Pub Def Fib
On the Pub Def website, Antonio French claims to have trademarked the phrase "Don't Hate the Players, Hate the Game," but according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, no trademarks are registered to Antonio French, Public Defender or Pub Def. The phrase "Don't hate the player [singular] hate the game" is actually trademarked by Benji J. Davis DBA Holy Kingdom Enterprises in Pittsburgh.
This concludes this edition of the blog fact checking report. The truth is out there.
by Brian Marston on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 10:25 AM
I see a "TM" sign behind the phrase on Pub Def, but I don't see any claim stating that the trademark is registered to Pub Def or Antonio French. Am I missing something?
[Posted by Michael
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 12:02 PM]
I thought I'd give everyone a head's up and let you know I am going to trademark "Shake it like a Poloroid Picture."
[Posted by Jeff
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 12:07 PM]
Michael, are you suggesting that Antonio is using the "TM" to indicate that he's knowingly using someone else's trademarked phrase as the tagline for his site? I suppose that's possible, since he's also using The St. Louis Argus' logo as a masthead on another one of his blogs. Either way, it seems deceptive/untrue to me, unless he actually has permission from Benji Davis to use the phrase. Sticking a "TM" after a site's tagline certainly seems to imply that the trademark is registered by the site's owner.
In related non-news, I hereby trademark all of the vowels. You owe me a quarter every time you use one.
[Posted by Brian Marston
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 12:24 PM]
Brian, your own persistent "hating" is matched only by your ignorance. Next time, just ask.
From the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: "Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO." (Source: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/doc/basic/register.htm)
In short, kiss my ass.
[Posted by Antonio French
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 12:49 PM]
I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that "Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game" is a registered trademark. According to the registration, it was first in use by Benji Davis in 1999. Unless Antonio was using the mark before 1999 (doubtful, since the pubdef.net domain name was registered on 10/30/03), Benji may be able to prevent Antonio from using the same trademark. I say "may" because Benji registered it to print on t-shirts, not a website. "The owner of a trademark has exclusive right to use it on the product it was intended to identify and often on related products" (http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Trademark). I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be OK for Antonio to use the tagline on Pub Def shirts he sells through his CafePress store.
Antonio, I asked about the status of the trademark two days ago in the comments on your blog (http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=25869995&postID=115872517083366273). You didn't answer.
I really admire what you're doing with local video on the web, and I respect your hustle in getting out there and covering stories. I could do without the gratuitous sniping at the ACC, though. That's what irritated me enough to bother looking into the trademark thing.
[Posted by Brian Marston
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 2:06 PM]
Yeah, TM can be used by anyone to protect a trademark regardless of whether you register or not. It's the little "R" in a circle that indicates a "registered" trademark. Of course, trademarks have to be either inherently unique or used so much to identify with your your company that they gain their uniquenenss. I don't know if DHTPHTG fits. Wasn't said by all kinds of MTV folks back in the 90's?
Interesting discussion though.
[Posted by cyr
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 3:02 PM]
As a library worker whose job involves fair use issues, I agree with cyr--the TM can be invoked without official registration, as can the copyright symbol. Generally speaking, anything you write is copyrighted to you even if you don't register for it. I'm no laywer and I'm not a degreed librarian, but I do know that.
Yeah someone else holds the TM on a similar phrase, but as you and others have aptly pointed out, it's a broadly-used phrase. Kids I knew in junior high went around saying it. And the holder of the trademark on the similar phrase is more than able to contact Antonio through the blog if he finds it and feels that it is an issue. If Antonio had ripped this from another political site or a local source, or was greatly profiting from it, it might be an issue worth mentioning. As it is....
[Posted by Claire
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 6:09 PM]
We all need to give credit for 'the slogan' where credit is due...my main man Stuart Scott, ESPN Sportscenter Anchor. Many moons ago is the first time I heard that beautiful phrase uttered by Mr. Scott. He is quite the philosopher.
[Posted by Bubba
on Fri., Sep 22, 2006 at 11:05 PM]
I actually hate the phrase, regardless of who uses it or who trademarked it. I hate many of the players in the game because they perpetuate the game itself.
Where is Thomas Crone to mediate?
[Posted by Urban Review
on Sat., Sep 23, 2006 at 8:42 AM]
==I hate many of the players in the game because they perpetuate the game itself.
Dude, think about ANY game; no matter what comprises the game. Doesn't any game require, uh, players to make the game occur? Ergo, hate the game, not the players.
[Posted by Bubba
on Sat., Sep 23, 2006 at 9:13 AM]