Don’t Tase Me, Bro

Thus spaketh Mr. Andrew Meyer in 2007 when he was, well, having a electrical impulse of mind-numbing proportions applied by a first responder using a TASER brand stun gun.

So what’s that got to do with THINKINGIP? Plenty. It turns out that the manufacturer of the TASER objects to the used of “tasering” and “to tase” as a verb. They’ve got a point, although they may be a little late. When a registered trademark goes from a source identifier to a general desription of something, it runs the risk of losing trademark status.  As reported in The Huffington Post, a spokesman for the company Steve Tuttle “admitted that the battle is becoming something of a headache. “If you do [say ‘Tasered’] you bastardize the word,” Tuttle said. “The US Trademark Office can declare your trademark null and void if you’re not protecting your copyright.”

No wonder there is a problem. The company is at least 5 years too late worrying about their problem and Mr. Tuttle is confusing “trademark” and “copyright”. So, there’s not a very well thought out plan there.

Part of the problem, aside from not understanding the issues, is coming up with a descriptive verb for the act of have a TASER applied to a person. XEROX came up with “machine copy”. FEDEX tries “overnight delivery”. CELLOPHANE came up with nothing and lost its mark. Same with ASPIRIN. TASER? “electronic mind-numbing kablooie”? That doesn’t really work.

More nonsense. The aforementioned Mr. Meyer was interviewed by Kaplan University-owned Washington Post which reported “Meyer trademarked the phrase “Don’t tase me, bro’’ in September 2007” Also not true. One Avi Faskowitz filed an application for the mark for shirts in 2007, Serial No. 77287584, but it was abandoned in 2011, and the mark never issued.

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