Friday, March 10, 2006


Amazon's patent and trademark madness

More silliness at has come to my attention since I wrote about their undeserved patent for their "1-Click" feature a couple of weeks ago. Now I see that they have created an icon (they call it a "badge") reading Real Name™. They place this doohickey next to the name of a reviewer when they've ascertained from his credit card information that he's writing under his real, genuine, actual, honest to God name. After all, if he's writing under his real name, they reason, by posting the review he's putting his reputation at stake, and so the fact that he's using his real name deserves the spotlight.

I think the significance that Amazon is attaching to a reviewer's use of his real name is a bit exaggerated. But never mind that: what in the world is the TM doing there? The reviewer is using his real name. That's what I would call it. That's what you would call it. Where do they get off trademarking the use of the phrase "real name" to refer to someone's real name? Why would they do that?

I was about to say that I hoped they didn't have the audacity to register the trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office, before it occurred to me to look for myself. Well, here it is, folks. There doesn't seem to be a way to create a direct permanent link to the details, but you can find the following information for trademark number 78627630 at the USPTO website.

What are they going to trademark next, the word "book"?

Goods and ServicesIC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Business information services in the field of identifying and verifying credentials of users associated with submitted, posted or syndicated content. FIRST USE: 20050410. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20050410
Standard Characters Claimed 
Design Search Code 
Serial Number78627630
Filing DateMay 11, 2005
Current Filing Basis1A
Original Filing Basis1A
Owner (APPLICANT)Amazon Technologies, Inc. CORPORATION NEVADA Attn: Trademarks PO Box 8102 Reno NEVADA 89507
Live/Dead IndicatorLIVE

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