Web 2.0 Conference- What’s A Trade Mark Worth?

As some people may be aware, Tom Raftery (a good sort, from my small dealings with him) is part of a not-for-profit group called [email protected]

They’ve been arranging an “[email protected] Web 2.0 half-day conference“. Like Ronseal, this is planned to do exactly what it says on the tin. Yesterday they received a fax from Sandra L. Grayson, whose headed paper describes her as Senior Vice President General Counsel CMP United Business Media.

She must love it when people at parties ask what she does.

Anyway, the content of the letter may be boiled down to two relevant sections.

CMP has a pending application for registration of Web 2.0 as a service mark for arranging and conducting live events, namely trade shows, expositions, business conferences and educational conferences in various fields of computers and information technology.

and

CMP hereby demands that you immediatly cease and desist from utilizing Web 2.0 as the title of your event and from making any further use of your mark or any mark that is confusingly similar to it.

Were I in Tom’s shoes and I received this letter I would carry on with my plans as previously laid out, after responding with a polite letter asking

“What service mark, in what jurisdiction?”

UPDATE: Tom has now received a second letter from Ms. Grayson. Enclosed with this, though not published by Tom so curious uninvolved onlookers can’t peer at them in detail, according to the letter comes evidence of a “pending trademark application” in the European Union “for Web 2.0 for arranging and conducting live events, namely trade shows, expositions, business conferences and educational conferences in various fields of computers and information technology.”

Without seeing the papers enclosed with that, it would be impossible to make even an idle assessment of them. Still, in general terms I’d point out that an application for a trade mark, like an application for anything else, is not proof that you’ve been granted such protection.

Also, to be successful in any such application, you’d have to show that you are attempting to protect a use which is not common in the jurisdiction.

If memory serves, the state-backed Enterprise Ireland ran a Web 2.0 conference recently.

4 Comments

  • Tom Raftery says:

    What service mark, in wha… slow down, slow down, hold on a sec, spell juristikshun…

    Got it, nice one, thanks!

  • celtictigger says:

    Web2.0 has been a term in common usage for at least 3 years. Its origin is in the working papers for the W3C consortium’s work to agree new standards for a ‘second generation’ internet. It has also been used in relation to the work of Cisco and other hardware vendors to develop larger capacity switching technologies to deliver increased bandwidth capability to utilise new protocols in a Web2.0 standards stack.

    My response would be to tell the people to stick their claim on the intellectual property of the term web2.0.

    If memory serves me correctly, Microsoft representatives have used the term Web2.0 in the past as part of discussions on new technologies. Will CMP send Bill Gates a snotty letter too?

  • celtictigger says:

    I’d like to announce my intention to register the words Juice and Orange in any combination as service marks for use in the organisation of educational events, conferences and other non-specific gatherings.

    I’m also looking at the words ‘Up’ and ‘Piss’ as well as ‘Rugby’ and ‘Munster’.

    You have been warned.

  • EWI says:

    Will CMP send Bill Gates a snotty letter too?

    Hardly. Recent times have seen a rake of Microsoft-themed O’Reilly titles coming out.

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