Re: What's in a name?

Charles Kerr (
Sat, 27 Jun 1998 16:43:48 -0500

> > The Wall St. Journal reported yesterday that Microsoft doesn't
> > own the trademark "Internet Explorer." SyNet Inc. apparently
> > owns it with Microsoft now claiming that the term is a "generic
> > description" of a web browser.
> Ok, so I'm confused. Internet Explorer is a generic description,
> but Windows isn't?

Or the word "bookshelf".
from March 15, 1995 describes Microsoft's ownership of that word
when applied to CDs. The article's last sentence is pretty cute
in the context of the current Internet Explorer suit...

``Did you know that the Microsoft Corporation owns the rights to use
the word bookshelf as applied to any CD-ROM product? In 1991, the
software giant trademarked the term to cover its collection of reference
books, Microsoft Bookshelf.

A small company, Scanrom, which is run from their home by Irving Green
and his wife and son, didn't know that. The family spent two years
and $150,000 compiling Jewish history, religion and folklore texts,
biographies, and a cookbook on a CD-ROM disc they called "The
First Electronic Jewish Bookshelf." The Greens were even invited to
join a Microsoft-sponsored marketing brochure -- until the left hand
finally figured out what the right hand was up to. Enter lawyers, who
told the Greens that their "Bookshelf" was likely to cause confusion
and therefore was an infringement of Microsoft's trademark.

Green, who didn't perform a trademark search because he never
imagined anyone could own such a generic term, said he cannot
afford to change all his disk's programming, packaging, inserts,
and advertising. An amicable solution is being sought by both
parties. Meanwhile, a word to the wise: Thousands of seemingly
generic terms are trademarked -- and that includes the names of
electronic products.