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Fox News: imbalanced, unfair, and now the defendant
August 11, 2004 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Fox sued for trademarked slogan. Outfoxed has taken the rumblings you've heard online for ages mainstream: that Fox News claims fairness, but is grinding a sharp ax for one team. Now the battle ticks up a notch as alt-newspaper service Altnet takes them to court.
posted by mathowie (8 comments total)

 
Absolutely beautiful.

This will be interesting. I hope that the US Trademark Office takes this as seriously as AlterNet, the Independent Media Institute and many others do.
posted by loquacious at 5:54 PM on August 11, 2004


how about people just stop watching?

asking for money to sue fox? because it's not 'fair and balanced'?

hopefully they'll sue each other into oblivion so that sane heads can prevail.
posted by oliver_crunk at 5:55 PM on August 11, 2004


Nah, people are still watching because they can stop watching any time they want to.

Right?
posted by loquacious at 6:19 PM on August 11, 2004


This is just dumb.

First, they are not taking Fox to court. This is an administrative proceeding before the US Trademark Office seeking to cancel Fox's registration of its "Fair and Balanced" trademark. It would not deprive Fox (or anyone) from using the "Fair and Balanced" mark. It would, if successful, deprive Fox of the ability to prevent other TV news channels of using "Fair and Balanced" to market themselves. (But arguably this is already the case since the mark is so descriptive in the context of the news business).

Second, the determination whether to cancel the trademark will have nothing to do with whether Fox News is or is not "Fair and Balanced." It will turn on the whether "Fair and Balance" is so generic or descriptive as to be ineligible for trademark protection. So successfully cancelling the mark will not say anything about the substance of Fox's reporting.

One thing it will do is let people vent: "Yeah! Serves Em Right!" That's fine I guess. But as much as I find Fox and Co. execrable, I personally think its a lame and misdirected use of legal process to make a political point that is already widely accepted as fact.
posted by caseymcg at 6:52 PM on August 11, 2004


see also
posted by Otis at 6:52 PM on August 11, 2004


I'm down for them canceling out a stupid, common and undescriptive trademark such as that.

But I'm pretty sure the trademark office doesn't give a rip about the political crap that's bound to be dripping all over the request.
posted by cinderful at 7:54 PM on August 11, 2004


It would, if successful, deprive Fox of the ability to prevent other TV news channels of using "Fair and Balanced" to market themselves.

This is the only part of the comment that is off. Regardless of whether or not Fox is able to keep the registration, they can still rely on their now established common law rights in the mark to prevent other parties from using the mark. The U.S. is one of the few places in the world where a common law, use-based regime runs parallel to a registration regime.
posted by anathema at 8:04 PM on August 11, 2004


Any victory would be symbolic, yet sweet nonetheless. Fighting for cancellation in the PTO is much cheaper than a court battle, tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
posted by caddis at 8:32 PM on August 11, 2004


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