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Trademark My Words

This morning’s Dilbert cartoon made me think. Regular readers of my blog will know that Dilbert cartoons quite frequently make me think but I swear that I have other muses. 🙂 The topic of debate is registered trademarks and how difficult it is to acquire one these days.

Everyone knows that pretty much every three-letter and four-letter domain name has already been registered. We know that if it starts with ‘i’ then it belongs to Apple. We have seen Web 2.0 deliver the quirkiest names know to man for services. There are some exceptions that still hold an interpretation of what they might do, like flickr, they are flicks, pictures whatever you want to call them. At least there is an association of sorts. But why are we seeing these names? It’s not because studies have shown that people like funky, meaningless names. It’s because every God damn word or phrase in the world has been trademarked. Soon we will be charged per word for every blog post we write as we will be speaking purely in trademarks.

Everyone knows the importance of trademarks for protecting your product and name, stopping it from being defamed or used to gain popularity for somebody else by ill-gotten means. The big problem that we are seeing though is that the English language doesn’t contain enough short, catchy words that can be used; we are fast becoming a world of uninterpretable service names and product titles. Where does the future of the language lie? For many years non-techies have accused us techies of speaking a different language. We spoke about PC registers, buffers, network overlays and such but at least we still spoke English. Today I fear the accusations of speaking a different language are starting to come true…

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