Writing a trademark disclaimer

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Writing a trademark disclaimer

Postby Lummox JR » Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:04 am

I have an odd question, and I wasn't sure quite where to put it, so here goes.

I'm planning to publish a book of hard sudoku problems, and I'll be including a quick rundown of advanced techniques. The puzzles will be generated by a program I wrote, and it will also spit out the steps taken to solve them. Here's the problem: We all know the X-wing technique by only one name, yet the name is trademarked. I want to cover my bases with a disclaimer.

This is what I'm thinking of going with:
X-wing is a trademark of Lucasfilm, Ltd. No infringement of any kind is intended. The term X-wing appears in this book as the only well-known name for a common sudoku solving technique. The use of this term does not imply any affiliation whatsoever with Lucasfilm, Ltd.

For anyone a little knowledgeable on the subject of legalese, how does that look?
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Postby ravel » Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:19 am

Without having a book: Other authors (e.g. see here) either dont have the problem or already have solved it.
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Postby Lummox JR » Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:39 am

It's too bad I can't look inside that book to the copyright page. I imagine Mensa wouldn't simply blow off the trademark, so they probably have a disclaimer already.
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Postby ronk » Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:58 pm

Lummox JR,

Glad to hear you're planning to publish a book. While I have no expertise in trademarks, I think your proposed statement would be just fine.

X-WING (case doesn't matter, I believe) is also a registered trademark for fireworks, clothing, bags, and sporting articles ... according to my search at www.uspto.gov ... so registering the same trademark in different categories of "goods and services" seems to be OK. One caveat here is those other trademarks are owned by foreign corporations, which might have some legal implication.

The Lucas trademark category is 'computer games" AFAICT and, though a sudoku puzzle book and computer games are both entertainment, I get the impression that some commercial enterprise might be able to register X-WING in the puzzle-book category.

Another thought: As long as X-WING is not in the title of your book and not used -- or used prominently -- in advertising, I think there is very little chance of there ever being a problem. IOW you wouldn't be doing anything to confuse and trick the public into purchasing the wrong product because of confusion of trademarks.

Yet another thought: Don't be afraid to contact Lucas Licensing directly.
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Postby m_b_metcalf » Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:35 pm

ronk wrote:Yet another thought: Don't be afraid to contact Lucas Licensing directly.

Is it just me as a European, or is this really some example of American paranoia? Here we have a commonly used term in the field of games and it seems inconceivable that anyone can pretend to exclusivley trademark common language. A standard example in the UK is that 'Swan' can be (and is) a trademark for a brand of matches, but the word is freely available in any other context. It seems to me that to contact lawyers on this matter will only invite a heavy-handed reply which only another lawyer (whom you'd have to pay) could begin to understand.

Gasp!

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Postby udosuk » Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:53 pm

You might like to read this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark:idea:

X-wing is an invented word (probably by the script writers of the Star Wars movies)... So they have the right to make it as a trademark, but only for the purpose that other people can't use it as names of the goods they sell... It should be allowed in general discussion, even in the text of a book... So like ronk said unless you want to name your book as "X-Wing" it shouldn't be a worry (but I'm no legal expert so don't hold me responsible for any undesirable outcomes - lookey, here is a disclaimer!:D )

It seems there is a novel series using the name so you definitely should not use it as a title... But mentioning it in the text should still probably, most likely be alright (the above disclaimer is still in effect!:D ) One way to get around it is to drop the hyphen i.e. "XWing", or use an underscore i.e. "X_wing"...:idea:

Now, if I'm the owner of a restaurant and have invented a way of making chicken wings cross each other, am I allowed to name my dish "X-wings"?:D
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Postby ronk » Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:16 pm

m_b_metcalf wrote:It seems to me that to contact lawyers on this matter will only invite a heavy-handed reply which only another lawyer (whom you'd have to pay) could begin to understand.

"If you don't drive up to the front of the restaurant, you'll never get a parking place there." -- origin unknown

In golf ... "never up, never in." (Hmmm! I suspect that's not where that phrase originated.:) )
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