WikiFur:Trade and service marks
Trademarks and service marks are distinctive signs or indicators used respectively to identify a particular product or service.
In the United States, such marks are obtained through "use in commerce". They fall under federal law when used in interstate commerce (such as selling goods and advertising services provided over the Internet). While registration of marks with the federal government is not required, doing so provides many benefits, in particular acting as evidence in federal courts for exclusive ownership throughout the United States.
Other countries often require official registration for trademark prosecution, but have a civil tort of "passing off" for those who trade on the goodwill of unregistered marks. Some countries - including the U.S. - also recognize trademark dilution, whereby a famous mark is harmed by its use by others in relatively unrelated markets.
Several common names within furry fandom are or have been registered trades or services, including Anthrocon, Midwest Furfest, FurCon and ConFurence. (The term "furry", as used by FurryCon, has been found to be descriptive in the USA.)
When trademarks are not registered, and more than one person or organization wishes to use a particular mark, problems can arise - see Festival of the Feral and the YiffyToys name dispute.
WikiFur editors should correctly use and record details of marks within articles, registered or otherwise, but symbols such as ™ and ® should not be used.
WikiFur as a mark
WikiFur is a service mark, and also a "common-law" trademark when applied to goods. As founder, and chief advertiser and promoter of the site, GreenReaper (Laurence Parry) asserts ownership of this mark in text and logo form.
On 23 February 2008, GreenReaper applied to register the WikiFur service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The mark was published in the Official Gazette on 8 July 2008, and registered on 23 September 2008.
The registration (no. 3505080) is for the text "WikiFur" (a so-called standard character claim), and covers the areas of:
- Providing an online publication in the nature of an interactive encyclopedia in the field of anthropomorphic animals
- Electronic publishing services, namely, publication of text and graphic works of others on the Internet featuring anthropomorphic animals
- Providing information, news and commentary in the field of recreation and leisure activities
The intent of registration is to ensure that the WikiFur "brand" remains associated with the ongoing output of a single group of editors, and is not misused to represent the activities of others.
Restrictions on use
You do not need any authorization to use the word WikiFur (or the WikiFur logo) when identifying this site or its services, such as when linking to a particular page or talking about WikiFur. Such use is permitted under trademark law. However, you are not permitted to trade on its its goodwill by implying that other goods or services are associated with WikiFur, unless that association has been assented to by the owner of the mark.
Some direct examples of mark infringement or "passing off" would be operating a similar website called "WikiFur", or using a logo confusingly similar to the WikiFur logo. Less obvious examples might include baking a cake iced with the WikiFur logo for a charity auction, opening a WikiFur shop at CafePress or Lulu, or implying that WikiFur is sponsoring a quiz you are holding at a convention. This does not mean that you cannot do such things; just that you must request and obtain permission first. Permission will normally be granted if your goals are aligned with those of the WikiFur project and its administration.
Authorized users of WikiFur marks include our foreign-language sister projects, whose administrators are licensed to use them on the condition that they provide a similar service in a language not already provided by a sister project. Such vetting is intended to ensure that people get what they expect when they see WikiFur's name or logo.
Examples of use
- This section is written in the spirit of "Proper use of the Photoshop trademark"
There is often confusion about how to use trademarks in written communication. Here are a few examples highlighting what not to do.
- Trademarks are not verbs.
INCORRECT: The furry fan was Wikifurred.
CORRECT: The furry fan's biography was written on the WikiFur® service.
- Trademarks are not nouns.
INCORRECT: WikiFur pokes fun at the artist.
CORRECT: The artist's biography on the WikiFur® service pokes fun at them.
- Trademarks are proper adjectives and should be followed by the generic terms they describe.
INCORRECT: The FFFF vote was manipulated via WikiFur.
CORRECT: The Fandom's Favorite Fursuit Fracas™ vote was managed using the WikiFur® service.
- Always capitalize and use trademarks in their correct form.
INCORRECT: I was WikiFurred by my friend.
ALSO INCORRECT: I was Wikifurred by my ex.
CORRECT: My biography was written by an editor on the WikiFur® service.
- Trademarks must never be used as slang terms.
INCORRECT: A wikifurry sees her hobby as an art form.
REALLY INCORRECT: My hobby is wikifurring MLP mucks.
CORRECT: Those who use the WikiFur® service to write articles about My Little Pony® multiplayer worlds™ as a hobby see their work as an art form.
- Trademarks must never be used in possessive form, or abbreviated.
INCORRECT: WikiFur's downtime is crazy.
DOUBLY INCORRECT: Take a look at WF's new bugs.
CORRECT: You should be glad that the WikiFur® service is up at all, especially with all the new features leveraged.
- The trademark owner should be identified whenever possible.
WikiFur® is either a registered service mark or a trademark of Laurence "GreenReaper" Parry in the United States™ and/or other countries.
- ↑ Office Action - U.S. Trademark Application No. 85930861 - FURRYCON - United States Patent and Trademark Office (29 August 2013)
- ↑ Copyright of the current logo rests with MelSkunk, who has licensed their rights under the GFDL.
- ↑ Official Gazette, page 1205 - United States Patent and Trademark Office (8 July 2008)
- ↑ WikiFur registration - United States Patent and Trademark Office (23 September 2008)
- ↑ For "this site", read "the site hosted at the domain pointed to by WikiFur.com, or as otherwise designated by the owner of the mark".