The last best place of all — the Lanham Act. From the Billings, Montana Gazette:

Congress finalized a measure Wednesday to prevent the unofficial Montana slogan, “The Last Best Place,” from being trademarked [sic] for a year.

The provision, written by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will stop the federal government from spending any money in fiscal year 2008 to process trademark applications using the phrase. Congress on Wednesday finished a comprehensive spending bill containing the measure, and President Bush is expected to sign the bill.

This is a little troubling. Generally when Congress starts micromanaging policies, it’s troubling, and this is an example. Senator Baucus has done right by his constituent, the State of Montana, but it’s only a matter of time before the Disneys and other big IP shops of the world switch their attention from copyright, which they have completely perverted via their influence (read: gelt) in Congress, to trademark. If specific would-be trademark registrations are going to be the subject of legislation in the future, the already-stacked deck is going to be even more ominously unbalanced in favor of Big IP than it is now.

That should chill your December!

By Ron Coleman

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION blog author Ron Coleman is a member of Dhillon Law Group in their New York City and Montclair, New Jersey offices. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Princeton University.

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