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Kleenex(tm) in aisle NSFW(tm)
December 7, 2007 6:33 PM   Subscribe

NSFW (tm) --Drew Curtis (Fark) attempts to trademark "Not Safe For Work"
posted by F Mackenzie (102 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
*rushes off to trademark LOL*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:35 PM on December 7, 2007


He should know better.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:36 PM on December 7, 2007


The kind folks at NSFW.com (who, AFAICT, have no connection to fark) will probably have some objection to that. :)

But seriously... is he serious? or is this another fark stunt? Any link to discussion of this? The future IP lawyer in me is just dying to know.
posted by louie at 6:39 PM on December 7, 2007


I claim NAXT.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:43 PM on December 7, 2007


That's hot!
posted by Poolio at 6:43 PM on December 7, 2007


WTF, Drew?
posted by jsavimbi at 6:45 PM on December 7, 2007


FAIL
posted by loquacious at 6:50 PM on December 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


i just trademarked LOL - i am going to rule so much ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:51 PM on December 7, 2007


Asshat™
posted by Zonker at 6:51 PM on December 7, 2007 [12 favorites]


damn you, crash_davis, damn you - now i'm stuck with something lousy like IMHO -
posted by pyramid termite at 6:51 PM on December 7, 2007


You're doing it wrong.
posted by knave at 6:52 PM on December 7, 2007


Less stupid: I predict a rush of people mining their logs as far back as they can for emoticon and acronym inventions. I can probably pull "prior art" for NSFW out of email logs from the early 90s.

Which is to say: the nerd with the oldest files wins. Grep on!
posted by loquacious at 6:54 PM on December 7, 2007 [9 favorites]


I just patented the process of trademarking and I deny this guy a license.
posted by DU at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


frat asshats rule kollege = FARK
posted by pyramid termite at 6:56 PM on December 7, 2007


Please submit a list to this site of Internet acronyms for future trademark. I 'm AFK(tm) but will BBL(tm) as I'm currently ROLF(tm) on the beach while I think of my next MOTD(tm).

For the record, IANAL(tm).
posted by F Mackenzie at 6:58 PM on December 7, 2007


NSFW
Brought to you by Carl's Jr.
posted by not_on_display at 7:00 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


BTW? It's mine.
posted by humannaire at 7:04 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


OFCOLJFCOAPS

(oh for crying out loud, Jesus Fucking Christ on a pogo stick)

I'm gonna get in on the ground floor.
posted by yhbc at 7:09 PM on December 7, 2007


mehts, as in the baseball team. Yankee fans will love it.
posted by vrakatar at 7:11 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


NSFW*
2007 Ecko Unlimited, a division of Mark Ecko Enterpsises
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:12 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


STFUTM


ST Francis University.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:13 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


That's hot.
posted by inconsequentialist at 7:13 PM on December 7, 2007


No Sale, Fark Wanker.
posted by adamrice at 7:14 PM on December 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


Freedom of Expression
posted by cjorgensen at 7:14 PM on December 7, 2007


Meeht the Mehts! Buy some Mehrchendise!
posted by vrakatar at 7:16 PM on December 7, 2007


did he use it first?
to what product or service is it connected through his use?
somehow this seems like a waste of $
can I get a registrations on "waste of $"?
I'll connect that service to Drew
posted by caddis at 7:24 PM on December 7, 2007


Did anyone use NSFW prior to 2001? If not, I'm claiming the first usage from when I wrote some Everquest guild forum rules after clicking some NSFW content and getting pissed.
posted by Octoparrot at 7:26 PM on December 7, 2007


I'm gonna trademark "lame."
posted by krinklyfig at 7:34 PM on December 7, 2007


OK. Let's be serious. I claim the World's Richest Smiley.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:37 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wait! I call dibs on "This trademark application is worthless without pix!"
posted by yhbc at 7:41 PM on December 7, 2007


I always thought it was "not suitable for work." :/
posted by Lillitatiana at 7:53 PM on December 7, 2007


Tell It To The Judge, Asshole™
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:54 PM on December 7, 2007


This is a direct response to his failed attempt at the "Squirrel Nuts" patent
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 7:56 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


trademarking ™ you mofos
posted by panamax at 7:57 PM on December 7, 2007


What the fuck is fark????
posted by R. Mutt at 8:03 PM on December 7, 2007


Not Safe For Workendell.
Fixed that for me.

Next Mr. Curtis is going to sue Battlestar Gallactica over the similarities between "frak" and "Fark"...
posted by wendell at 8:09 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Lowtax should join in by copyrighting the equivalent-but-different NWS (not work-safe).
posted by clevershark at 8:14 PM on December 7, 2007


WTF™
posted by mathowie at 8:22 PM on December 7, 2007


Christ, what an asshole™
posted by dhammond at 8:27 PM on December 7, 2007 [5 favorites]


meh™
posted by scheptech at 8:29 PM on December 7, 2007


Is this a joke?
posted by Pants! at 8:32 PM on December 7, 2007


This will not wendell.™

You people owe me.
posted by wendell at 8:41 PM on December 7, 2007 [18 favorites]


I claim the alphabet.

mwahaha...
posted by divabat at 8:41 PM on December 7, 2007


I wish Pythagoras could have gotten some sort of intellectual copyrights on his well thought mathematical treatises. Could you imagine having to pay for math?

Brilliant. Just fracking brilliant.
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:41 PM on December 7, 2007


If can trademark ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. All you fuckers owe me a shitton of money thats all I know.
posted by edgeways at 8:43 PM on December 7, 2007


If can trademark ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. All you fuckers owe me a shitton of money thats all I know.

How often do people really say "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ?"
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 8:52 PM on December 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Looks like the quick brown fox really did jump over the lazy dog.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:02 PM on December 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


LOLCATS (tm)
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:17 PM on December 7, 2007


I am watching this ™
posted by Ceiling Cat at 9:27 PM on December 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm trademarking lines 2 and 33 of ASCI goatse.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:41 PM on December 7, 2007


*I
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:41 PM on December 7, 2007


NSFW is my professional title, like CPA or CFP.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:46 PM on December 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Paging Big Bird.
posted by trip and a half at 9:46 PM on December 7, 2007


Congress should just eliminate the distinctions between trademark, patent, and copyright law. Nobody can keep it straight, and it's just boring.

From now on, everyone's IP will be "copatrighmented."
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 9:47 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I applaud this, if it brings us closer to a day of sane intellectual property laws.
posted by maxwelton at 10:00 PM on December 7, 2007


He also voted for Bush.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:17 PM on December 7, 2007


This is only the opening salvo in, I fear. Someone's going to be getting a cease and desist soon.
posted by mumkin at 10:19 PM on December 7, 2007


You know, it's stuff like this that makes me glad I stopped reading Fark and get my news from actual newspapers.

One of the best decisions I've ever made and I've been more productive as a result.
posted by champthom at 10:36 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I can probably pull "prior art" for NSFW out of email logs from the early 90s."

And from the looks of it, the USPTO won't give a shit what you come up with.

I think that's what Drew Curtis is trying to point out. Our patent system is a disaster. Wait until the patent trolls(tm) show up.
posted by drstein at 11:01 PM on December 7, 2007


Ah, fuck. I came in too late in the thread, and the only acronyms left unclaimed are BBW and WWJD. Better than nothing, I suppose.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 11:01 PM on December 7, 2007


Nonsense. You can have "Lmao Zedong," and that's one of the best.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 11:28 PM on December 7, 2007


How often do people really say "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ?"

Try it; it's easy.
posted by cogneuro at 11:29 PM on December 7, 2007


Funny™
posted by zerolives at 11:41 PM on December 7, 2007


That's Hot™
posted by Paris Hilton at 11:47 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


WWJD? BBW!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:55 PM on December 7, 2007


Get Your Own Blog, Friend™
posted by I Got My Own Blog at 12:05 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, FARK! You mean to tell me the internet's gone money up?
posted by LiveLurker at 12:07 AM on December 8, 2007


maxwelton is dead on..."I applaud this, if it brings us closer to a day of sane intellectual property laws."

So who among us is "sane"?

OH, no one! Well then....Carry on!
posted by LiveLurker at 12:20 AM on December 8, 2007


I'll call "OTL" for "Out To Lunch" as in "The server's OTL".
posted by Samizdata at 1:32 AM on December 8, 2007


There is no way this is anything but a joke.
posted by Optamystic at 2:51 AM on December 8, 2007


I fark in his general direction™.
posted by ersatz at 3:08 AM on December 8, 2007


drstein writes "I think that's what Drew Curtis is trying to point out. Our patent system is a disaster. Wait until the patent trolls(tm) show up."

He's trying to show that the patent system is broken, not by trying to get a patent, but trying to get a trademark? How, exactly, does that work?
posted by Bugbread at 5:20 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


If Drew did in fact "invent" it, the fact that he waited 8 years to register with the USPTO - during which the term propagated across the internets - will render any registration unenforceable. This is classic genericide.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:07 AM on December 8, 2007


.™
posted by melorama at 6:15 AM on December 8, 2007


Cool, now I have a monopoly on compassion.
posted by melorama at 6:16 AM on December 8, 2007


meh. WP:POINT
posted by ryanrs at 6:37 AM on December 8, 2007


Sucks when you get in late. Then you have to come up with an original.
I'm going with MSFW.
That's marginally safe for work.
posted by notreally at 7:19 AM on December 8, 2007


Anyone get Ate my Balls™ yet?
posted by Talanvor at 8:03 AM on December 8, 2007


I trademarked IANAL, but I've had trouble defending it.
posted by drezdn at 8:16 AM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


do people still give a shit about fark?
posted by arnold at 8:21 AM on December 8, 2007


DAVE'S NOT HERE ™
posted by Koko at 9:01 AM on December 8, 2007


Well, I decided to run with this a little. I posted a thread on Fark, which got a little notice but was not put to the front page, and then it was 'mysteriously' deleted (doesn't usually happen with submissions, and the ones before and after were still there).

I've now sent Drew a note about how stupid and crass this is, and how it's even more crass to delete the thread when the cat's already out of the bag.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:12 AM on December 8, 2007


It makes as much sense as trademarking "let's roll" or the name of a small Eastern US city. At least I can still call him a douchebag without breaking any trademarks.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:15 AM on December 8, 2007


I love how somebody is trying to own the LABEL of being NSFW, and not the actual CONTENT. It's like everybody going nuts for beads at Mardi Gras. Some show up late and don't care about the breasts, they just want to walk away with something, anything, and say they've been there. And so they grab for shiny beads, whose temporary value just skyrocketed due to borrowed interest.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:17 AM on December 8, 2007


(which is not to say that I wasn't tempted to make a Fark jumped the shark trademark joke in there, but I couldn't seem to put it together.)
posted by iamkimiam at 10:19 AM on December 8, 2007


champthom: "..it's stuff like this that makes me glad I stopped reading Fark and get my news from actual newspapers..

It's stuff like this that makes me glad I stopped reading actual newspapers years ago and get all my news from MetaFilter. No. I don't get any of my news from Fark - what do you think I am? Crazy?

I would joke trademark something, but I don't know how to make "TM" in little letters.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2007


OMG
posted by notmydesk at 11:44 AM on December 8, 2007


I'd hit him
posted by ill3 at 11:50 AM on December 8, 2007


Fark that!
posted by Rajamadan at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2007


IQTMPOA™
I've Quietly Taken My Pants Off, Again.

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:40 PM on December 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


There's no such thing as bad publicity.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:13 PM on December 8, 2007


There are actually some pretty serious legal obstacles to this attempted registration. Most seriously, it's "descriptive." "Not safe for work" tells you that the link you're about to click on is, yes, not safe for work. That's a big no-no in trademark law. Your trademark is supposed to be something that consumers associate with your particular goods and services, not a term that describes a feature of the goods and services regardless of who supplies them. It doesn't matter if Fark was first. Since the phrase is descriptive, it can't be registered as a trademark unless people ignore the descriptive aspect and really do associate it with one particular supplier. Most people who see "not safe for work" understand it to mean what it says; they don't immediately think of Fark.

There's also a trademark-law rule that bars registration of "immoral" and "scandalous" trademarks. That arguably applies here, but that rule has had less and less teeth over the years, as society gradually loses its ability to be scandalized by anything. Still, if I were a lawyer opposing the registration, I'd seize on it. And finally, given how widespread the phrase is now, not only is it arguably generic (which is the super-strength version of "descriptive" that prohibits registration no matter what people think), but there are also tons of other competing users now, and the trademark-law rules for sorting out which of them get to keep on using the phrase are fairly complex and fact-intensive.

If I were teaching IP this semester, this would so have gone on the exam.
posted by grimmelm at 7:18 PM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


TMTMTMTM
posted by meehawl at 8:25 PM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


'd love to see the maharishi do THAT
posted by pyramid termite at 8:39 PM on December 8, 2007


Maybe Jeff will patent his technique for getting over it.
posted by dr_dank at 8:55 PM on December 8, 2007


I am a trademark troll and I am getting a kick out of these replies.
posted by jscott at 3:09 AM on December 9, 2007


A note back from Drew:

yes we applied for it

can't comment on the prank angle other than "stay tuned"

muhahaha

So, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt temporarily. I hope that this doesn't really suck.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:24 AM on December 9, 2007


I bags brb in memory of the days before we could/would take our computers to the toilet with us.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 11:48 AM on December 9, 2007


Fer Chrissakes. 98 comments, and only one (grimmelm's) that makes any sense.

First of all, trademarks are different from patents, which in turn are different from copyright. Trademarks are distinctive words or signs, associated to a product or service you offer. They don't have anything to do with invention, like patents, or creation, like copyright, they are just hallmarks you can use to identify the provenance of your products and services and distinguish them from those of your competitors.

So, Coca-ColaTM is a trademark, as is MicrosoftTM, or, wait for it, WindowsTM. Obviously, windows (you know, the holes in buildings, usually square, that allow you to look outside) had been invented some time before, but this was irrelevant since MicrosoftTM didn't patent windows, they trademarked the word WindowsTM. Also, WindowsTM would have been rejected as descriptive, if MicrosoftTM had tried to register it as a trademark for building materials, for instance. But it was accepted as a trademark for software.

Likewise, AppleTM would have been rejected as descriptive for fruit, but it was acceptable for computers, and this even though it had been registered as a trademark previously, and namely for music, by the BeatlesTM. (That did create some bother for Steve Jobs afterwards, though).

So, what's the point of this trademark application for NSFW? It's very unlikely to fly, unless it's registered for very specific goods or services for which it can't be considered as descriptive. It won't prevent you from using NSFW, as long as you aren't confusing eventual consumers by trying to imply association with goods or services offered by Drew Curtis. It certainly won't say fuckall about the state of the patent system, since we are talking about a trademark. IMHO (not trademarked) this is just a juvenile stunt for a gullible, ignorant, and immature audience.
posted by Skeptic at 2:29 PM on December 9, 2007


Skeptic: Don't worry, a few of us get the difference between patents and trademarks. Our comments just don't stick out as much as the stupid ones.

One of the amusing things about applying for this trademark is that (like the Windows versus windows issue), since NSFW is explicitly a descriptor (it describes things as not being safe for work), the only way it could fly would be if he trademarked it for some meaning other than "Not Safe For Work".
posted by Bugbread at 3:15 PM on December 9, 2007


Skeptic's and grimmelm's remarks make sense to me. Merits aside, I don't think this is a prank, because 1) using a corporate attorney rather than self-filing is an expensive prank; 2) the same corporate attorney on this filing has filed for marks on "Fark It" "Fark This" and "NSFW" in addition to "Not Safe For Work"; and 3) fark.com isn't playing this up on their own website despite user-posted articles.

I'm imagining Mr. Curtis sitting down with his accountant and attorney to discuss his new-found wealth, and these guys asking him what intellectual property he has that he wants to protect or someday may want to sell. They go through a list. They start a trademark process on whatever they hope will stick. I think this is a realistic scenario, despite whatever chance of success it might have.

And for the record, ROFL has a trademark (for specific goods).
posted by F Mackenzie at 8:45 PM on December 9, 2007


F. Mackenzie: a trademark isn't that expensive; much cheaper than a patent. And presumably a lawyer you've already used for other things is the first one you'd go to if you needed a favor done, since you have some sort of relationship you wouldn't have with other lawyers.

(Also, the reason grimmelm's comments make sense is because he cheats by having actual "expertise" ;)
posted by louie at 12:24 PM on December 10, 2007


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