familiar words

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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sevil
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familiar words

Post by sevil » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:26 pm

i would like to know if known words such as on a belt ie. "caution" wording on a strip of webbing ( product) can be copyrighted.
susan

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:54 pm

Hi Susan,
I doubt whether any court would find a single word or a couple of words, especially if they were commonplace ones like 'caution', sufficiently creative to attract copyright.
However it might be that if the words formed part of a more elaborate artistic design and that design had been registered, or the words used were part of a trade mark, then copying them might well amount to infringement of design right or of a trade mark.
For an example of a case where words associated with the designer Vivienne Westwood were found to have been copied by another garment manufacturer, see this report
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

runnett
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Post by runnett » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:48 am

It reminds me of medicine bottles with "may cause drowsiness", "take one four times daily", "Don't operate machinery"...etc. These are common place phrases which are established globally in context of taking perscription medicine.
Using a typical font/typeface you could print them onto a t-shirt as a slogan without infringing. In the above example, the only things you need to avoid are specific pharmaceutical products, services, designs or manufacturers. I suppose if you wanting to use a trademarked name for a witty slogan, try contacting the IP owner. You'll be surprised nowadays how some corporates may react positively to new brand marketing approach.

For example i was granted, under fair dealing, by Nokia to use and adapt an image for prohibiting the use of mobiles in a Uni library. The adaption was a redline through the phone. I sent in the image and assumed there would be amendments due a possible derogatary adaption. On the contary on putting my case forward to the benefits, i had to merely write clearly permission was given.

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