17 Seconds #4

17 Seconds is an experimental newsletter. 17 Seconds gives you useful info quickly.

17 Seconds

A trademark is anything that a company uses to identify the source of its products/services in its marketplace. Words, logos, sounds, numbers, and colors can all be trademarks.

The USPTO determines the right to register a trademark.

Courts determine the right to use a trademark.

Both registration and use turn on the issue of likelihood of confusion. In order for there to be a likelihood of confusion between two trademarks, both the (a) trademarks and (b) the goods/services covered by the trademarks must be close enough.

Registration provides significant advantages (such as recovering social networking usernames) but does not allow the registrant to prevent all uses of the trademark in all markets and in all situations. For example, trademark registrants cannot prevent a third party from registering a domain name. But trademark bullies may try stuff like this.

Drawing That Explains ErikJHeels Blog

Technology, Law, Baseball, Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Why do I write about more than one thing? Because I think single-subject blogs are, for the most part, boring.

Do you like musicians who play only one note? Artists who use only one color? OK then.

So I drew the above drawing to explain this blog. I’m pretty sure that:

  • technology + law = patents
  • law + baseball = umps
  • baseball + music = organs
  • music + technology = MP3s

But I’ve not yet figured out the following:

  • A = music + technology + law
  • B = technology + law + baseball
  • C = law + baseball + music
  • D = baseball + music + technology

Let me know if you figure it out.

I do know this. As soon as I stopped caring what the “experts” said and started writing about whatever was on my mind, my blog started producing results. Your mileage may vary.


Erik J. Heels is a trademark and patent lawyer, Boston Red Sox fan, MIT engineer, and musician. He blogs about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll at ErikJHeels.com.