Well, I'm trying
to finish stuff up before heading off on vacation. But for those who were kind enough to fire off emails, I thought I'd give a final update on the Post's pilfering
of the name of this site for their own online, DC-based, politics column. I finally heard from washingtonpost.com's Executive Editor Douglas B. Feaver on Tuesday. Their line, in essence, is: it's a common phrase; others have used it;
you have no claim to it; we'll keep using it for Terry Neal's column.
They make some good points, some misleading or off-point points, and a few rather tendentious points. But there you go.
Here's my two cents on this: A number of trademark attorneys have offered their services to me pro bono on this matter (offers I sincerely appreciate), telling me that my case would actually be reasonably strong, though certainly no slam-dunk. The heart of the matter seems to be that in trademark law the issue is the similarity of the names and the similarity of the products and whether the combined proximity would lead to people confusing one for the other. Thus it wouldn't necessarily be relevant if someone else were using the same title in a different context, etc. Other lawyers, though sympathetic, have written in to say that the whole thing is just too muddy and the phrase too commonly used to make anything of it. Which view is closer to the mark? I haven't a clue. I'm not a lawyer. And, obviously, I don't have the time or the resources to get into a legal tussle with the Post. But frankly I've never seen this as a legal issue. Just a matter of doing the right thing or the wrong thing, and my preference for the Post to do the former rather than the latter.
Anyway, I've said my piece. Thanks as always to the regular readers of this site. Your support of this site, in all forms, is greatly appreciated. Now I've got to go pack fishing gear.