Laura Quilter writes,
derivative work – Nintendo Threatens Cancer Researchers: Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has apparently received a trademark cease & desist from the Pokémon company (Nintendo) after cancer-related research on the Pokemon gene which Pandolfis lab named four years ago, in 2001 received headlines like Pokemon Causes Cancer. Sloan-Kettering has knuckled under, now calling the gene Zbtb7.
Lots more on this if you follow the link…
I understand why Nintendo were mad, but like Ms. Quilter, I can’t understand why the doctors caved in. If their use was non-commercial it is not banned by the the Lanham Act. Even if it was commercial the claim for confusion is nil. The claim for tarnishment under a dilution theory would I think fail under federal law; unlike Ms. Quilter I do think it’s possible that some state law claim might have had a little more juice…if the court could keep a straight face…although I agree Nintendo would have to be complete idiots to bring the case and face the bad publicity.
What’s next, the estate of James Joyce suing everyone who writes about quarks?
The old name is now in the public domain, so the answer is for everybody to use it a lot. As in: I know nothing about the pokemon gene, but George Bush is a liar.
Maybe they “caved in” because on reflection, there was simply no good reason to call the gene “pokemon”, and they decided that reasonable people don’t have to do everything they have the legal power to do?