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Legalese


When this comment claimed that panospace is registered / copyrighted and I should change name for my blog, I asked my readers for opinions and temporarily stopped blogging.

I did not specify that what I wanted was common sense, not legal opinion. Legal advice took center stage. I know the applicable laws and the usual disclaimers apply. Intellectual property law, while not main topic of this blog, is key to both software developers and photographers, both of whom produce very valuable intellectual property.

Some interesting comments were made.

Panospace is indeed a protected trade mark in Australia. Find trade mark 1025776. The wheel was patented in Australia too. I have not been contacted (yet?) by the trade mark holder. Should I seek proactively a positive neighborhood relationship?

Copyright does not apply. Or does it? copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself (ideas may be patented). In France the lightning of the Eiffel Tower is copyrighted. In Belgium architects own the rights to the image of the buildings they design. And in Australia?

Trade marks are national in scope. Or are they? What the Berne Convention is for copyright, the Madrid Protocol would like to be for trade marks – the attempts to internationalize trade mark protection have not really worked so far and the discussion is beyond the scope of this blog.

In the U.S., absent federal registration, trade mark rights are established through use. In Canada registration of a trade mark is not mandatory but provides certain advantages. What happens in France does not concern me. This blog is no business and does not need “advantages”. I have better things to do than feed the lawyers.

In terms of trade mark, each national jurisdiction has its own namespace. So all we have established so far is that the word panospace is protected in the Australian namespace (pun intended).

Talking of namespace – I now understand what “registered” means in the comment that started all of this. It is a registered domain, not a registered trade mark. The domain panospace.com is registered with a French registrar on a server in France. It has little influence on other top level domains or on international trade marks. Anybody could register and legally use panospace.co.uk, panospace.it, panospace.net.

Not all registrations are born equal.

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