IANAL, but I don't think all is doom and gloom, or at least not as
doomy and goomy as previous posts to this thread (Including one of
mine, if it is not read as tongue-in-cheek, as intended) portray.

Yes, if you have a trademark, you have to aggressively defend it or
risk losing it. No, completely barring others from using it is not the
only way to aggressively defend it. You can license it, subject to
some terms and conditions, and aggressively police the licensing

I know this because in a previous life I made modems. These modems
included many significant innovations, which were protected by

Now, modems are like dancing: it takes two to twango (GDI! I've got o
stop doing that! :-) ). And even though the company for which I worked
had at one time an ~85% market share of dial-up modems, there was
still that pesky ~15% from competitors that wanted to interoperate
with ours. To do that, they had to include our innovations, and the
companies that built them, our competitors, had to license the

Each innovation had a catchy, trade-marked brand name, and along with
licensing the innovations the other companies would license the brand
name for use in their labeling, promotion, and advertising. In fact,
the licensing terms and conditions *REQUIRED* them to do so, or risk
having the license terminated.

All fine and dandy, so far.

But it addition to the other modem manufacturers, ISPs that purchased
these modems, either from us or others, wanted to advertise that they
provided service that included these innovations. Unlike licensing the
technology, purchasing a product containing the technology did *NOT*
grant you license to use the technology's trademarked brand name in
your labeling, promotions, and advertising: they had to separately
license the trademarked brand name.

Now licensing is never free, it always involves compensation. (Why?
Don't ask me, IANAL) But the compensation is not necessarily monetary,
it may be a requirement to actually use the brand name to promote your
service, thereby promoting the technology. I.e., if you actually run
advertising (For your service) that includes the brand name upon which
your service is built, then you have promoted the brand name and
thereby compensated us for licensing the brand name to you; if you
don't advertise, then you haven't compensated us, and we pull the
license. All of this, of course, subject to terms and conditions
contained in the license agreement.

I know this is how it worked because periodically my engineering team
would gets updates from the legal department on new licensees (I.e.,
people we could and should talk to) and terminated licensees (I.e.,
people we couldn't and shouldn't talk to). I know for a fact that in
some cases licenses to use the trademarked brand names were terminated
because their service and/or advertising violated the terms and
conditions of the license (Most such cases involved providing or
promoting illegal activities; for example, child pornography).

How is all of this relevant to the case at hand?

Twitter could (And I sincerely hope they do.) license the use of their
trademarks to us, developers of products that interoperate with their
services, subject to terms and conditions, with the only compensation
being that ya have to actually use the trademarks to promote your
product and thereby their service. If ya actually use the trademarks
(And abide by the terms and conditions) your license stays in effect;
ya don't use the trademarks (Or you violate the terms and condition)
your license is terminated.

Again, IANAL, but I don't see any reason that the licensing of the
trademarks could not include their use in product and domain names.

And maybe the licensing process is as simple as signing up for an
OAuth consumer key, agreeing to the trademark licensing terms and
conditions as part of the OAuth sign-up.

Naw! That wouldn't work, it's too easy! :-)

Comments expected and welcome,

Jim Renkel

On Aug 13, 2:19 pm, JDG <ghil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> did you really expect them to allow something that clearly violated their
> TOS to use the Twitter name? There are plenty of apps out there that add
> Real Value(TM) to Twitter's community.
> On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 13:05, Dale Merritt <mogul...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > You're right, they could decide to grant you the right to use it.  Good
> > luck with that. Keep building up that brand then and cross your fingers.
> > Sounds like a sound assumption.
> > On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM, Nick Arnett <nick.arn...@gmail.com>wrote:
> >>  On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 9:20 AM, Dale Merritt <mogul...@gmail.com>wrote:
> >>> Don't waste your time.  If you have Twitter in your domain name, you
> >>> could be put out of business if you don't cease and desist. I've seen it
> >>> first hand.  They bury you in a law suit, wrong or right is not the point.
> >>> These companies have a huge lawyer group and bat you around for fun.
> >> This doesn't take into account the fact that Twitter is certainly able to
> >> grant permission to use its trademarks, just as, for example, Ford allows
> >> its dealers, parts suppliers and others to use "Ford" in their names and
> >> domain names.  Search "Ford parts" and you'll find plenty of examples.
> >> Twitter would be a bit nutty if it didn't allow some of its partners to
> >> use its name.  Seems like bad advice to tell people to stop all use.
> >> Nick
> > --
> > Dale Merritt
> > Fol.la MeDia, LLC
> --
> Internets. Serious business.

Reply via email to