Trade mark protection has a limited scope

What’s original? What’s in a name? Questions to keep you going round in circles. – Further to your correspondence from Paul Stratford (Letters, DW 24 January), perhaps your mailbag has more circle ideas, which makes the C4 identity a bit of a lemon.

What’s original? What’s in a name? Questions to keep you going round in circles.

Further to your correspondence from Paul Stratford (Letters, DW 24 January), perhaps your mailbag has more circle ideas, which makes the C4 identity a bit of a lemon.

But leading from that scenario is another difficult issue, which is the exclusivity of business or brand names. Here’s a good example to stoke the arguments about originality – a copy of O2 magazine. O2 is the name of a new SGI Unix computer too, and since we coined the name in 1993 for this free mag for kids for Scottish Health Education Board, it has also become the name of a UK design company as well as a European sportswear brand.

Even with a measure of confidence which is afforded by our limited company registration, copyright rights and application for Front Page as a registered trade mark, there are some grey areas, which, for us, are turning a darker shade of black.

And guess what? Microsoft now has a bit of web-building software called FrontPage whose sub-text proclaims it as supplying “Internet solutions”. Now, like many design companies, we have been assessing the web as a design medium and as an additional service to our clients. We have our own definition and aims to supply “Internet solutions” for our customers, who are establishing a presence on the Net.

However, as Microsoft’s FrontPage becomes more popular, our name is going to be ever more compromised and confused as we promote web design under the same name as a software package. Microsoft has not applied for a registered trade mark for FrontPage in the UK in its category, but even if it did, it could not stop us from using our name in our business sector. Protection is therefore only relative to what business you are in.

Ian McMillan

Managing director

Front Page

Glasgow G3 6JA

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