July 3

Man Claims to Own Trademark for the Word ‘How’

Now comes word of a lawsuit in New York, where a man who used the word how twice in the title of a book he wrote is suing yogurt-maker Chobani for building a marketing campaign emphasizing how.

That’s right: Dov Seidman, author of HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything, claims the way in which Chobani is using how in its current marketing campaign is a blatant rip-off of his book’s use of the word. And he claims that his use of the word is trademark protected.

In a way, Chobani asked for the lawsuit by tweeting to Seidman: “Thanks for inspiring the world to care about ‘how.’ Can you help inspire the food industry, too?”  The Seidman lawsuit claims: “Chobani’s new branding platform … employs ‘HOW’ in precisely the same manner as plaintiffs employ their HOW marks: as a noun connoting responsible and ethical corporate behaviors.(I personally don’t see how being used as a noun in the book’s title, but anyway….)

Bottom line, how could anyone trademark a single-syllable word?

I’d like to trademark awesome so no one could (over)use it anymore. That’s how I’ll get even with the destroyers of good English.

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Posted July 3, 2014 by Gary McCarty in category "Grammar Notes

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