Copyrighting our language

Language barriers and language battles are very real features of modern society.

Now Google is taking over our alphabet.  The world famous search engine company is rebranding itself as Alphabet.  Can Alphabet be seriously trademarked? Will others be allowed to use the same name?

Walt Disney once tried to get Dr Donald Duck, a Scottish medical doctor, to change his name. McDonald’s cannot monopolize the name McDonald, so why cannot others use words in the dictionary? As usual, this will run away before people seriously challenge the copyrighting of the English language.

Some things should be freely available in the public domain. The human genome was not copyrighted but given freely to mankind. So is one’s language. So should be the Bible, but the world’s best seller is worth capitalising and many publishing houses have done so.

Update:

21 Sep 2017: the latest example is a fight over the word ‘naked‘ being used by a small company in Fife, Scotland. The global L’Oreal is challenging the use of this word by the Naked Soap Company as it is so similar to one of its brands

28 Sep 2017: Xylem is a term in biology for the transport system in plants, which conducts water and minerals from the roots throughout the plant. The concept has been used in the name of Xylem, ‘a large American water technology provider, enabling customers worldwide to transport, treat, test and efficiently use water in public utility, residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial settings.’ A good name, but can it trademarked? Can others not use it?

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