Intellectual Property

Octobomb

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Octo-shirt

It seems insensitive – a cheap shot, really – to berate a single parent who 1) has oodles of children (2) is on welfare and (3) has serious mental issues to deal with. So, suffice it to say that someone in California has submitted paperwork to trademark the word "Octomom."

Like the owners of the phrase "Let's roll," said person wants to protect the name from those who have no business using it for their own financial benefit. Unlike the "Let's Roll" owners who eventually allowed the phrase to be hawked by Wal-Mart and Florida State University, however, said person has very explicit plans "to put the Octomom name on television shows, clothing and diapers."   

This development follows in the grand tradition of Pepsi attempting to trademark Uh-huh!; Donald Trump's claim that "You're Fired" is his IP; Paris Hilton's copyright fight for "That's Hot"; and meat magnate Mr. Ham attempting to trademark "High School Girls."

Reason.tv Editor Nick Gillespie and Contributor Charles Paul Freund discussed "Let's roll" here and here. Spend the rest of your day catching up on all the intellectual property news here.

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  1. From here on out, anyone else using the word “Octomom” is stealing. Period. End of story.

  2. If Reason owned ‘reason’, no one could use reason with out paying for the right to reason. This could mean an annual windfall of dozens of dollars.

  3. Octopussy?

  4. This development follows in the grand tradition of Pepsi attempting to trademark Uh-huh!; Donald Trump’s claim that “You’re Fired” is his IP; Paris Hilton’s copyright fight for “That’s Hot”; and meat magnate Mr. Ham attempting to trademark “High School Girls.”

    Let us not forget Pat Riley and threepeat.

  5. I must tell you I have reservations.

  6. Comedian Damon Wayans twice attempted to trademark a brand name called Nigga, “featuring clothing, books, music and general merchandise.

  7. Since property rights are pretty much bullshit nonsense apart from their utlitarian justifications, why not let someone have “rights” in such things? I mean, I can just say that the Dons right to own the phrase “you’re fired” is a natural right, a God given right, and other mystico-mumbo jumbo as easily as I can say that about physical property.

    I trademark blinking btw.

  8. does an octomom have eight nipples ?

  9. Let us not forget Pat Riley and threepeat.

    I almost had. Thanks for reminding me.

  10. does an octomom have eight nipples ?

    Only if she has eight tits.

  11. “Octobama” WOW!

    Now there’s a name with some deep possibilities about responsibility, intent, media coverage and fallout. I’m just trying to figure out what those are at this point and I’m coming up blank…. at least 8 times.

  12. I mean, he ” he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own” etc.,

  13. “Let us not forget Pat Riley and threepeat.”

    What do NBA coaches DO? Nothing from what I can tell by watching their games…

  14. It seems insensitive – a cheap shot, really – to berate a single parent who 1) has oodles of children (2) is on welfare and (3) has serious mental issues to deal with.

    As to (1) and (3), I agree. At the point where she reaches into my pocket to finance her litter, though, she becomes fair game for ridicule and abuse.

  15. J sub D – also, Fox news and “fair and balanced”

  16. Also: Realtor(tm)

  17. What do NBA coaches DO? Nothing from what I can tell by watching their games…

    They generally just yell at people and sweat in expensive suits during games. It’s the training and coordination they do during practice that separates the good ones from the bad.

  18. The state should take her litter of pups to the grocery store some nice spring day, and give them away to anyone who wants them.

  19. “does an octomom have eight nipples?”

    No, thirty (you do the math).

  20. Why didn’t they trademark “stupid cow” while they were at it?

  21. “Octobama” WOW!

    “THE” Octobama, plebian.

  22. J sub D beat me to it.

    MNG, you can’t be serious. Have you ever attended an NBA game and sat anywhere near the benches?

  23. A trademark is only protected with regard to specific goods and services actually used in commerce. If she trademarks “Octomom” it doesn’t stop anyone from using the term in its ordinary, popular sense.

    Case in point: “Apple” is Apple Computer’s trademark for computers and electronics, but we’re all free to use the word “apple.” We could even obtain trademark protection for “apple” on different types of products.

    Unfortunately, it’s fun and easy for journalists to run periodic stories in the “oh my God, they trademarked an every day word” vein without bothering to understand or explain what that really means.

  24. Epi-

    Maud Adams. Tell me she does not get you shaken and stirred.

  25. What do NBA coaches DO? Nothing from what I can tell by watching their games…

    When Chuck Daly was his coach, Dennis Rodman was not a distraction. NBA coaches manage personnel. They try to motivate spoiled people who will make millions whether the team wins or loses. They attempt, and sometimes succeed in defining and teaching the style a team plays.

    Being a baseball manager would be the easiest of the major sports head coaching positions.

  26. Epi-

    No.2 with #1 being For Your Eyes Only.

  27. “Maud Adams”

    Isn’t she the Bond girl who used to be a guy?

  28. Mark – Apple as a trademark for a corporation is actually owned by the Beatles. Apple the company got their permission to use it with the caveat that they never entered the music business. Once iTunes came into existence, to court and/ or arbitration they all went (except John, he’s dead).

  29. innominate – there is no such thing as a “trademark for a corporation.” Apple Corps holds U.S. Reg. No. 3,317,089 for “musical sound records” among other things. Apple, Inc. holds numerous other trademark registrations.

    Apple Corps and Apple, Inc. have been in and out of court for decades.

  30. I think the shirt would have been funnier if the stick figure had it’s legs spread, with 16 little arms clawing their way out…

  31. Mark – regardless of the lack of exacting correctness of my legal semantics, the bottom line is, you can use the word apple to refer to a fruit, but if you try to name your music company Apple, Sir Paul will be consulting his lawyers. Steve Jobs, probably not unless you name your computer company Apple.

  32. Talk radio hosts John and Ken on KFI in L.A. actually came up with “Octomom”. I wonder if they’ll sue? It will make for great ratings.

  33. To be precise, it should be octumom, as she had octuplets, not octoplets. As if it really matters.

  34. She has 14 kids. Shouldn’t she be called “tetradecamom”?

  35. I was going to predict that the usual suspects would show up to assert that using the word “Octomom,” or the phrases “you’re fired” or “let’s roll,” were “stealing”–end of discussion.

    But Voros beat me to it.

    Anyway, if you believe anything called “property” by the state is property because IT JUST IS, and that violating that property claim is “stealing,” then there’s no such thing as reductio ad absurdam.

    If the FBI starts showing warnings at the beginning of every TV show, against fast forwarding through the commercials, I fully expect that pack of idiots to get their panties in a wad over “stealing.”

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