[SciPy-User] Matlab trademark - was: Re: SciPy-User Digest, Vol 82, Issue 49

Matthew Brett matthew.brett@gmail....
Fri Jun 25 14:04:25 CDT 2010


Hi,

> It also requires that we restrict ourselves to descriptive use of the
> trademarked term.  Calling a module "matlab", even as part of
> "scipy.io.matlab", might not be in line with the latter requirement,

I'm going to suggest 'scipy.io.matfiles' again.  Then there's no
trademark in the name, as far as I am aware.

> I tried hard to get her to agree that we did not need to use the
> R-in-a-circle symbol at all.  However, her second email below notes a
> case in which someone was forced by a US court to include the
> R-in-a-circle symbol in a fair use of someone else's registered
> trademark:
>
> G.D. Searle & Co. v. Hudson Pharm Corp 715 F.2d 837, 839( 3rd
> Cir. 1983)

http://openjurist.org/715/f2d/837/gd-searle-co-v-hudson-pharmaceutical-corporation-gd-and-82-5600-82-5621

In that case, the judge concluded that one pharmaceutical company had
deliberately changed its packaging to make their product look more
like that of a competitor, and, as part of that packaging, had not
made clear that the competitor's trademark was a trademark.  The
initial restraining order did insist on (TM) and more information next
to the trademark, but the subsequent decision was only to agree that
there had been an attempt to confuse as to trademark ownership, and
that the effects of the restraining order had adequately rectified
that.  The decision does not set it as a point of principle that (R)
or (TM) should be next to a trademark.

Our job (legally and in order to make the documentation clear) is to
make sure that when we say MATLAB, it's absolutely clear that MATLAB
means the Mathwork's software.  I continue to think the MATLAB [1]
(etc) approach is less embarrassing.  I think it covers the grounds of
the complaint in the cited case.   It also matches with the reasonable
sounding advice we got earlier from Jonathan Guyer about the approach
taken at NIST.   Joe - maybe you could ask whether your advisors
agree?

Best,

Matthew


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