Last week Games Workshop made a fuss about a book that had the nerve to use the phrase 'Space Marines' in its title. Thankfully Games Workshop, having found itself on the end of bullying instead of doling it out, has admitted that their trademark hasn't been infringed.
The book is now back on sale and, according to the various accounts flying around, has probably sold more copies than it ever would have. And good luck to the author, MCA Hogarth, who was the victim.
Now Facebook is being sued for the use of the 'Like' button. Apparently a Dutch programmer created an early social networking site called Surfbook in 2004 and he had a 'Like' button. Unfortunately Mr Van De Meer, the Dutch programmer, isn't with us any more, but he was smart enough to patent the 'Like' button before he died.
Now a patent holding company that is taking care of Mr Van De Meer's patents has noticed that the largest social media network in the world also uses a 'Like' button. It appears the Facebook have previously acknowledged Mr Van De Meer's patents by citing them in their own patents, so it seems that on one level the claim is justified, if a little late. I mean, even I noticed the 'Like' button. I'm a miserable sod, so my 'Like' button is covered in cobwebs, but never mind.
Perhaps more importantly, I've been aware of the word for some time. Since I was a child, if I recall correctly.
All of this legal action over words in normal usage is putting the arguments over rectangular shaped objects with rounded corners into a new light. Perhaps Apple haven't been acting trivially after all. Maybe they did invent the shape before Euclid, and even if they didn't, I bet he never had an axiom that included rounded corners.
So, if you can't beat them....
I'm going to trademark my book contents. Not just the titles, because that would be too limiting. And I'm not going to be silly and do it all in one go. From today, however, the sentence -
'Night falls swiftly and silently in the Kern County corner of the Mojave Desert, the sky shimmering a pale orange as the sun sets towards the Pacific Ocean, glowing faintly to the south from Los Angeles' light pollution, turning ink black to the east with only the faintest hint of Las Vegas burning like an ember in the distance.'
- is trademarked. Not just the sentence, which is pretty much a unique collection and arrangement of these words, but the individual words as well. I'm not going to be silly about this, or even unrealistic - I'm not going to insist that any books that contain some or all of the above trademarked words are withdrawn (unless they pay a license fee, of course). No, anyone who doesn't want to do that but would prefer to stay in print can do so for free, as long as they simply remove any and all of those words that from the opening sentence to Digital Life Form.
And once I've pulled in the inevitable royalty payments from those who still want to see their books in print and don't want to remove those fifty nine words (although, admittedly only forty eight are unique) then I'll pay to trademark the next sentence, and be warned, it's a doozy.
I'm not stopping there either. I'm trademarking my thoughts as well. And before someone tells me I can't, I thought I could and I'm sure I thought that first. So anyone thinking of, well, thinking had better dig deep because it's my idea. Sure it's been around for some time, but that doesn't seem to matter these days.
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