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'Area 51' Trademarked?

From: campbell@ufomind.com (Glenn Campbell, Las Vegas)
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 19:19:59 -0800
Subject: 'Area 51' Trademarked?

Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 17:07:12 -0800
From: stuart@hal.com (Stuart Hastings)
To: webmaster@ufomind.com
Subject: 'area 51' is trademarked

I don't think this makes any difference to the Area 51 Research
Center, but Atari Games apparently trademarked "Area 51" around
May/June 1996.

I noticed this while watching my brother run the home version of the
"Area 51" game on his JAGUAR home videogame console (an orphaned
product of Atari Computer).  I haven't seen the commercial version,
but I suspect the home version would be identical to my non-expert
eyes.

Atari Computer used to have the domain www.atari.com . This was the
home videogame and computer business, associated with Jack Tramiel
(sp?).  'Tis gone now; they merged into JTS Corp., a maker of disk
drives. JTS owns the domain jtscorp.com, but they don't seem to have a
WWW page.

Atari Games (commercial coin-op game mfr) is still in business, and
they own the domain atarigames.com, but they don't seem to have a WWW
page either.

I was able to find the trademark (without charge) in the "sample
database" at the site http://www.micropat.com . On their search form,
I set "Word Mark" to "area 51", and "Type of Mark" to "trademark".

Just thought you'd be amused,

==================================================================

FROM GLENN

I suspect that the trademark claim is actually held by Time-Warner,
which has an Area 51 video arcade game.  (In a fit of impulse, I
tried to play it once at local casino.  The machine took my 50 cents
and didn't give me any game.  Damned slot machines!)

Another company, 800-TREKKER, also claims an Area 51 trademark,
and they have slapped "Area 51" on a line of cheesy merchandise,
from hats to coffee mugs to "Property of Area 51" T-Shirts.
(Rich with imagination, they are.)

I think the copyright claim is much stronger in the Time Warner
case.  If you try to sell another video game by that name, you're
in for a beating.  Slapping 'Area 51' on generic merchandise is
less dangerous.  As I recall, the copyright law (which I once
reviewed in the law library) has an exemption for words that are
purely geographical. You can't trademark "Area 51" on a T-Shirt
any more than you could for "Las Vegas" or "New York."



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