Thursday, September 14, 2006

The U.S. Trademark code, in verse

Copyright code in verse is here
Patent code in verse is here

This verse is just some
Of United States Code
Fifteen, part twenty-two,
Written down as an ode

This part only deals
With the laws of trade-mark
I write them in poetry
To be less in the dark

It's not cause I'm bored
Or I want to be nice
My transcribing works as
A mnemonic device

You see, I read laws
And I put them to verse
And it helps me remember
For better or worse

My summaries are simplified
As you might well expect
Relying on my poetry would
Be most incorrect

Go read the original
If you want to know more
And have your whole legal
Protection assured

(By the way, if you've time
The rest of fifteen
Is a wild bunch of laws
It's really quite keen)


If you own a mark that's
Really used in commerce
Pay heed to directions
Written down in this verse

You must "own" the trade-mark
(Though it doesn't say how)
And you must promise to use it
Or be using it now


The mark may be neither
Immoral nor deceptive
It must be unique and
Not simply descriptive


Service marks are marks
But do not be nervous
They only imply branding
They don't imply service


And then there are marks -
Like certification -
That serve to mark only
An organization


This section lets you license
Your mark to some company
And let's you control it
Both branding and quality


When registering marks
You may have to forgo
Some part of it, if the
Director says so


You fill out the forms
In duplicate and triplicate
And then you receive
A nice legal certificate


It's good for ten years
Or it's good for six, maybe
Either way, pay the fees
Or goodbye to your baby


An identifying trade-mark's
Life can be extended
Although after ten years, it
Should probably be ended


Trademarks can be transferred
If it's all done in writing
It's nice when done pleasantly
Without any fighting


If swearing is needed
To affirm an acknowledgment
My kids can teach you; they
Swear that they're innocent


Just when your rights are
Secured, it gets better -
Your marks are all published
In many newsletters


If you object to a trade-mark
As many people do
The office is happy to
Take your money, too


A worker may cancel it
If he's had a bad day
A hangover, for instance,
Or his spouse is away


But if no one objects
In the space of five years
Your trade-mark's assured
You can break out the beers


If they made a mistake
And your mark's not unique
The director may apologize
In a manner most meek


In all of these cases
When people have problems
An appeal board gets formed
In order to solve them


In the end, the Director
Simply does what he feels
So invite him to dinner
And cook a nice meal


This section is short but
Here's what the catch is:
It uses strange words like
"Estoppel" and "laches"


You pay registration and
You pay if you fight
So the fact that you pay to
Appeal seems 'bout right


The Federal Circuit then
Handles the appeal
And then the fed judges
Can do what they feel


Remember you register
If you "own" the mark?
Ownership is established
By registering; that's a lark


A supplemental register
May also exist
You don't register supplements
(I checked up on this)


It's a book just for trade-marks
And it's pretty amusing
It's published, but it isn't, which
Can get quite confusing


The certificate for these types of
Listings is different
It's painted on noodles
With twenty-two pigments


Apparently, these marks are
Mostly like real ones
They follow the same rules
With minor exceptions


They aren't unique enough
For all practicality -
If they are, upgrade them to
Full-fledged legality


These marks don't stop imports
But to be quite concise,
I don't get this chapter and
I've read through it twice


To mark something's registered
Put an "R" in a ring
If you fail to, and then sue,
You won't get a thing


The Director establishes a
In which to file all types
Of mark registration


They charge you for everything
Bring money in jerry-cans
You're only exempt if you're
Native American


You're told you must stop for
Innocent violation
Whether using it in print
Or domain registration


Numerous defenses against
Infringement are granted
None of those listed cover
"Because I wanted"


The court then make noises
It shuffles and snorts
And it tries to make sense
Of a case of this sort


The damages you pay are
Exceedingly high
You can kiss that new Rolls Royce
You wanted goodbye


You may then be forced to
Destroy every item
They'll soak them in gasoline
And then they will light 'em


The court may correct, if
It feels there's an error,
Any trade-mark mistakes in the
Trade-mark book ledger


If you fraudulently trade-marked,
You naughty girl or boy,
You're subject to lawsuits from
Those you've annoyed


The states can make judgments
On cases like this
But they can't force new markings
Or get them dismissed


Federal and state workers
In all types of governments
Are subject to these laws
Regardless of consequence


As usual, the Director can
Make up more laws
Whenever he wants to,
No "if"s or "because"


Don't import goods bearing
Trade-mark violations
They have to stay inside
Their origin nations


Don't misrepresent any
Product or service
Or pretend that you're famous -
Famous people get nervous


We register trade-marks from
All types of nations
But only from those with which
We have relations


For some reason, definitions
Are only placed here
Instead of the beginning
Which would be more clear


A fancy falutin'
Council is formed
To discuss IP issues
And stay well informed


Don't use famous people for
Your internet domain
They've more money than you
And they're often insane


This says that we work with
Other nations, too
And pretty much doesn't say
Anything else new


You can register trade-marks
In more than one nation
And you only need fill our
A single application


When checking your claim
The Director is thorough
If it's good, it goes to
The international bureau


If a trade-mark's abandoned,
Canceled, or expired,
The bureau is notified if
The Director's not tired


Requests for extensions
Can be made here or there
As long as you've paid up
They really don't care


Extensions are based on the
Laws of this section
Other laws you read
May just be misdirection


This whole chapter simply
Just says what we do:
Whatever the international
Court tells us to


Really, it just goes on
About dates and priority
A pretty dull subject within
Intellectual Property


When refusing a local mark
We don't have to be nice
When dealing with foreign ones
We tend to think twice


We'll send the certificates
Any place you're alive
Even to "Under the stairs,
Nine Privet Drive"


Oh brother, some more boring
Rules are now made
Whomever wrote this section
Was grossly overpaid


An affidavit is needed
To prove any marking
Is really being used,
There is no Free Parking


We only will deal with
A person from nations
Who like us and say so -
We need affirmation


Your five years of usage
Begins with your signing
After which it's incontestable
No tantrums, no whining


Any rights to a trade-mark
Continue with extensions;
Register with the same name
To avoid all contention

There are other subsections
That may also apply
But this is all the current
Section supplies

The others are references
And simply point here
So I'll just say good night, and
Have sweet dreams, my dear

Yehuda Berlinger

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Anonymous said...

Congratulations for your excellent work on US IP codes.

Would it be possible that your relicense the three remixes under a Creative Commons license (such as this), so that others could podcast it, add some melody (or whatever... )?

Thanks for your work.

Unknown said...

Very nice verse! The one whose name so much of this deals with, Fritz Garland Lanham, I believe would be pleased as well with your treatment of the particulars of his act, because I believe it reads like something he might have done himself. Fritz G. Lanham was a very well-read fellow. He studied classics at UT Austin, and later taught in the classics department after graduation. He was much beloved by his co-workers and he wrote a modern verse parody (early twentieth century) version of the Iliad. It is very entertaining reading, even today, if you like that sort of thing. I guess you could say he was a renaissance man, but I think he was more than just that, because he had a classical education with a thoroughly modern perspective. In any case, I commend you for your treatment of the topic, and hope it served well in its purpose of remembrance. In addition to that purpose, ironically, I feel it is a fitting memorial or homage to the person primarily responsible for the act that is being studied. He devoted about half of his lifetime to public service and all of it to the art of being well educated.

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