Owning ratings

Health GradesEric Goldman:

A Colorado judge has reached the remarkable conclusion that a hospital publicizing its star ratings and other recognition from a third party rating service in its marketing material might be committing copyright and trademark infringement. This is a little like saying that it could be copyright and trademark infringement for a law school to include its US News rankings in its marketing material or for a book publisher to issue a press release announcing its ranking on the New York Times bestseller list. CRAZY.

Sounds that way.  But it was a federal judge who reached that conclusion, right?  So how crazy could it be?

Anyway, next thing you know someone will be arguing that you can own batting averages or something!

Via Marty Schwimmer’s new @TrademarkBlog feed on Twitter.

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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

One Response to “Owning ratings”

  1. July 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    Not familiar with the particulars of this case, but this is the business model behind JD Power and other companies purely in the business of rating/ranking businesses. JD Power confers rankings and then charges third parties to feature the results using JD Power’s trademarks (such as the distinctive gold award statue…) in their advertising. So there is business precedent on this front to distinguish it from the batting average or US News example (which ultimately makes its money by selling magazines, not rating colleges).