Trademark Wars: Lawsuits Filed Over Ownership of “Yuuup!”

I have repeated complained about the ludicrous scope of U.S. copyright and trademark laws in allowing people to claim common terms, symbols, and expressions (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Now, R&B singer Trey Songz is in court in a dispute with Storage Wars personality Dave Hester over rights to profit from the word “Yuuup!”

Songz filed a counterclaim in Hester’s trademark suit against the singer and songwriter. Hester, who shouts “Yuuup!” as he bids on abandoned storage lockers and obtained a trademark on the term in December.

Songz, whose real name is Tremaine Neverson, insists that he owns the expression while Nester insists “Neverson’s [version] resembles an animal-like or nonhuman squeal which begins with a distinct ‘yeeee’ sound before finishing with a squeal-like ‘uuuup’ sound, and is distinct and different from Hester’s more monosyllabic-sounding guttural auction bidding phrase.”

What should be the focus is the absurdity of both claims and the continued expansion of trademark and copyright laws to claim ownership over common terms, expressions, and symbols. When will Congress act to end this nonsense?

As for the rival claims, you can compare and decide:

Source: NY Daily News as first seen on ABA Journal.

31 thoughts on “Trademark Wars: Lawsuits Filed Over Ownership of “Yuuup!””

  1. Well it will most likely be thrown out of court because when the word yup is used it could be written as the following : Yup,Yeap,yepp,yulp,yap (if your country) and david hesters “Yuuup” <— 3 u's means you lose? perhaps songz has his as yuppp (or yeppp even) and you can't get the two mixed up mind you… now if we could see some lyrics it would be so on right now lol

  2. Copyright is the mother of all injustice…

    How one even dares to claim he ‘owns’ an idea, a term, an invention, ANYTHING, if ALL that one ever knows and thinks of stems from what OTHER people put in him…

    If you want to claim an idea for yourself, please make sure you are born on MARS, alone. After that, I’m open to have a talk… that is, if you can.
    Simplest issue ever.

    1. Even as an anarcho-capitalist, I’ve struggled with the concept of IP protection. You have now convinced me that I can remain consistant to my philosophy. Thanks

  3. As French foreign minister Talleyrand famously said: “Treason is a matter of dates.” By this he meant that it very much matters when one says or does something, not just what one says or does.

    “Do you mean today,” the incredulous persecutor asked in response to President Clinton’s statement, “that because you are not engaging in sexual activity with Ms. Lewinsky during the deposition that the statement of Mr. Bennett might literally be true?”

    Actually, yes. “Is” does refer to current activity and so “is not at this time” constitutes a truthful answer. But the persecuting attorney did not want the “literal” truth (what other type did he have in mind?) In fact, he wanted a contradiction in testimony — any one about any thing would do — which he could then use as a basis for alleging “perjury.” Everyone involved in the legal proceedings understood this. But to achieve this contradiction, the persecuting attorney needed to imply that “is” covers the past and future, as well as the present, like Schiller’s example of an arrow’s parabolic flight arrested in mid arch by “is.” Everything hinged on trying to put over this unexamined and unstated metaphysical supposition of eternal continuity. Hence the persecuting attorney’s use of the loaded phrase “during the deposition” which fairly drips with the accusation that the “activities” in question would resume after the proceedings. What a farce.

    President Clinton eventually had to answer “yes” — again, truthfully — to a question phrased in terms of “has there ever been …?” which properly refers to some period in the past, but which does not imply any present or future activity. The persecuting attorney could have used this phrasing in the first place, but he would only have gotten the truthful, although embarrassing, answer that he eventually got. But, again, he did not want a truthful answer and worked mightily to invoke the Platonic metaphysical “is” in his questions, since the almost universal public ignorance of what that word means — or doesn’t mean in any particular instance — practically guarantees the “unsavory nest of confusions” about which Schiller warned us and under the cover of which an enterprising political attorney might imply much while failing to obtain the desired contradictory testimony.

    After much reflection on this matter, it now seems to me that President Clinton deserves to claim copyright only upon the notion of the present tense of “is,” while leaving claim to the word’s eternal Platonic “essence” with Plato, who properly deserves the philosophical opprobrium of the ages for formulating such theo-logical nonsense in the first place.

    1. Michael Murry,
      That was well dissected. The other issue that was seen as duplicity by Clinton was in his accurate statement that he never had sex with that women.
      By the judgment of about two thirds of American males sex is only defined by having intercourse. I haven’t seen the figures but I’ll bet that many women would also define sex that way. While I personally have a broader definition of sex, there was much hypocrisy present at the time and the prurient pleasure of Clinton’s discomfit added to the enjoyment.

  4. “Among the abstractions of Formal Logic, that from the time context of the actual judgment stands out as an outrageous fiction. For if a truth is to be of use at all, it has to be used at some time, and it is essential to its truth that it should be used at the right time. So the time-relations of our judgments are vital to their truth, and indeed to their meaning. Who can say whether ‘it is hot’ is true, or indeed what it means, unless he knows when it is said? Only a logic, therefore, which has systematically abstracted from meaning can dare to substitute the monstrous abstraction of a timeless ‘is’ for the various tenses of our actual predications. Nor is its abstraction rendered more defensible by the fact that here for once Formal Logic parts company with its twin sister, Grammar.

    “The situation is greatly aggravated by the further dogma that truth is ‘eternal,’ and that if anything is ‘once true’ it is ‘always true.’ For the eternity of truth is an unsavory nest of confusions from which a brood of paralogisms is hatched.” — F. C. S. Schiller, Logic for Use

  5. “Plato, for example, unhesitatingly accepts the claim of language, embodied in the form of predication, to express stable being and to guarantee absolute reality. When we say of a flying arrow ‘[Look], now it is at A,’ the ‘is’ means a rest which arrests the arrow’s motion, and stultifies the evidence of our senses. Thus in a sense his whole Ideal Theory is evolved out of the verbal implications of the word ‘is,’ which still haunt modern logic with the unsolved problem of the existential import of the copula. That which can be predicated, i.e. stated intelligibly, alone is, and conversely whatever is can alone be stated intelligibly, while whatever changes both is and is not, and so flounders unintelligibly between being and not-being. When our senses, therefore, present us with a flow of changes they discredit themselves. The real cannot change, as the sensible seems to do. Thus, appearance cannot be reality. That which is is to be grasped by reason alone, and the changeless alone is real. What a weird phantasmagoria the Platonic metaphysician conjures up out of the little word ‘is’!” — F. C. S. Sciller, Logic for Use

  6. “The words is and is not, which imply the agreement or disagreement of two ideas, must exist, explicitly or implicitly, in every assertion. …

    “The complete attempt to deal with the term is would go to the form and matter of every thing in existence, at least, if not to the possible form and matter of all that does not exist, but might. As far as could be done, it would give the grand Cyclopaedia, and its yearly supplement would be the history of the human race for the time.” – Augustus De Morgan

  7. “ …[N]o semantic study seems to have provided a satisfactory analysis of the verb to be, despite the fact that we use it in everyday speech, in all its forms, with a certain regularity.

    “This was more than evident to Pascal (in a fragment from 1655): ‘One cannot begin to define being without falling victim to this absurdity: one cannot define a word without beginning with the term is, be it expressly stated or merely understood. To define being, therefore, you have to say is, thus using the term to be defined in the definition.’ … the problem is that this magic word helps us define almost everything but is defined by nothing. In semantics we would speak of a primitive, the most primitive of all.

    “… as Peirce said, Being is that abstract aspect that belongs to all objects expressed in concrete terms: it has an unlimited extension and null intension (or comprehension). Which is like saying that it refers to everything but has no meaning.” — Umberto Eco, Kant and the Platypus

  8. “The little word is has its tragedies; it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein too lies the danger. Whenever I use the word is, except in sheer tautology, I deeply misuse it; and when I discover my error, the world seems to fall asunder and the members of my family no longer know one another.” – George Santayana, Skepticism and Animal Faith

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