Lawyer claims he owns "cyberlawyer" -- actual cyberlawyers laugh and laugh

Rebecca sez, "One lawyer is threatening another over the use of the term "cyberlaw," which he says he's trademarked. As the post (by EFF's Corynne McSherry) says, that's like a soda company trying to trademark the word soda."
Eric Menhart may call himself a cyberlawyer, but we think he has a lot of learn about cyberlaw -- and common sense. Menhart is the author of a blog about cyberlaw issues called, logically if not innovatively, "Cyberlawg." (As he says in the top right corner, "Cyberlawg = Cyberlaw + blog.") And he is "principal attorney" in a firm called "CyberLaw P.C." OK, OK, we get it, he practices technology law. Based on this, he's applied for a trademark on the use of the term "cyberlaw" in connection with the practice of, um, cyberlaw. That's like a soda company claiming a trademark in the use of the word soda in connection with the sale of soda. Or an apple farmer claiming a trademark in the use of the term apple in connection with the sale of apples. Or ... well, you get the picture.
Link (Thanks, Rebecca!)



  1. Menhart might also try to get a trademark registration for “chutzpah.”

    According the PTO, a Jonathan Rosenoer applied for a trademark registration for CYBERLAW for “development and dissemination of legal educational materials” in 1996, on the basis of use since 1992. That application was rejected (for reasons not available online), and Mr. Rosenoer ultimately abandoned the application.

    Later, in 2000, a Donald Lins applied for CYBERLAW ADVISOR for “Legal advice and services related to the law of computers, the Internet and electronic commerce,” on the basis of an intent to use that mark. Again, a rejection and abandonment.

    Mr. Menhart came along in 2007 with an application for CYBERLAW for a whole raft of legal stuff, which he filed on December 1,2007; as of December 5, 2007 (the latest status date on the PTO site), the application has not yet been assigned to an examiner. So he has a way to go before he gets anywhere near a registration. He claims a first use date of February 22, 2007, but even a cursory Google search will show that the term “cyberlaw” has been around and in use generically for years. Of course, it’s been in little, out of the way places like the New York Times CyberLaw Journal, so maybe he just missed it.

    Even better is the fact that Mr. Menhart has misrepresented the registration status of “CyberLaw” on his website by using the circle-R indicator in the title bar and the text. Mr. Menhart should think about getting his own house in order before going after others.

  2. Quoted:

    “that’s like a soda company trying to trademark the word soda.”

    Or the comic industry trying to copyright “superhero”.

    Let’s call him a lawyer pervert.

  3. 1200 G Street NW, Suite 800 is a Regus location ( Regus rents single offices (such as the one I reside at) as well as ‘virtual offices’ which provide a mailing address, but no physical presence (i.e., you could work from your home 100% of the time, but have an address of 1200 G Street NW Suite 800).

    This seems to be a firm of one lawyer (or a very small number).

  4. Well, in relation to the soda thing, did you know that 7/11 has trademarked “Slurp” in Slurpee (I think it’s a trademark, I can’t remember off the top of my head). I noticed it one day while drinking one. Not Slurpee, but Slurp…

  5. #10, Ravnos: Not quite. The cups have the circle-R indicator after the P in SLURPEE, but the trademark is SLURPEE. The circle-R indicator simply has to be in proximity to the mark; its placement does not indicate that the owner claims trademark rights in (or only in) the part of the mark that comes before the indicator.

  6. Actually, I stand corrected: 7-11 does indeed own a registration for SLURP in connection with “FLAVORED SEMI-FROZEN SOFT DRINKS FOR CONSUMPTION ON OR OFF THE PREMISES.” So yes, they own the mark SLURP, but only for those particular goods.

  7. I’ll start believing in cyberlawyers when there are finally “internet police” and “internet jail”.

  8. The 1990s called–with some prior art!

    Dude, why don’t you try to patent ‘cyberdork’ while you’re at it?

  9. how can any think this person stupid when he has already garnered all this free publicity for his crummy little If he hadn’t crapped in the punch bowl, would you have even heard of him?

  10. CyberLawyer = CyberLamer in my books, wouldn’t be seen near anyone who described himself as such. The whole “Cyber” thing is so over with…

  11. I can’t remember where, but I read once that all it would take to clean house on tort lawyers would be to pass a federal law allowing legal malpractice lawsuits.

    From there, clients would sue their own lawyers for losing their case and lawyers would eventually end up suing their professors and schools for failing to adequately educate them.

    Given this, I’m not even sure that’s needed.

  12. Um, legal malpractice lawsuits already exist.

    I agree with the comments about “cyberlaw” (and “cyber” anything) being passe’.

    That’s why I am going to register “iLawyer” for my practice.

  13. IANAL, but I believe it’s illegal to use the (R) symbol if you have not actually been granted a registered trademark from the PTO. Only TM can be used prior to being granted (and paying for) registration.

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