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Trademark 10.10.2014    Pdf    Appunta    Letti    Post successivo  

Can we trademark a term used and born in social networks ?

Meanwhile, we need to solve the gap of the language. We need to find professionals and to ask for consultancies.

This is the reason why I'm opening a section, on my website, where attorneys and consultants can write their curriculum on



^ Legal Hackers can be a trademark ?

Let's think at a football team: Milan, for example. In Italy we call fans: “milanisti”. The people living in Milano is instead called “milanesi”. I think that in every language we can find similar solutions.


^ What about Legal Hackers ?

Legal Hackers should be people legal hacking. Is a verb hack ? Yes. Legal is a common word ? “to legal hack” is a common word ? Probably, if we look on twitter. So “legal hackers” ?

I'm European. I'm Italian, actually.

In my perspective trademarks are something to protect a name of a business activity. It's the same here and in the world, but … it seems that in U.S. to have a trademark is more important.

In our culture there are copyright, de facto uses, name of magazines, unfair competition on names and finally websites domains.


^ Courts must decide what is the most important or simply prevail: trademark or copyright, or unfair competition. But there's another principle, in laws: if someone use that word before others, can do even after trademark, but only in the same area/context.

So I can understand why a firm called “Legal Hakers ltd” tries to register a trademark “Legal Hakers”. But that's not the point.

^ Tomorrow I'll be able to open a section on a blog called: “legal hackers” ? And all the alreaduy existing groups, there's a lack of newnewss ?

When you register a patent, you must declare how can be used. The patent is to allow others to use the idea, at certain conditions.

When you register a trademark, well, you want to be the only to use that word or combination of words. But it's the sameproblem as is if you will allow fan of the football club Milan to be called “milanisti”. And indeed, there were some issues between the club and the fan, solved by agreements. I talk in most cases, not specific to Milan.

So ?

^ You're both right.

In my dumble opinion “legal hackers” is too generic and too common for an enterprise. Like Apple, for example.


^ Is: “you're both right” too easy to say ? Perhaps. But it's difficult to answer now. We question will be solved, case by case, if the owner of the trademark will think useful top stop someone using the same name.

This is a crucial point. For this reason some big firms spread public policies to allow the use of the name. The nature of this policies, and the right to change them, it's not a legal problem. It's a a problem of managment's vision and behaviour.

^ That behaviour will be under decision in courts if there will be a bad managment. But the starting point is that in the internet era some name becomes in few days very common. And probably this is the legal weakness (and on the other site the commercial strength) of this trademark.

Just my 2 cents.

^ Do you want some cases to study ? Look at Ted, Apple, os2 and look on WIPO the arguments in decisions on domains. And there's much to learn.

The real problem (for me as an european entreprenuer) is competition between different legal systems. I can execise my italian trademark in USA ? I can't.  I need an american trademark, but in internet I can use a domain for my italian market. So I need a lawyer.And there are good ones italian working on conflicts in front of Wipo.

So for me, european, it's better a totally new name, easier to protect.

^ Meanwhile, we need to solve the gap of the language. We need to find professionals and to ask for consultancies.

This is the reason why I'm opening a section, on my website, where attorneys and consultants can write their curriculum on

We need to understand better each other. And a good consultant should help us to jumb the border and open us to new solutions, not necessarily new trials.

Thank to John E. Grant who asked my opinion.



Since my post, there are some news. Please read:

Recently, here the terms of services proposed and discussed:

There are actually many things in the contract I received that trouble me. It calls for all IP created or presented at a local event to be granted to Legal Hackers, LLC via a royalty-free (though, to be fair, nonexclusive and non-commercial) license and allows for broad use and distribution of that IP. It also sets forth a number of “Rules” that strike me as paternalistic and unduly restrictive; I think they would work better as guidelines or suggestions. Finally it shifts a tremendous amount of legal risk from the LLC to the individual Chapter Organizers, holds Organizers to an unfairly high standard of conduct, and creates significant potential for personal liability for an Organizer to the extent that I could never imagine signing it myself. You can read (and annotate) the contract itself at Law Genius^ if you are so inclined.

There are two ways to solve such a dispute, if people don't find an agreement (that must be the first option, because if you listen someone that doesn't agree with you, you have an opportunity to learn something however useful):

1) ask a court or authority (in Italy it' easy to stop some anticompetitive agreements)

2) start a new startup in the same are with a different name and business model.

^ My father, a 50 years old lawyer, used stating: it's better an agreemente between the 2, instead that a decision provided by a third (the judge), unexpectly.

Read the latest sentence as "Ibis redibis non morieris in bello". It can provide much more senses that the first reading can lead on.




10.10.2014 Spataro

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