If we’re in the idea business, how to protect those ideas?
One way is to misusetrademark law. With the help of search engines, greedy lawyers who charge by the letter are busy sending claim letters to anyone who even comes close to using a word or phrase they believe their client ‘owns’. News flash: trademark law is designed to make it clear whomakes a good or a service. It’s a mark we put on something we create to indicate the source of the thing, not the inventor of a word or even a symbol. They didn’t invent trademark law to prevent me from putting a picture of your cricket team’s logo on my blog. They invented it to make it clear who was selling you something (a mark for trade = trademark).
I’m now officially trademarkingthank-you. From now on, whenever you use this word, please be sure to send me a royalty check.
Another way to protect your ideas is to (mis)use copyright law. You might think that this is a federal law designed to allow you to sue people who steal your ideas. It’s not. Ideas are free. Anyone can use them.Copyright protects theexpression of ideas, the particular arrangement of words or sounds or images. Bob Marley’s estate can’t sue anyone who records a reggae song… only the people who use his precise expression of words or music. Sure, get very good at expressing yourself (like Dylan or Sarah Jones) and then no one can copy your expression. But your ideas? They’re up for grabs, and its a good thing too.