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VirtualDub Author Stymied by Trademark Troll

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the did-he-also-register-'lynch-mob'? dept.

102

trifish writes "The author of VirtualDub wrote on his blog that 'someone has registered "VirtualDub" as a "word mark" in Germany as of June 6, 2006 and is now sending out notices to people in that country demanding money for so much as mentioning the program and linking to the SourceForge download from their website.' Well, I confess that only now I fully understand why Linux, Mozilla, TrueCrypt, and other open source projects register their names as trademarks."

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mod him down! (5, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927192)

It'll never be too soon to apply the slashdot moderation system to the patent system and everything else.

mod him down!-misanthrope (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927343)

"It'll never be too soon to apply the slashdot moderation system to the patent system and everything else."

Yeah! Look at how well that works.

Re:mod him down! (4, Funny)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927495)

Normal -- Average invention, will sit and gather dust somewhere
Offtopic -- Invention won't do what it claims
Flamebait -- Violates known laws of physics
Troll -- Attempt to steal another person's invention
Redundant -- Has been "invented" before. Multiple times.
Insightful -- What a cool invention! Also known as troll attractant.
Interesting -- Not sure what it's used for, but fun to watch
Informative -- Will be referred to in future inventions
Funny -- It blows up when someone uses it
Overrated -- Does something redundant, but with just one click!
Underrated -- No one knows what it does, but it will form a completely new industry

Does that mean ... (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927602)

...MS Products are usually somewhere between Offtopic and Funny?

Hmm... kinda correct, if you think about it...

Re:mod him down! (2, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927605)

Flamebait -- Violates known laws of physics

Hey, when inventions can actually do that, then we have a good deal to talk about. You're confusing it with inventions that claim to violate these laws.

//Lisa, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Re:mod him down! (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928146)

At the same time we frequently see comments modded as flamebait when they're actually insightful, interesting, or informative but differ from the popular opinion.

Re:mod him down! (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943532)

This is why I think we need a "I don't necessarily agree with a what you said, but your points were well made" moderation... I don't know how well that would fit in the little box though ;)

Re:mod him down! (3, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943794)

I regularly positively moderate people even when I don't agree with what they've said. I'm operating on the meaning of the moderation words themselves rather than whether or not I philosophically agree. Most mods, however, seem to see the moderation system as a way to promote personal agendas which is IMHO an abuse of the moderation system. So I think what you're saying is a good idea, because it might cause more people to be modded up even if their view differs from the community.

The unfortunate side effect of me using the moderation system as I believe it was intended to be used (rather than the way it's actually used by most of the mods) is that I get periodic unfair moderation metamoderations, which comes with a karma hit =(. This actually disencourages me from moderating, which is unfortunate since I try very hard to be an impartial mod and consider whether their post has validity, not whether I agree with it. I'm not willing to karma whore to make up for lost moderation karma, so in this sense the system favors the abusers.

Re:mod him down! (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 7 years ago | (#15992314)

The unfortunate side effect of me using the moderation system as I believe it was intended to be used (rather than the way it's actually used by most of the mods) is that I get periodic unfair moderation metamoderations, which comes with a karma hit =(. This actually disencourages me from moderating
It's good that you moderate that way, but why do you care so much about the karma? If you're still getting asked to moderate it's not that bad...

Re:mod him down! (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15992882)

Enough bad karma and my comments drop off most people's threshold, I lose mod privileges, I lose metamod privileges, and I'm guessing I lose access to the various beta features that have been enabled for me. Basically I care about karma for the various reasons that karma exists (and not for the more popular reason of bragging rights). There are definitely moderations that I elect not to perform because even though I feel its a fair moderation, moderating in good faith can be punnished. Also, I believe you can lose moderation privileges even with relatively good karma, if your moderations exceed a certain percentage of unfair meta-moderation.

I recognize that meta moderation is an attempt to curb the bad moderators out there, and I recognize that for this reason its really necessary, but like all community based moderation systems, both meta moderation and regular moderation primarily function as a means to draw the most commonly held beliefs of the community to the surface, while burrying less common beliefs.

Re:mod him down! (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 7 years ago | (#15992959)

Also, I believe you can lose moderation privileges even with relatively good karma, if your moderations exceed a certain percentage of unfair meta-moderation.
Right. You'll stop being asked to moderate well before you lose enough karma to affect your posting bonus, so why should negative karma from m2 reduce your desire to moderate? Wouldn't it be better to continue to moderate normally until you stop getting mod points?
like all community based moderation systems, both meta moderation and regular moderation primarily function as a means to draw the most commonly held beliefs of the community to the surface, while burrying less common beliefs.
Of course. All communities tend towards "thinking alike". They wouldn't stay together as communities if it were otherwise. I don't think the "group think" that people occasionally complain about is really that bad here, and certainly a wide range of opinions are moderated up, even within contentious topics.

Re:mod him down! (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15993233)

You're right, I guess Karma isn't what I really care about, what I care about is losing the privileges that I currently have. So I try to walk the line of moderating as fairly as I can without going to the point where some metamod will think I moderated unfairly, just because they disagreed with the perspective of the poster that I positively moderated.

You're right, group think isn't as bad here as elsewhere on the net, but it's not nearly as good as you'd find in some other communities. It's a fundamental flaw in allowing communities to police themselves, you can mitigate it to a certain extent, but you cannot eliminate it. For example, look at some of the people who try to defend a religious or non-evolutionary perspective. Or try to defend laws restricting minor (as in children) access to anything, no matter how psychologically, emotionally, or sometimes even physically damaging.

I try to pull the group thinking to be more centered, as much as I can within the limits the system imposes, and without risking losing or at least hurting my ability to do this.

At the moment, I'm 86% unfair meta-moderated, so I am feeling like I need to be a bit more cautious, I'm not sure at what threshold I'll lose mod rights. I firmly believe every one of my moderations has been fair, and am certain I could make a compelling case as such to any who would challenge me in a way where I could defend it.

Re:mod him down! (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 7 years ago | (#15994191)

At the moment, I'm 86% unfair meta-moderated, so I am feeling like I need to be a bit more cautious, I'm not sure at what threshold I'll lose mod rights.
Ah, that's a slightly higher percentage than I had anticipated. According to the FAQ, you only need "positive" karma so I think you'll be ok, but you're probably right about being cautious.

Re:mod him down! (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928771)

Ahh... but you see, this is for moderating 'patents', not actual working inventions. So a patent can actually violate a law of physics without much discussion being in order.

Re:mod him down! (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943506)

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?u=%2Fnet ahtml%2Fsrchnum.htm&Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&r= 1&l=50&f=G&d=PALL&s1=6960975.PN.&OS=PN/6960975&RS= PN/6960975 [uspto.gov]

Personaly I think the patent office can be completely circumvented if you just make your application long enough and with enough sufficiently technical terms, sort of like a high school teacher that gives the dry 12 page report an A after glossing over the first page and deeming it of sufficiently impressive bulk.

Re:mod him down! (2, Funny)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15953278)

Shhh!! That's how most of us got through high school and college...

Who? (4, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927220)

So who is it that has registered this "word mark" anyhow? The blog itself is pretty short on details, as it appears those that link to or use virtualdub have been getting the letters, and not the author himself.

Also, one wonders if there is some legal way to charge and/or get money back from somebody who is illegally using the name of your product to extort money.

Re:Who? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927524)

According to german internet news site "golem.de" [golem.de] , it is "Internet Dienstleistungen Kliemen" [google.com] . The page is offline now (it was hosted by arcor.de and had freecity.de redirect ads in a frame, so I guess it was free hosting). The redirect page listed Michael Kliemen (webmaster@kliemen.de) as the author. The onsite contact information was: Internet Dienstleistungen Raimar Kliemen, Hauptstr. 99, 67126 Hochdorf, mail: info@kliemen.de, phone: 0151/10372291 (that's +49-151-10372291 internationally).

Let's Just Be AFRAID (1)

resistant (221968) | more than 7 years ago | (#15934812)

It's time to unleash AFRAID! (Anti-Fraudster Raider Agents, International Division).

They'll descend from helicopters, hook up to fire hydrants with reservoir-equipped hoses, then blast powerful streams of water and detergent to wash out the mouths, indeed the whole bodies, of these scuttling roaches.

Whoa....I just heard of this new technology .... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927221)

NEW TECHNOLOGY TURNS weenersecks INTO Babies....

FILIM @ 11!!!!

Re:Whoa....I just heard of this new technology ... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15935372)

Sorry, Mother Nature already owns the trademark and does a better job than Joe Blow with an inflatable doll.

I'm not one for vigilante justice (0)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927239)

...but I say break out the torches and pitchforks.

Re:I'm not one for vigilante justice (3, Funny)

dorkygeek (898295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927936)

So this IS South Korea?

Jawohl! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927253)

I'm going to start using the word "VirtualDub" as often as I can, on German websites and non-German. Let's see if this con artist is as good at suing a foreign national as s/he is at stealing from one.

Re:Jawohl! (4, Informative)

DoktorTomoe (643004) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927421)

You are free to do so. With the twisted German jurisdiction, not you are to be held responsible, but the owner of the webpage you have been mentioning V********b, as he should/ought/could have prevented the mentioning on his page.

There actually *is* a reason why Germans are required to have a imprint on their pages (Don't believe me? Look for "6 Teledienstgesetz").

Re:Jawohl! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15928038)

Yeah but most websites will just tell the german courts to go fuck themselves.
and that would be the end of it...
its not as if its a billion dollar company.

and I hope that is exactly what the creator of virtual dub does to this asshole.

virtualdub...send me a notice, it will be funny to post on my wall..

Re:Jawohl! (1)

DoktorTomoe (643004) | more than 7 years ago | (#15936106)

International Websites, yes. But international websites are not affected. Remember that Germany is the second-largest chunk of the net after the VSA. German websites, however are at risk (I am managing a freeware download archive myself and got one of this guys lawyers letters concerning virtualdub).

Of course, I could tell that guy to screw himself, but I would risk being dragged before a court, and I'd be at risk to loose. A German proverb goes like "being on high see and being before a court means to be a pawn in Fate's game". Funny German Internet-related judge-words are "Only public traded companies (= AktienGesellschaften) may have a .ag domain" and related ridiculous stuff. No idea how the chances of invalidating that trademark are.

As this'd mean serious financial damage (we speak about up to a six-figure Euro charge) and I have a wife and little daughter to support, I decided to back off and remove any mentioning of VirtualDub from my page until another brave soul has tested that trademark successfully. I also decided to ignore the invoice that was attached and forward the letter to one of my lawyers.

Re:Jawohl! (5, Funny)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927712)

"I'm going to start using the word "VirtualDub" as often as I can"

Be sure to use it as a verb, that really pisses off trademark holders.

IANAL, so how do I know? I googled it and sure enough, trademark owners hate that.
Google it yourself and see.

Google THIS (4, Funny)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927805)

That's good fun, but you should try Googling "Google". When you Google "Google", all the Googles you get back aren't googles but GOOGLES! What's more, I suspect that if Google Googled Google, there'd be a GAGGLE of Googles Googled (and what's more Google than Google Google Google? Google? google...)

Re:Google THIS (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927995)

"I suspect that if Google Googled Google, there'd be a GAGGLE of Googles Googled"

Maybe even a googol [wikipedia.org] of them

Re:Google THIS (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15931691)

What's even funnier is that in Michio Kaku's latest book "Parallel Worlds" (and as a bigshot physicist, he _should_ know better... although maybe it was an editor's mistake), he referred to the number 10^100 as a "google".

Of course, there was another serious typo in the book (a logarithmic time-line that should have been in seconds, but was labelled in years. Great book nonetheless.

Re:Google THIS (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#15949253)

I think you photoshopped that.

Re:Google THIS (1)

psiphiorg (566033) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929132)

Great googly moogly!

davidh

Well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15929832)

Hmmm.

Goggle!

Re:Google THIS (1)

jwdb (526327) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933073)

What the smurf did all that mean?

Re:Google THIS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15934184)

*giggle*

Quit it! (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#15936241)

Be sure to use it as a verb, that really pisses off trademark holders.

Verbing weirds language.

Virtuadub (3, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927254)

Yeah, sue me. Oh, only in Germany though. Bigtime. Today Germany, tomorrow.....Belgium!

Re:Virtuadub (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927408)

...but you didn't violate his wordmark. Virtuadub sounds like a cheap rip-off of Virtualdub.

Re:Virtuadub (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928009)

Nah.. Sounds like what you'd use to put movies together on a sega saturn.

Re:Virtuadub (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928317)

> .but you didn't violate his wordmark.

In the UK I don't think that's possible, what with there being no such legal object.

hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927295)

He may have a tm, but copyright would be the author of the sourceforge project... Since he's applied a tm, he could probably be sued for copyright infringement?

Re:he could probably be sued for copyright infring (1)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944212)

No. But someone could sue vs the trademark and patent office and claim that the registrant of the word mark acted "in bad faith" ("bösgläubig") that is, claimed a word mark for which he had no own use, i. e. he registered it only to blackmail the distributor(s) of a popular program. Chances are good to win IMHO IANAL, since VirtualDub(intl.) has a German localization.

correction 1 (2, Informative)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 7 years ago | (#15944270)

The registrant would need to be sued, not the the trademark and patent office.
Example: http://lexetius.com/2002,3142 [lexetius.com]

Microsoft trolled VirtualDub as well... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927307)

... a while back. They strongarmed the developer(s?) to remove WMV compatibility. And now some Trademark Troll is busting their chops? Can't my favorite movie editing software catch a break?

Re:Microsoft trolled VirtualDub as well... (1)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927718)

Not until they pay all of the extortionists. Then they get 2 breaks (15 minutes each) and the fresh round of extortions start up.

Re:Microsoft trolled VirtualDub as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15929334)

Trademark law and patent law are two entirely different parts of intellectual property.

Re:Microsoft trolled VirtualDub as well... (1)

Carlio (978278) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929698)

They're two different parts of a non-existent legal concept? That is *fascinating*....

Illegal Patent Trolls? (3, Informative)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927332)

Wasn't there just a big issue with people suing for copyright/trademark infringement when they only own the IP to do so? I was pretty sure that some kind of law was recently passed because of the new fad of beating companies to trademarks and then taking all their money.

Re:Illegal Patent Trolls? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15928272)

You really don't know what you're talking about. At all. Please stop posting.

Re:Illegal Patent Trolls? (1)

jonskerr (217459) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929630)

Asking a question isn't the same thing as spouting off and pontificating, which is what you're doing. Shut the fuck up and let the person ask a question. Or if you were trying to be funny, use a little smiley or something.

I thought Europe had better protections (1)

Geccie (730389) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927341)

I've often read that European laws offer their citizens greater protection than the US. My thinking is that if you could show any form of malice or harmful intent from the name squatter that that person could be held for a criminal act.

Is there any recourse against this marmot!

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927389)

Yeah - let it unfold as normal. Considering the prior art involved, this guy can sue as many people as he wants - until the courts throw out his garbage. Unlike in America, most European courts do allow legal damages to be awarded if the plaintiff loses, so this will just work itself out. Can I get a confirmation from our /. German-law-knowing guys on this?

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

jasen666 (88727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929769)

Compensation of legal fees is allowed in America as well, it's just not as common.

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927532)

Even in Europe, there are sleezy lawyers. Most people are just insecure about the legal state of IP, TM, ... Hence, they often choose to pay (if the price is moderate) just to stop being hassled. I guess that is the consequence of having such complicated laws!

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (3, Interesting)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927538)

...I've often read that European laws offer their citizens greater protection than the US...
When you compare two countries laws, there are always instances where country A is better than country B. And other instances where the opposite is true. For example, see the many European criticisms of the Patriot Act. One the other hand, I note the recent foiled plot in England, the British police used powers that are likely unconstitutional in the US [allheadlinenews.com] . It is not hard to find similar examples. Look at the recent slashdot discussion on evolution [slashdot.org] . Many people pinged on US atitutdes, ignoring surveys in Europe showing similar atitudes [bbc.co.uk] My point being, neither Europe or the US has a monopoly on good laws or atitudes.

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928962)

Well, the thing is that whenever someone from the other side of the pond starts comparing the US with Europe they have a tendency to cherry-pick countries. If you're making comparisons don't pick the country that much of the rest of Europe considers as bad as the US.

Why not instead pick Norway as an example, just because I'm familiar with it. Probably has one of the most modern data protection laws around. http://www.jus.uio.no/iri/forskning/lib/papers/dp_ norway/dp_norway.html [jus.uio.no] Neither was the iTunes thing really unusual.

Europe is not a single country, not even a federation.

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929382)

Your example on data protection has merit. I would agree that EU laws on data protection are generally better than in the US. On the other hand, many liberals state that the Scandanavian countries have a fairer economic system. One in which it is better to be poor. However, according to this Swedish study [timbro.com]

Poverty is a highly relative concept. As we saw in the preceding section, for example, 40 per cent of all Swedish households would rank among low-income households in the USA, and an even greater number in the poorer European countries would be classed as low income earnings by the American definition
As you note, you can cherry pick arguments to make any country look good or bad... :-)

FYI, I know Sweden and Norway are different (1)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929470)

FYI, I realize Sweden and Norway are different countries.

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929028)

While I agree with the gist of your argument, the website you linked about the "British police used powers that are likely unconstitutional in the US" is so vague that it is useless.
And as every sword has two edge, I would advise watching the movie "In the Name of the Father" which is inspired by a real case where British police abused its power.
As always who guards against the guardians? ..

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15934670)

I do not disagree with your point, but I am not convinced that your example is a good one.

Not only does the survery the slashdot article links to show a huge difference between Europe and the US (the only European country that is worse than the US is Turkey), but I find it very hard to believe the numbers in the survey that the BBC quotes.

I have met very few creationists in Britain, despite living these most of my life and despite many of my friends being people I met through churches and despite moving around the country doing different types of jobs and generally meeting lots of diffent types of people.

The problem of ppolice powers stems from the fact that Britain does not have a consitution so the government can do what it likes. It used to be OK because even politicians accepted that they had to be "decet chaps" and behave decently. No that has broken down....

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#15935429)

The problem of ppolice powers stems from the fact that Britain does not have a consitution so the government can do what it likes.

(a) Britain (or, more precisely, the United Kingdom) most certainly does have a consitution. It just doesn't consist of a single concise written document.

(b) A written constitution is no guarantee of civil rights. For nearly 80 years, the USA had both a written constitution and legal slavery.

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#15986665)

You may want to look up the Magna Carta [wikipedia.org] . The UK had a consitution equivilent over 500 years before there WAS a USA.

Re:I thought Europe had better protections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927862)

The name is implicitly protected because the program was published and well known under that name before the trademark was registered. Under these circumstances, the trademark registration is "bösgläubig" (could be translated as "mischievous", not sure) and will not survive if challenged in court. Unfortunately some people will pay up because they fear the legal fees.

Comments more interesting... (5, Interesting)

himurabattousai (985656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927356)

It appears that the author or VirtualDub might not be in trouble at all. According to the comments about his blog entry, the letters are worthless if they aren't from a lawyer--and sometimes even if they are. It also seems that since his program has documented existence that predates the word mark "registration," such a registration would be invalid.

No less troubling, though, are those who can't do a damn thing in life trying to legally steal from those who actually produce something of value. I can't think of any better word to describe the actions of people who create nothing, not even ideas, and sue when someone comes up with a device that loosely resembles their mystery ideas.

As good /.'ers (2, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927417)

shouldn't we link to VirtualDub [virtualdub.org] , Sourceforge [sourceforge.net] and its download [virtualdub.org] links [sourceforge.net] a few thousand times?

Re:Comments more interesting... (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927433)

There is actually a rather infamous lawyer in Germany who's been harrassing people for a long, long time (especially for copyright infringement whose companion was, interesting enough, arrested for running a warez-FTP server), I wouldn't put it beyond him to register the VirtualDub 'word mark' to continue his profitable practice of milking the unsuspecting.

Why again is it illegal to shoot lawyers on sight?

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927521)

Would you want lawyer gore scattered everywhere? It might be catching.

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927729)

It could be done with taste. Or maybe on national TV, think of the ratings! Superbowl sunday would look pale against it!

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928430)

And just think of how much Winchester would pay to sponsor it!

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

Samus (1382) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927853)

Maybe because politicians make the laws and most politicians are/were lawyers? The real question is. Why do we continually trust lawyers to make our laws for us if we continually bash them as being unscrupulous and lower than low?

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927956)

Well, for one, it's good to be able to understand the law if you're going to be writing and interpreting them. On a more practical note, lawyers are one of the few groups of self-employed business people who can more easily stop and start their trade at will to run for office. I doubt the average corner store owner can do that!

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933766)

Who's that "we"? If it was legal, I'd be running 'round with shotguns.

I don't trust lawyers further than I can throw them. Twice so when it comes to IT topics.

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

rsidd (6328) | more than 7 years ago | (#15932817)

Why again is it illegal to shoot lawyers on sight?

Is it illegal? Dick Cheney did it [usatoday.com] when his popularity was down, and got away with it.

Shooting lawyers... (1)

neelm (691182) | more than 7 years ago | (#15935660)

Because bullets don't stop them. The only thing that can really kill a lawyer is another lawyer.

Re: Comments more interesting... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927622)

You could implement a law that asking for license fees to use a certain trademark when a) the product to which it is referring is clearly identified, b) the product that is being referred to clearly predates the trademark registration date, and c) the trademarkholder has been made aware of this, is a form of legal harassment from which victims can seek redress.

Basically, if someone rejects a demand for license fees with well-founded reasons of the above, the trademarkholder is forced to initiate legal action against them to affirm the trademark. If not, and asking for license fees from a further party, that further party could initiate legal action immediately on receipt of the letter.

Can anyone see any flaws in this? Obviously it depends on party 2 being able to prove that they rejected the claim, and then communicating that in an open letter which party 3 picks up, but that shouldn't be a major obstacle.

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15938433)

Those who can't do ... teach^h^h^h^h^hsue!

"I can't think of any better word" (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15943597)

Better than what? "Troll"?

Re:Comments more interesting... (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 7 years ago | (#15991077)

No less troubling, though, are those who can't do a damn thing in life trying to legally steal from those who actually produce something of value.

Lawyers are still an improvement over the natural order, though. There will always be people trying to steal. What the law does is replaces violence with a courtroom.

This is an easy one (2, Funny)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927377)

All he has to do is rename it to "V-Dub in da Houze"

Re:This is an easy one (1)

Synic (14430) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927578)

12 seconds later, that has been word marked as well. :P

Little bit of irony in this. (1)

JGuru42 (140509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927426)

anyone else find it interesting that such a mean act as this happened on 6/6/06?

Quickly mark in the USA. (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927429)

He should quickly trademark in the USA as that will override that trademark especially since the author can provide proof of creation and originally naming it.

Re:Quickly mark in the USA. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927470)

Wait, did I miss something? Suddenly Germany honors our trademarks over their own?

Re:Quickly mark in the USA. (2, Informative)

trifish (826353) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927741)

> He should quickly trademark in the USA as that will override that trademark especially
> since the author can provide proof of creation and originally naming it.

Sorry, but everything you wrote is utter nonsense. The filing date and geographical jurisdiction are what counts. You can "override" it only in USA (not in Germany), and only if the holder of the German trademark does not oppose your US registration.

Er... this is stupid (3, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927515)

You can't sue someone for using your trademark in a publication, as long as the trademark actually referrs to your product, there is no problem.

Why do you think review sites are allowed to bash Sony / Microsoft / FooBrand products without fear of retribution?

The point of a trademark is not to keep people from talking about your product, it is to keep another company from pretending to be your product.

Re:Er... this is stupid (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927573)

Exactly that is supposedly happening. Or at least so the person who registered the trademark claims.

His claim is that he owns the trademark and has a product (if he has one is irrelevant, at least for the law) by that name, and that the "false" VirtualDub is trying to mooch from his publicity.

He's not suing people who talk about it. He sues people who link to the downloads.

Still no case (2, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928255)

Even assuming this person was being truthful, the only case they would have is agsinst the makers of VirtualDub, not the people who are talking about VirtualDub.

This is not patent law, where the user is the infringer - it is trademark law.

Re:Still no case (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933756)

Not in Germany. A clueless judge ruled that you are responsible for the stuff you link to. Thus, if someone links to a download site of VD, he's responsible for the "trademark infringement" going on there.

Re:Er... this is stupid (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#15933112)

His claim is that he owns the trademark and has a product (if he has one is irrelevant, at least for the law) by that name

I don't believe this is true. My understanding of trademark law is that registration is not enough: you have to show actual use of the trademark. This may be different in Germany, but I don't suspect so.

See above South Korea Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15927722)

Maybe this is a model open source should look at =D

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/08/17/142226.shtml [slashdot.org]

Is that even possible? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15927923)

Don't know anything about German trademark law, only a bit about the Dutch law, and ofcourse IANAL, but doesn't a registered trademark only give you (legal) protection against competitors using that name for their brands?
You would need to have a copyright on a word in order to prevent people from using it and that's not possible afaik.

Re:Is that even possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15928827)

That is what is happening (or, to be precise, what would be happening if the trademark were valid). The plaintiff is an "internet services" company. Website authors are competitors and by linking to VirtualDub (under that name), they use the trademark on their page. That said, the trademark's chance of surviving in court is that of a snowball not melting in hell.

Here comes the confusion (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15928445)

Already saw on his blog, and see here, confusion over the difference between copyright and trademark.

From the United States Copyright Office:

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

The concepts are generally similar in Europe. Without a current or planned good to sell behind his trademark, it is absolutely worthless.

Why Linux is trademarked (4, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 7 years ago | (#15929463)

> "Well, I confess that only now I fully understand why Linux, Mozilla, TrueCrypt, and other open source projects register their names as trademarks"

In the case of Linux(tm), it's precisely because back in the mid-nineties, someone named William Della Croce, Jr. tried to hijack the mark [linuxjournal.com] and extort money from various vendors and publishers. It took a year, and a bunch of money, to get the matter resolved [linuxjournal.com] and the trademark reassigned to Linus.

It was an ugly and sordid affair, and I really wish there were better alternatives than either registering a mark or allowing it to be attacked by trolls. Prior use of a mark--even an unregistered mark--does (or should) count against trolls, at least in the US, but it can still be a hassle to fight them off if the mark's not registered. Personally, I would like to see the term "Linux" become a generic term (like "Aspirin"), but I can understand why Linus is reluctant to allow that to happen after the Dell Croce incident.

Openoffice.org? (2, Informative)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#15931490)

Didn't the same thing happen to OpenOffice.org group, forcing them to adopt the silly '.org' to their name? IIRC the trademark "Open Office" was bought by a Brazilian company at the behest of Microsoft.

How would virtualdub.org sound? :)

Re:Openoffice.org? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15941617)

There also existed Openoffice.nl which does Linux based office solutions, and felt their name was stolen. Perhaps rightly so.

eMule also had the same problem. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15933295)

eMule also had the same problem.

Someone registered that name in Germany, and sent out letters. It got to court, and he transferred the trademark back to the author.

Two differences exist between the cases:
1) The authors of eMule live in Germany.
2) The troll published an eMule fork himself. (possibly with spyware)

You should look exactly on what they did. I don't want to see VirtualDub renamed. (anyone mentioned WireShark? wxWidgets? Joomla!?)

Rename it? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#15941570)

He could always rename it to VertDub. And trademark it.

Jaysyn

Prior Art ? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15942039)

Does that country have any wiggle room for prior art in trademarking laws?

It would be pretty easy to show he was using it first.
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