Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Open Letter to Leo Stoller, Stealth (tm) Trademark holder

Dear Mr. Stoller,

I was fascinated to read about your courageous efforts to prevent others from infringing on your registered mark, in the NYT and on Language Log, a linguistics blog. I think the post at http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002286.html explains why your letter to the InterActivist Network was both advisable and linguistically frivolous.

After all, if you do not vigorously defend your perceived rights, they might be curtailed and diminished. Stealthy attempts to steal the fruits of your work should be countered with lawyers and a resolve of steel.The thing that makes me a bit sad, though, is that in Microprose's 1987 release "F19 Stealth Fighter," they brazenly used your word - in a context you never used it for, to my knowledge (stealth technology in the sense of radar-defeating military grade airplanes being a bit beyond the realm of air conditioners and insurance what-have-yous) - and made a huge hit. The game I discover was by famed game designer Sid Meier, and was released for the Commodore 64, 128, and later re-released under a different name when the designation of the real USAF stealth fighter became known, the F-117A (Nighthawk). I can't imagine why I grew up playing that game, and not on a Stoller-licensed F19 Stealth (tm) game. Perhaps because stealth is a generic adjective, not a proper trademark at all, in the field of hard-to-detect aircraft?

Still, this all makes me sad, and I wish you nothing but the best. Oh, and have you looked into the portable reference electrodes known as Stelth?

Flippantly yours, &cetera.

I tried sending the above to leo@rentamark.com, but I don't think it went through.


At 3:44 PM, July 05, 2005, Blogger Joe said...

I am eagerly awaiting the resolution of this matter.

I am the inventor of the semi-colon.

I need some legal precedent before I sue the makers of all computer keyboards.

In all seriousness. . . .you've got to be kidding me! How can someone honestly believe they own a SEQUENCE of letters?!?

At 4:07 PM, July 05, 2005, Blogger Eh Nonymous said...

Interesting hyperbole; let's look at your (non-serious) example.

Nobody ever has, or ever will _copyright_ a single character. It would close up the field too fast, much like offering broad protection for the color green (Cf. UPS [brown], AIG [orange], the telephone book, that one I'm thinking of, you know... [yellow]).

Nobody currently has a strong trademark in a single typographic symbol (AT _&_ T notwithstanding) but there are lots of symbols, used in commerce, that have meaning. Here I'm thinking of, for example, the swoosh. One of the simplest possible shapes, and Nike has a famous mark out of it. Amazing.

But what you're talking about is not a valid statement of the law. "How can anyone honestly believe" you might write "they own the sequence of letters MICROSOFT.COM?" But, in fact, Microsoft would almost certainly have a trademark suit against a company that did business in a relevant field (say, computer operating systems) under the name Micro SoftdotCom. It's not the sequence (meaning order), it's that a mark that's deceptively or confusingly similar in sequence and content is not necessarily harmless under trademark law. MicroFost might well also fall afoul of the law. Also Macrosoft, although we're finally getting closer to a probably-safe mark.

It's not the sequence of letters, never has been. It's really about likelihoof of customer confusion, which is a nice flexible tool to approach a competitor with. Like a truncheon, say.

The poor lad, who has filed a lot of lawsuits according to the various articles and posts about him online, is merely trying to act like the makers of Xeroxes - sorry, Xerox (tm) machines - and forthrightly using trademark law to protect what they do in fact have a right to: they are staking their claims.

That said, I think he may well be a jerk.

At 4:37 PM, July 05, 2005, Anonymous shell said...

Clever EN... *lol*

Did you consider submitting this to Overlawyered.com?

It's due to dumbass like this that we lawyers look bad. I pity the fool who takes up on this case. I do hope that it gets dismissed, if not laughed out of the court...

At 2:46 AM, July 06, 2005, Blogger Trevor said...

I used to play F-19 Stealth Fighter on a Commodore 64. I pwn SAM sites!

At 6:57 AM, July 06, 2005, Blogger Eh Nonymous said...

t: rawk rawk on.

I believe my first compy was a Tandy 3000...ish. It had many colors and a soundblaster card and could operate at blazing speeds in excess of 9 Mhz.

Ah, F19 Stealth Fighter, with your laminated keyboard cover template (hit +/- to throttle up or throttle down, and enter to fire your missile or actuate the camera or other special equipment - but only if the bay doors were first opened. Unless it was your extra fuel tank.)

Aye, the SAMs had no chance, but it was really with fuel-air explosives that young Eh Nonymous was at his deadliest... or with his Vulvan cannon in close dogfights... or using the Harpoon air-to-water torpedo.

Good times...

At 5:18 AM, March 06, 2010, Blogger LEO STOLLER EXPOSED said...

On February 11, 2010, the Illinois Appellate Court (First District) granted an order taking judicial notice that Leo Stoller had been deceptive.

The Illinois Appellate Court, on its own motion, also ordered that Leo Stoller show cause as to why he should not be held in Contempt of Court regarding sixteen appeals. The Court also ordered Leo Stoller to show cause as to why those appeals should not be dismissed.

The Illinois Appellate Court entered the orders in view of an earlier order entered by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In that order, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Leo Stoller had been deceptive and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney to determine whether Leo Stoller should be prosecuted for perjury.

The Leo Stoller Truth Serum Blog


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