Saturday, April 05, 2008

Newspaper vs. Newspaper

I don't like the looks of this.

So, I went to hear Bob Dufy of (and others) speak at WashU's New Media Symposium.

Heard that the St. Louis Post Dispatch recently trademarked "The Platform."
This means that now the *original* platform has to find a new name b/c they didn't think to trademark. Not trademarking - ok, so it was a definite miss-step on the part of but does it have to come to this very shady and disappointing conclusion? Some sortof patent office game of capture the flag? Oh geez.

Still, I don't like to look for bad things. I really really really don't! It's just bad vibes. So I go, ok, let's look at the dates, I'm sure they will all line up and it will be all a very funny story!

Let's play calendar:
  • December 07 (right after I found out the thing even existed -- through a high school connection, guilty) article on in St. Louis Magazine.
  • Fast forward to March 08 - The Platform(tm) on St. Louis Post dispatch goes live.
Ooo, I don't like that 3 month difference there. It makes me go, "hmm."

Now, I can't quite figure out how to work the US Gov't's trademark search, found HERE, to see when exactly the trademark was registered for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I'd like to know that date!

I learned, quite excitingly at the symposium, that news outlets have been opening up things like files (notably, the JFK files, oooo), etc... to their readers, saying - "We can't find anything! See if you can find something."

I don't think I've disclosed this, but I named my favorite cat, Nancy Drew - so I'm guessing it goes without saying that I love a chance to sleuth!

So hey Scott and Blythe (my two readers -- if you're not one of them, you try, too! and email me) - can you figure out how to search for a trademark's date? I don't want to point fingers, I don't want to scowl at anyone, I just want to know. And if anyone is in the wrong here (I'm no lawyer, so I'm talking about breaking Natural Law here I guess), I just want them to know that we the people, know.



H. Alan Scott said...

We will get to the bottom of this if its the last thing I do! I read you on my phone now, Lori on the go if you will, its fantastic. But once I get home tonight I will hop on the research train. Xoxo

Lolololori said...

Go on with your sleuthing self. Exciting that I'm on your phone! Your phone must be very intelligent with a truly discerning taste in prose. But um, hello - will you start using twitter - i KNOW you will love it.

Melody said...

I am suprised that they were able to restrict the trademark if it was already in use, the USPTO should ahve caught something like that... although the TM symbol is not in use anywhere on their site so that seems like it would make it hard to defend... I don't know though since I aint no lawyer. But it looks like L'Oreal patented the phrase in '02 there is a registered use in media here from 2004. They do note that there is no exclusive right to the term platform though, so I am wondering who really has the right to tardemark it.

Dana said...


"THE PLATFORM" isn't officially registered by the P-D if the have only the "tm" denotation by their name. Additionally, The original Platform has 90 days to contest the P-D's claim after the P-D filed. In order to establish a right over the mark over the P-D they original Platform has to prove use of the mark first (owning domain names set precedence) and show commercialization. Secondly, it all depends upon the genre in which the P-D filed. Unless the original Platform can show that they are the authority under this mark - and I see multiple filings concerning the distribution of digital media waiting for review according the the USPTO database - it won't work in their favor.

Curiously, I don't see where Lee Enterprises has filed on the USPTO database unless they're filing something other than "THE PLATFORM" or another entity is filing on their behalf.

(If you go to, click on "trademarks" in the sidebar and then click "database search" you can look to see what's been filed, what hasn't, what claim is dead, live, etc.)

I sound like a damn dork. I'm not a lawyer either, but I've gone through the trademark process once and am going again.

Dana said...

Gawd, sorry for the typos.

Lolololori said...

Wow! You guys are for serious! I've gotta give your comments another look, b/c dang, ladies! I am loving the sleuthing. Snaps for your excellent trademark-search-page navigating skills.

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