Meet some bloggers. Whatever.

John Welch asks, in his naive but charming way:

TTABlog query: Who, if anyone, owns the rights to the mark MEET THE BLOGGERS? I coined the term in 2005, and Marty Schwimmer and I hosted the first two events (San Diego and Toronto) under that title. Ron Coleman joined us for the third, in Chicago. And Jeremy Phillips (IPKAT) was responsible for the Berlin meeting. [Ms. Chestek! Ms. Pamela Chestek! Please pick up the white courtesy phone. We have a trademark ownership question!]

The “mark” MEET THE BLOGGERS?

I guess Mr. “Acquired Distinctiveness” still doesn’t get it…

On the other hand I happen to think at least the moral rights to the term, and if there is a trademark that as well, do indeed reside in John along with Marty Schwimmer, seeing as how they first used it in commerce, jointly, the first two years.

I always assumed it was “theirs,” and, well, I did associate the term with a single source (them, jointly — by which I mean as an unincorporated association, not “both single sources at the same time”).  I assumed last year’s use was under license (and it was overseas anyway) and therefore did not in any way undermine their claim to the term.

That’s why I was a little surprised to learn from John and Marty, upon an email inquiry as to whether I could join them again in sponsoring the event in Seattle this spring as I did in Chicago two years ago (um, that was me, wasn’t it?  I thought so…), that it was out of their hands:  Seattle homeboy and blog-meeting usurper Mike Atkins had unilaterally declared sponsorship by his firm, and that was all she wrote.

In fact, this “Meet the Bloggers” event is not only being sponsored by Graham and Dunn, it’s being held — they’ve decided! — in their plushy, corporate waterfront offices.  In contrast to, well, a location such as this gritty, world-famous, underground cultural icon the boys who invented “Meet the Bloggers” chose in 2007:

Authorized bloggers

Authorized bloggers

Well, I guess the young, clean-cut home town favorite with the quick draw “wins” this one, huh.  You know how it goes out in Washington — when it comes time to play, they play by Microsoft Rules.  So, okay, drinks are on Graham & Dunn, no need to walk underground, and at least Marty and I don’t have to run up whatever the Michigan Avenue of Seattle is looking for a cash machine as we did in Chicago.  You can RSVP here.

Yeah, I smell acquiescence on this “infringement,” or is it just that rainy Seattle atmosphere?   It’s a brutal world out there, boys, especially for descriptive would-be trademarks in the making.  You should both know about that.  But I’ll grant, you may well have thought you could trust trademark law bloggers, too…  Live and learn.

(Hat tip to Pamela Chestek!)

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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

7 Responses to “Meet some bloggers. Whatever.”

  1. February 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    LOL! I remember you had to make the trip to the cash machine! Ah, didn’t realize the back-story behind this year’s do. The plot thickens – looks like John needs to work that trademark prosecution magic, we’ll all send in declarations.

  2. John L. Welch
    March 1, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    Ron: Didn’t Mike Atkins take the photo that you are displaying at your website? Anyway, I’m a little disturbed that the “Meet the Bloggers” event seems to be going “mainstream.” Perhaps its time for a rebel group to sprout up? If only I could come up with a name!

  3. John L. Welch
    March 1, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    PS: At the time I “coined” the “mark” MEET THE BLOGGERS, the movie “Meet the Fockers” was still kicking around. I thought “Bloggers” was a memorable play on “Fockers.” In other words, back in 2005, the phrase MEET THE BLOGGERS seemed a bit more clever than it does today. Now it just sort of lies there like a dead fish on a Seattle wharf.

  4. March 1, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Did Mike take that picture? I don’t know — I just saw it, liked it, and took it for myself!

    Meet the… there was a move called that? Really?

  5. March 1, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    And I thought those gatherings were such nice, friendly events. Maybe I’ll start a Meet the Tweeters reception – of course, we all have room for more parties in our INTA agendas. I am looking forward to Mike’s (and BTW that’s Graham & Dunn, not Dunne*), and lots of others! But I hope not to encounter any trade mark monopolists anywhere in Seattle in May …


    *Thanks for the fix! Done. — RDC

  6. March 1, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Whatever the trademark issues, I’m looking forward to meeting you all!

  7. March 3, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    While the Billy Goat Tavern was a fantastic choice of venue, I kinda like the idea of free drinks!