Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton is seeking to trademark [sic] phrases with her son’s name. . . .
According to applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the family’s attorney last week, Fulton wants to trademark “I am Trayvon” and “Justice for Trayvon” for use in DVDs and CDs memorializing the slain teenager.
Fulton’s trademark application could be fuel for critics who contend Martins parents—and civil rights activists like Rev. Al Sharpton—are trying to capitalize on the killing for personal or financial gain. . . . [But] Martin’s family may simply be trying to gain some control over his name, which has been cropping up on t-shirts and hoodies across the country.
So much, so wrong here.
You might think I’d get to the meat of the issue here and skip over yet another snide rehearsal of my mantra that “trademark is not a verb” — that what the reporter means here is that the family is attempting to register a trademark, and that trademarks are earned by use, not registration. But then you could not have read my previous rants on the topic, because you would not have assimilated my thesis, to wit: It is precisely because people (including lawyers) use the phrase “to trademark” that they can make the mistake of thinking that what is being reported here is really what you do in such a situation; that it effectuates some process of “trademarking”; or that, as the story says, you can “gain some control over [a] name” by “trademarking it.”
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