UnNews:United Kingdom sues United States over place name trademark infringement
3 April 2006
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland today brought a case against the United States of America for what they described as a massive case of trademark infringement and trademark dilution in the naming of important towns, cities and other placenames. Hundreds of examples were listed in the documents presented to the court, but lawyers for the ancient kingdom, speaking to the press, said that the most damaging infringements were the case of the state and city of New York, the city of Boston, the state of New Hampshire, and, worst of all, the region known as New England. They also asserted that several famous English trademarks, like London, were not just used once by American towns and cities but no less than 21 times.
"What would a visitor to New London, Missouri, think of the the London brand?" asked Jeff deJeff, a British lawyer "He'd think it was a small dump of only one thousand white people. We have to protect the London brand. We have to protect all our brands. The York brand has existed, in one form or another, since 71 AD. Why should a sprawling cesspit on the Hudson River drag its reputation down?"
The United States has vowed to fight the action, citing a great deal of technical law type stuff that the reporter didn't write down. The essence was that the United Kingdom never copyrighted or trademarked the names, in many cases actually named the places with the contested names when they were still in control of them (prior to spinning off the US and its subsiduaries for tax reasons) and that the names were used for the purposes of satire, an artistic license that would allow their use. They also point out that Canada is still allowed to use the trademarked Nova Scotia, Australia uses New South Wales and France retains New Caledonia
"Of course we named them" deJeff countered. "But when the assets of the North America operation were lost to us in a hostile takeover those trademarks were not assigned to the new state."
North York, Toronto mayor Don Mills concurred. "We had to rename this town from Toronto to York back to Toronto after realising that an infringing party had applied the new York name in Buffalo without the consent of Her Majesty. We expect to be reimbursed for the full cost of changing all of the names yet again, a rather expensive proposition now that Toronto (York) now has a population of 2.4 million people. We also are pursuing Daimler-Chrysler for the use of the Chrysler New Yorker name."
Upper Canada has also filed claims asserting exclusive North American rights to the London name and the Thames River branding, under a licensing agreement signed by colonial United Empire Loyalists with the UK in 1784.
The cases follow the successful action by the Bailiwick of Jersey, a British dependemcy which sued the state of New Jersey for copyright infringement and to demand punative damages for dragging the good name of Jersey through the mud. A judge from New York awarded the dependency $100 Billion dollars damages, considerably more than Jersey had originally demanded. The French were apparently considering suing as well over the New Orleans, but considered the matter settled when the city sank under the sea.