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April 27, 2011



don't you mean "Practice of Law®"


As many young people would say, Mr. Poll "just got served."


How fascinating. Another fascinating point is that, contrary to Mr. Poll's assertions, trademarks do not provide a monopoly on speech. Rather, a trademark only allows you to prevent others from using a branded mark in connection with goods or services in a manner that will cause confusion.

AS SUCH, the USPTO registers trademarks in connection with specifically identified goods and services.

Poll has filed three trademark applications for the phrase "The Business of Law."

One was canceled in 2002.

One has yet to be examined, and even if registered, will only protect competitors for using the mark on software for law firm practice management.

He has one registered trademark which covers "business consultation in the field of law firm management and practice, acquisition and merger of law firms, and corporate law departments."

I will leave to other readers the question of whether this blog fits under either category.

John Q. Galt

Sounds like GreenShift Corporation trademarking the common term "Backend Fractionation™" as well as patenting the common process of separation of oil from liquid wastes.

Psychic parasites all of them.

Debra L Bruce

Lee, you might be interested in the discussion at Lawyerist at TechnoLawyer (well, technically its parent company)sent Lawyerist a take-down demand about using the term "Small Law" in a blog post. Lawyerist is now suing TechnoLawyer, for invalidation of TechnoLawyer's trademark of a phrase commonly-used in the legal industry.

In its petition, Lawyerist said:

"There can be no clearer example of trademark abuse than this one, in which a business is attempting to assert trademark rights over a commonly-used term, especially because that term was used in its commonly-understood sense."

chris farrell

Small point: when you write I commonly use the capitalization of proper nouns, with its over-formal 18th century aura, in much the way others use "scare quotes," to add ironic distance to a word or phrase, I think you actually mean to say that you adopt that practice for common nouns. Proper nouns (like Ed Poll, Edward Poll & Associates, Inc., and Venice, California are properly capitalized in standard written English. "Business" and "law" are common nouns, not proper nouns, which is why one wouldn't typically expect to see them capitalized.

Debra L Bruce

Here's an ironic twist that you might be interested in: Texas law firm consultant sues California law firm consultant alleging copyright infringement

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