
>Some are fanciful, made-up terms, which never were never words in a
>language. I would like to believe, being trademark counsel for Nabisco, that
>Nabisco and Oreo are famous marks. Oreo is not and never was a dictionary
>word. The same is true for Coca-Cola, Exxon, and Kodak, arguably famous
>marks. Other possibly famous marks are proper names of one sort of another,
>but not dictionary words: Marlboro and Mars come to mind. The removal of  a
>term from the domain space does not necessarily mean the removal of a
>dictionary word from the domain name space. Removing a non-dictionary term
>from the domain space will generally not interfere with the communicative
>value of the Internet. There are infinitely many non-dictionary terms to
>chose from.
>More to the point is that domain names are more than addresses; they serve a
>communicative or advertising function and, to the extent they do,  are
>hybrids of addresses and trademarks. Trademark owners are concerned that
>their trademarks will be used in domain names in a misleading or deceptive
>manner. Famous mark are especially vulnerable to such abuse. Protecting
>famous marks from their misleading use as domain names protects the
>communicative value of the Internet, and therefore should be a goal not just
>for trademark holders, but for everyone interested in preserving the unique
>phenomenon the Internet is. To allow only the owner of trademark Exxon to
>own Exxon.[anything] probably makes sense.  The domain space is not being
>deprived of a dictionary word, so the communicative value of the Internet is
>preserved. Indeed, by eliminating those domain names (eg, Exxon.anything)
>that have the greatest potential for confusion and deception, the
>communicative value of the Internet is enhanced.
>In evaluating the various proposals we should focus on the proposals that
>promote the communicative value of the Internet.

Then what of parody, protest, and free speech?  Whence 
nabisco-labor-abuse.com?  Whither mars.com for, say, a company that
sells LEO travel, or plots of land on the Red Planet?  What becomes of

On the issue of famous names, there's a category of psychological
research (industrial/organizational psychology) that overlaps the
arena of famous marks, which I really should look up for details, as
it applies here.  It's the phenomenon (whose name I forget, hence my
need to look it up) in which a famous mark becomes so common that
its value is diluted simply via use.  E.g., "kleenex" is commonly used
to mean any facial tissue, and not just that particular brand.  Xerox
now commonly refers to any means of photocopying in normal usage, not
just products produced under than brand.  The famous mark, rather than
maintaining its exclusivity, becomes an overused generic term for 
any product in that category.

Those interested in further details, please ask...I've sent a request
to a former colleague of mine in .au who still works in the field, and
I'll pass along any information that's forthcoming.

However, with all the talk about the legal definition of a famous
mark v. how the average consumer actually views these marks, I think
it's important to consider hard data from a field that's been studying
this for many years.

Mark C. Langston
Systems Admin
San Jose, CA