James Tauber jtauber at jtauber.com
Sun Jan 18 00:02:38 PST 2004

I think trademark law is fairly similar in most countries but certainly
in Australia:

(1) trademarks (except logos) are phonetic not orthographic
(2) infringement must be pursued otherwise the trademark can become
diluted and the original holder lose their specific rights to it

This sort of thing happens all the time - sometimes the original
trademark owner is the big guy, sometimes the original trademark owner is
the little guy and sometimes they are roughly the same size. The original
trademark owner usually wins with little regard to relative size.

The only complication comes where a company is moving in to a new
territory. Say Mike Rowe lived in a country that Microsoft didn't sell in
and Mike Rowe registered "mikerowesoft" in that country first (and traded
there). It becomes fuzzy because Microsoft could argue that even though
they are second into that territory, their name was well known enough
already within that territory.

But I don't think that complication exists here.

It's not often you'd find me defending Microsoft, but they are doing the
reasonable thing. I hate that this makes news just because they're a "big
evil corporation" and Mike Rowe is just the "little guy". "mikerowesoft"
was cute, but he can't do it under trademark law.


P.S. IANAL but I date Australia's cutest trademark attorney :-)

On Sat, 17 Jan 2004 16:30:25 -0400, "Owen Byrne" <owen at permafrost.net>
> Mike Rowe needs to make himself "world-famous"
> Owen
> http://www.canada.com/national/story.asp?id=B87578CC-A492-483A-8610-EFDFCBFF0AFF
> >> Soft War
> >> Langford student battles tech giant over use of his domain name: 
> >> mikerowesoft.com
  James Tauber

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