Boing Boing 

The secret behind daft drug names

Insanity at the intersection of trademark law, marketing, and patient safety: "New drug names aren’t just bizarre," writes David Shultz. "They’re dangerous."
In any other industry, calling your product Xalkori would be the business blunder of the century. But this isn’t any other industry; this is pharma. “Xalkori is not just a crazy name,” says R. John Fidelino, who, as director of creative at the firm InterbrandHealth, helped bring the word into existence.

Here's a searchable index of drugs; if you run out, there's always the drug name generator, complete with advertising bullet points and side effects. Somewhere out there, there is a "Prescription medication or evil wizard?" site, but I can't find it. [via MeFi] fighting for trademark on "I AM" is going after Pharrell Williams, claiming that Pharrell's application to register the name of his new company "I am OTHER" infringes on's trademarks which apparently include the words "I AM."

"I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me," Pharrell told Rolling Stone. "I am someone who likes to talk things out and, in fact, I attempted to do just that on many occasions. I am surprised in how this is being handled and I am confident that Will's trademark claims will ultimately be found to be as meritless and ridiculous as I do."

" Takes Legal Action Against Pharrell's 'i am OTHER' Brand"

Loaded terms: How a Pittsburgh artist beat the most bogus trademark in drinking game history

Ali Spagnola spent three years and $30,000 of her own money to void a ridiculous trademark awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office. She won, but the larger problem remains, with the odds stacked against independent artists who lack the financial and legal wherewithal to monitor the office for abusive filings or oppose them successfully.Read the rest

Today in Facebook

Meanwhile, at Ars Technica, John Brodkin has two stories about Facebook:

Facebook says it may sue employers who demand job applicants' passwords: "We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges."


Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word "book" by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook.


Louis Vuitton threatens law school over parody poster

Louis Vuitton is well-known for its abusive trademark enforcement, but its latest legal adventure is unbelievable. The luxury goods company threatened the University of Pennsylvania Law School after a student group parodied the LV monogram on a poster for a trademark law symposium.

"This egregious action is not only a serious willful infringement and knowingly dilutes the LV Trademarks, but also may mislead others into thinking this type of unlawful activity is somehow 'legal' or constitutes 'fair use' because the Penn Intellectual Property Group is sponsoring a seminar on fashion law and 'must be experts'," wrote LV lawyer Michael Pantalony in a cease and desist letter. "I would have thought the Penn Intellectual Property Group, and its faculty advisors, would understand the basics of intellectual property law."

The poster, titled "Fashion Law", takes the distinctive LV monogram and replaces its iconography with copyright and trademark symbols. The symposium takes place March 20 in Philadelphia.

In a reply to Pantalony, the University's general counsel denied that the poster infringed LV's trademarks, describing the laws that establish the public right to parody—especially for noncommercial and educational purposes. He also invited Pantalony to attend the symposium so that he may learn more about intellectual property.

Don't Upset the Intellectual Property Fashion Police [Freedom to Tinker]

Keep Calm and Carry On Filing Trademarks

At The Awl, Maria Bustillos authored an excellent feature about the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which became a huge hit 60 years after it was first printed by the British government. An entrepreneur recently obtained a trademark on the phrase and is already firing papers at competitors, even those who popularized the vanishingly rare poster before he did.