WHO DAT? ITS SENATOR LEAHY ON THE WARPATH AGAINST TRADEMARK HUBRIS
By now everyone has heard about the NFL's (apparent) attempt to claim rights in the phrase WHO DAT. After an uproar from New Orleans Saints fans, legislators from Louisiana and the Facebook, You Tube, Twitter crowd, the NFl backed off and "clarified" their postion. This appears to be the latest example of a problem that Senator Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, seeks to solve with legislation.
Recently he introduced legislation, passed unanimously by the Senate, that would require the Department of Commerce to study whether large corporations are guilty of systematically overstating their trademark rights. His legislation was prompted by a battle between a local Vermont brewery and a large brewery/distributor of energy drinks.
Will the House agree? Hard to say. Will the Department of Commerce- home of the US Trademark Office really conduct a study with teeth? Hard to say.
But the Internet has brought into sharp focus the entire rationale for intellectual property law.