I have previously discussed my objections to the ludicrous expansion of trademark and copyright laws to cover common expressions and symbols. The latest example is “Linsanity,” which New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has filed to claim and is now in competition with a guy who previously claimed the term as his. “Linsanity” appears to be “the trademarking of a common expression to declare ownership over something that you neither created nor have any legitimate right to own.”
Lin filed his trademark application only to find that, in this contest, Alhambra, Calif., resident Yenchin Chang got there first. It all comes down to court speed in the rush to trademark everything on Earth. Chang insisted that he merely wanted to be “part of the excitement” — presumably by cashing in on the excitement. He was followed in filing by Andrew Slayton, who said he coached Lin in high school and he owns the domain name Linsanity.com. Five others have also filed.
We have previously seen people file over such things as Occupy Wall Street. What I find interesting about this story is the misplaced anger. The outrage is not who should win this race but the fact that there is a race at all. Once again, Congress has done nothing to pull in the runaway use of trademarks and copyrights, which are now strangling the very creativity that they were meant to protect.
What is left in the absence of congressional intervention is another jump ball over common terms and symbols.