Bradley M. Kuhn

USPTO does copyleft-ish hack

Bradley M. Kuhn at

I'm not often saying good things about the USPTO, so I should take the opportunity: The trademark revocation hack to pressure the change of the name of the sports team called the Redskins was a legal hack in the same caliber as copyleft.

Kudos to the Obama USPTO for this one.

Now, Obama, issue an executive order to stop issuing business method patents and I'll have more good things to say about the USPTO. :)

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I agree with Richard, but I'll add another comment. PTO judges are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires independence, integrity and impartiality. Just because they're part of the Executive Branch doesn't mean they can be told what to do. As a lawyer, my professional code of conduct said I had a fiduciary duty to Red Hat and my boss couldn't tell me to do anything contrary to that. Of course, I could get fired for not doing what my boss said. :-)

You misunderstood my comment. I think of copyleft as using the law to accomplish the opposite of what it was designed for, a "hack" (and one that works). Here, the law worked exactly as designed, it provides a means to strike a mark from the register and that's what happened. You seem to be suggesting that I was using "hack" as a pejorative and I was not.

Pamela Chestek at 2014-06-19T15:40:56Z

Richard Fontana, Mike Linksvayer likes this.

When speaking to @bkuhn the appropriate phrase is "my bosses".

Richard Fontana at 2014-06-19T15:51:38Z

Richard Fontana, Pamela Chestek likes this.

I think I get where you're coming from on this, but it's based on an incorrect assumption. If by a hack you mean using the law to encourage use rather than the way the law was design to prohibit use, that's not what happened. The only thing a cancellation does is take away some evidentiary benefits, not any fundamental trademark rights. Although there is some disagreement amongst legal scholars, most probably Pro-Football still owns a Redskins trademark and will be able to successfully prevent anyone else from using it. So to the extent you think this is a good ploy because it leverages the absence of exclusivity, it doesn't do that.

Pamela Chestek at 2014-06-20T14:24:41Z

Richard Fontana likes this.

"Hacks" or not, these things do have sky-high smoke/fire ratios.

Mike Linksvayer at 2014-06-20T21:37:53Z

Richard Fontana likes this.