IMAX lawyers don't understand what trademark is



  • But that's all a bit of an aside, because the important point is that despite Ruby's fantastical interpretation of what a trademark means, we're actually allowed to say whatever we want about IMAX. I can say IMAX screens look like SteamVR, or that they look like my 47" Vizio TV, or that they remind me of purple bunnies. We can review IMAX directly, we can compare it to other products, we can love it, we can hate it—all without IMAX's permission.



  • I'm not super familiar with trademark, but wouldn't that image in the one box possibly be trouble with it if there weren't "you can do mocking and parody shit" clause in using someone else's?



  • Nope.

    The Ars article explains why.



  • As they mention, not unless you are selling movie tickets.

    Essentially, if you have a movie theater, and claim "it's like IMAX", that might confuse people so you can't do it. If you have a toaster and say "it's like IMAX", while confusing, it is not confusing in the same way (meaning, making people think you are licensed by IMAX).



  • I only skimmed the article, but it sounds like it's even beyond that. The issue is a quote from someone that appeared in the article. If the SteamVR people were advertising their product with "It's like IMAX" then maybe the IMAX people would have something closer to a case (although, even then, Arstechnica wouldn't be the right entity to go after), but it was something that someone said in an interview.



  • Hrm, so as long as you aren't doing something where a mix up could happen it's fine rather than the parody escapes like copyright. OK.



  • It's even fine if you're in the same industry. For example, Pepsi can say it's better than Coke legally. As long as they're not doing so in a way that makes people think Pepsi is Coke.

    (Note that they generally don't do it anymore due to some advertising ethic that's relatively new. They say things like "leading competitor's brand" or something. But that's not a legal requirement-- the law hasn't changed since the 80s and 90s when they were perfectly happy to say "Coke" in the Pepsi commercials.)



  • It has always been my understanding that it was more to do with threats of false advertisement claims than any new found ethics.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    IMAX’s absurd attempt to censor Ars

    I, for one, believe any Ars in public should be censored.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Note that they generally don't do it anymore due to some advertising ethic that's relatively new. They say things like "leading competitor's brand" or something.

    I think it has more to do with not wanting to raise customers' awareness of your competitor than ethics. At least that's the reason I remember hearing a long time ago.

    @Dragoon said:

    It has always been my understanding that it was more to do with threats of false advertisement claims
    You can say Brand X is better than Brand Y. That's "generic advertising hyperbole that doesn't make a specific claim" (not the actual wording of the legal standard, but it's something along those lines), and is too vague to be considered false advertising. Saying something like 87% of people prefer Brand X over Brand Y is potentially false advertising, and you had better have an actual survey to substantiate the claim.



  • Older advertisements, from the 1800s to the 1990s, rarely mentioned competitor's brand names. And it makes sense, since mentioning them by name is advertising them. Soap manufacturers and the like don't want you think their soap is better than brand X. They want you to never think about any soap but theirs.

    Pepsi versus Coke is a different matter, since Pepsi was trying to challenge Coke's mindshare.

    Ethics has nothing to do with it.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    I think it has more to do with not wanting to raise customers' awareness of your competitor than ethics. At least that's the reason I remember hearing a long time ago.

    Could be. Strangely, just today I got a commercial on YouTube which flat-out named the product's competitor, so I guess those commercials haven't gone away, they're just more rare.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I guess those commercials haven't gone away, they're just more rare.

    I think you're most likely to see that kind of ad in two situations. One is the case where one brand so dominates the market that all your potential customers already thinking of it, anyway. "Next time you're going to buy X, try Y instead; it's better." The other is the case of a generic knock-off. "Just like X, but cheaper." You see this a lot in the packaging for OTC medicines. "Compare to the active ingredient in X."



  • @blakeyrat said:

    As long as they're not doing so in a way that makes people think Pepsi is Coke.

    I wouldn't worry. People are bound to figure out it's true someday, just like with energy drinks.


    Filed under: arguing pepsi versus coke has always been like arguing gold versus silver plating on your audiophilac ethernet cable for me



  • I think their lawyers do understand what a trademark is, they just like scaring people. The cost of sending a generic letter saying "WE WANT YOU TO DO X OR WE WILL TAKE APPROPRIATE LEGAL ACTION" is almost zero, so why bother thinking about the details before?



  • @anonymous234 said:

    The cost of sending a generic letter saying "WE WANT YOU TO DO X OR WE WILL TAKE APPROPRIATE LEGAL ACTION" is almost zero

    And "APPROPRIATE LEGAL ACTION" is nothing so you don't even need to check if they did get spooked.



  • They issued an apology

    We are very passionate about our brand and sometimes we can be overzealous in trying to protect it. Unfortunately in this situation we acted too quickly without truly understanding the reference to our brand.

    Yeah, it doesn't matter if you misunderstood the reference to your brand, you can't use trademark to silence mentions of your product that you don't like.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    They say things like "leading competitor's brand" or something.

    I assumed that was just so people wouldn't comparison shop. Pepsi vs Coke is more direct, but something like paper towels or snake oil pills would probably want to avoid people comparing them to the leader of the market.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    Saying something like 87% of people prefer Brand X over Brand Y is potentially false advertising, and you had better have an actual survey to substantiate the claim.

    This is why the marketing industry so likes the Indefinite Comparative: 87% more people prefer Brand X! Its electrolytes are 29% better!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    (Note that they generally don't do it anymore due to some advertising ethic that's relatively new.

    Funnily enough, in this country the situation is pretty much the reverse. Until maybe a decade ago there was a kind of gentleman’s agreement to not do direct comparisons in adverts even though the law didn’t forbid them — ads always talked about „other leading brands” etc. Most still do, but there are some nowadays that explicitly compare their products or prices to those of competitors.



  • @Gurth said:

    not do direct comparisons in adverts even though the law didn’t forbid them

    Fun fact: in Danmark it's illegal to use negative ads. You are not allowed to criticise other products, only promote the advantage of your own. (which is totally not the same)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Gurth said:

    Most still do, but there are some nowadays that explicitly compare their products or prices to those of competitors.

    I don't think direct comparisons are banned in the UK, but they have to be both true and meaningfully fair, which makes advertisers pretty reluctant to use them. We also require that where there's some sort of claim that “87% chose this” then the sample size is stated (usually in only-just-readable text, but that's good enough). It's usually easier to just ignore the competition entirely.

    The only category that really seems to go in for direct comparisons is supermarkets, and they're always price-based; that's the nature of that market segment. Of course, there's the whole thing about what products you select to conduct the comparison over and when you do the comparison, but the comparisons will be true in as far as they go.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said:

    The only category that really seems to go in for direct comparisons is supermarkets

    And politics.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PJH said:

    politics

    Lying is permitted there, apparently.



  • @dkf said:

    @PJH said:
    politics

    Lying is permittedrequired there, apparently.

    FTFY


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    It's not required. Sometimes someone uses (some of) the truth for shock tactics. If that's what it takes to ruse someone, that's what they'll do…



  • @dkf said:

    The only category that really seems to go in for direct comparisons is supermarkets,

    I don’t really have a good idea of how widespread it is here, since I usually actively try to avoid commercials on TV and the Internet and hardly read printed ads anywhere, but the other week I happened across a TV commercial for a optician chain that explicitly compared their prices to those of a named competitor. The funny thing is that I don’t really remember whose commercial it was (I think it was Specsavers) or which other chain they compared themselves to — what mainly stood out for me was the direct comparison.



  • Well I switched from OPSM to SpecSavers and saved a heap of money :)


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    I, for one, believe any Ars in public should be censored.

    Spoilsport.

    [spoiler][/spoiler]

    I am OK with that arse being uncensored in public.



  • @flabdablet said:

    87% more people

    Clever trick.

    (1 + .87) / (1 + .87 + 1) = .65 -> 65% of consumers of product type A, prefer Brand X.

    Yeah, the 87% number sounds better.



  • @swayde said:

    You are not allowed to criticise other products, only promote the advantage of your own.

    :wtf:

    Ours works, there's doesn't. But we can't say that, so what's our advantage?

    Ours picks up 100% more dirt?

    But that only means 2x.

    Ours actually picks up dirt?

    Ok, I can't say an advantage without implying a negative trait of the competitor.... :wtf:



  • @xaade said:

    Ours works, there's doesn't. But we can't say that, so what's our advantage?

    Most 🚗 can't ✈, however our 🚗 can ✈.

    @xaade said:

    Ours

    Loading ability ⤴ to 2000 kg, best in class.

    I think that's how it works. It's not really a problem AFAIK.

    You can't state something like the new Ford jump is 200 times faster than the BMW swim.



  • @swayde said:

    You can't state something like the new Ford jump is 200 times faster than the BMW swim.

    But you can't say, the BMW is 200 times slower?

    Now, I can't remember hearing something being advertised that way....

    Other than the Mac commercials with PC. "I don't crash like he does."

    But, uh... it just seems.... silly to make a law along those lines.



  • I've been with SpecSavers for a year or so fifteen years back, had problems with the glasses twice which meant sending them in for repairs for 3 weeks each time, and been with a different chain since (Pearle).



  • Well I had a problem with nose pads deteriorating within weeks. They eventually got sick of me coming in all the time and gave me titanium nose pads (the kind they use for people allergic to latex). Recently I got new glasses and was told they should have charged me over $20 for them! So I got them to transfer them from the old pairs to the new.


  • sockdevs

    $20 for half a square inch of material? :wtf:



  • Probably not even half a square centimetre! But it's titanium so must be expensive.

    And the AUD is fairly worthless at the moment, from above parity with USD before the last federal election.


  • sockdevs

    On my specs, each nosepad is a little under half a square centimetre ;)
    @Zemm said:

    AUD

    Oh, then the price isn't as bad as I thought; $20AUD is about 35 UK pence, right? :trolleybus:



  • Did it include labor? How much of that was tax?



  • This site sells them for ~$10US per pair:

    They also have stainless steel screws for mounting for $10. Some of the pads seem to require those.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @boomzilla said:

    They also have stainless steel screws for mounting for $10. Some of the pads seem to require those.

    They give you super mega audio clarity for listening to your vinyls on a vintage turntable.



  • Yes including labour and tax (so around $18 excluding tax). According to the Visa exchange rate $10 USD is just under $13 AUD. Add $7 USD postage and it's nearly $22 AUD from that site.

    So I guess it isn't a rip off asking for $20 to get them installed at a physical store.


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