No, this is not another contribution to the on-going debate over whether Subway’s vaunted “footlong” sandwiches actually measure 12 full inches. I will leave that to the consumer affairs bloggers. Our concern is with Subway’s effort to monopolize the word “footlong” as a registered trademark for 12-inch, give or take, heros/submarines/wedges/hoagies/grinders. Last week the Trademark Trial…

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Since 1979, Marsha Fox has sold chocolate, rooster-shaped lollipops — especially popular among fans of the University of South Carolina and Jacksonville State Gamecocks — using the fully intended double entendre COCK SUCKER.  In 2001 she applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to register the design shown here as a trademark.   Yesterday the United States Court of…

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The over-arching economic problem that dogs all of American patent and copyright law is one of demarcation—when is the marginal utility of  an incentive provided to one innovator “to promote progress in science and the useful arts” outweighed by the burden it places on the creativity and economic freedom of everyone else and is therefore counterproductive?  In The…

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Vermont’s finest ice cream purveyors, Ben & Jerry, scored a quick, preliminary legal victory this past week against porn producer Caballero Video.  A few excerpts from the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the U.S. District Court in Manhattan will convey the flavor of the dispute:  Defendants are hereby restrained from using the designations BEN & CHERRY’S,…

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As a kid I was partial to the simple bas-relief design of the classic Nestlé’ bar.  Once the raised border that surrounded the entire confection had been breached, the size of the next bite was limited only by the size of my mouth.  I preferred to eat one letter at a time, beginning with the…

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