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Owner of the Word Stealth 'Protecting' Rights

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the stealth-stealth-stealth-stealth-stealth dept.

The Courts 745

popo writes "Just when you thought ownership of intellectual property couldn't get any more absurd: The New York Times is reporting that the word 'Stealth' is being vigorously protected *in all uses* by a man who claims to exclusively own its rights. Not only has he gone head to head with Northrop Grumman, he has pursued it vigorously in the courts and has even managed to shut down "stealthisemail.com" (Steal This Email.com) because the URL coincidentally contains the word "stealth". What's terrifying is that he's gotten as far as he has."

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What happens when... (2, Funny)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977350)

he finds out about the 'Stealth' bomber?

Re:What happens when... (3, Informative)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977362)

I'm pretty sure that's what the Northrop Grumman reference was to.

Re:What happens when... (3, Insightful)

blyloveranger (525451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977536)

Slashdot needs a +1 makes the parent look like an idiot mod.


cause I would use that one all the time.

Re:What happens when... (3, Informative)

civman2 (773494) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977376)

RTFA, he got them back out of calling it a "stealth bomber" in all sorts of commercial materials.

Re:What happens when... (0, Flamebait)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977428)

This is /. ... do you expect me to really have read it?

Re:What happens when... (1)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977526)

Yes.

WOW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977357)

Is this for real?

Re:WOW (0)

TekMonkey (649444) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977364)

There's US copyright law for you.

Re:WOW (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977446)

Yeah, but here's trademark law for you, over here.

Re:WOW - modded off topic?? (0, Offtopic)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977540)

Just out of curiosity - who was the bozo that modded the parent of this off topic? (Maybe redundant but off topic????)

Yeah and now mod this reply as off topic - (redundant maybe I'll buy that) - still a waste of mod points

Oh no! (4, Funny)

Colonoh (791964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977360)

Does this mean we have to change the C&C "stealth" tank to "unobtrusive and hard to see" tank"?

Re:Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977430)

No, this means we need to induce Leo Noller to walk within range of an Obelisk of Light. HummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmBZAAPP!

hgaha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977363)

asdfafda

hoho (1, Insightful)

CloudDrakken (582681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977365)

exclusive rights to a word used centuries ago, this guy seems legit.

Jesus Chrysler (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977366)

Dodge this [yahoo.com] , scumbag.

Diamond Stealth Video Cards (4, Interesting)

ppcvidz.com (732109) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977546)

I see that Diamond still has their line of "Stealth" video cards. http://www.diamondmm.com/stealth.php [diamondmm.com] I'm trying to find what year these cards initially launched.

July Fools??? (4, Informative)

Given M. Sur (870067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977372)

Talk about prior art. The word has existed since 1250 [etymonline.com] .

Re:July Fools??? (5, Insightful)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977387)

Talk about prior art.

Trademark != patent.

Re:July Fools??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977412)

You can trademark a single word and then harrass people who happen to use it? What's so particular about 'stealth' that would it make it different than trademarking the word 'the'.

I still call BS, if it's not, I'm afraid...

Re:July Fools??? (1)

einstienbc (825770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977413)

Holy freaken crap! Just RTFAed and I have to say that these companies are led by a bunch of idiots. Where will this "IP" madness end? Let me be the first to say that I now own exclusive rights to the word "the", and that millions now owe me royalties.

/sarcasm

Re:July Fools??? (1)

Anonymous Luddite (808273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977490)

>> Talk about prior art. The word has existed since 1250.

Not sure why that got "Redundant". The link is relevant to the thread and provides information not present elswhere AFAIK.

Thanks for the link.

Good Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977552)

This is a VERY good thing. By showing the worst aspects fo the law to the public, there is a larger chance of it getting repealed

So how about (1)

einstienbc (825770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977374)

the (most likely terrible up and coming) movie?

Re:So how about (2, Funny)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977426)

I appreciate that a lot of movies lately really haven't been up to par as one might expect, but do we really have to bury them before they've even made it to the screen? I, personally, want to go see this movie, and am willing to give it a chance. I don't quite see why they're all horrible the moment they're concieved.

Further, I wouldn't be surprised if this guys campagin goes after the theatrical production compan because of this movie. I would, however, be surprised if he got anywhere with it. I'm not sure how Northrup-Grumman are experienced with defending themselves against the legaleese vigilantes with half-wit agendas, but I'm more than positive that the Motion Picture Association of America is more than prepared for dealing with that sort of chaff in today's legal atmosphere.

Re:So how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977515)

I was going to disagree with you about the movie, but then I remembered that it was written by W.D. Richter so I can't totally discount the idea that "Stealth" might not be utterly without merit. I'm sure the guy who directed "xXx" worked hard to make it as craptacular as possible, but with any luck there will be at least some sign that it was written by the man who brought Buckaroo Banzai to the silver screen.

Re:So how about (4, Insightful)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977522)

I'm more than positive that the Motion Picture Association of America is more than prepared for dealing with that sort of chaff in today's legal atmosphere.

That's because they are that sort of chaff in today's legal atmosphere. This is the problem they've caused coming back to bite them in the ass. More "intellectual property" rights means they lose too. It's just a matter of how quickly they buy laws to undo the ones they've recently purchased to cause this sort of imbalance.

Re:So how about (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977513)

READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE

Movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977380)

But he chooses to ignore the major motion picture 'Stealth' that's coming out soon?

Re:Movie? (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977448)

the major motion picture 'Stealth'

I don't know about you guys, but I saw the preview for this and I can't fathom why it's actually coming out in theatres as opposed to straight to video.

Maybe the stealth guy doesnt want to give this surefire bomb too much free advertisement?

Re:Movie? (1)

skitz0 (89196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977473)

It was supposted to come out last year and it was pushed to go straight to video, but then.... Jamie Foxx (the two xx's make me want to kick him in the balls) won an Oscar.

Stealth (-1, Offtopic)

kristopher (723047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977385)

Let me be the first to say;

StealthStealthStealthStealthStealth
StealthStealt hStealthStealthStealth..
And Stealth. Exlusive rights that!

Misleading article (3, Informative)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977388)

According to TFA, the guy owns a brand named "Stealth," and he's essentially doing this to prevent other people from making brands similarly named.

Re:Misleading article (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977414)

Doesn't count if the same word is used elsewhere in such a way that it won't cause confusion.

Re:Misleading article (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977417)

Well, you don't get to do that unless those brands compete with you. At least, that's the idea. I mean, if I make a window glass product called "ScrewMaster Windows" I wouldn't expect Microsoft to go after me, or to win, since I'm not competing in their market. Microsoft did win against Lindows to be sure, but only because Lindows is in direct competition to Microsoft. This guy is going after everyone, presumably in hopes of winning some out-of-court "buzz off" settlements. I'm surprised the judges don't throw this guy out of court before he gets to first base.

Re:Misleading article (2, Informative)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977470)

Sometimes even competing dosen't matter. Microware had been selling thier OS-9 operating system for years when Apple released OS 9. Microware sued and lost, due to "Fair use" laws (I don't claim to understand how that could possibly work).

Re:Misleading article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977502)

I'm surprised the judges don't throw this guy out of court before he gets to first base.

Sorry, they tried, it didn't work. He also owns the word "hoax" (no joke, check TFA), so the courts are having a hard time discussing this case.

Screw That (2, Funny)

orange haired boy (889758) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977390)

I just posted the word "Stealth" on my blog about 50 times. Just try and sue me. http://www.orangehairedboy.com/ [orangehairedboy.com]

He's taking on (5, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977393)

Columbia Pictures as well. That may have been a mistake, see HERE [blogspot.com]

I know what to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977394)

Everybody register a domain name using 'stealthis' as a prefix, then when he sues, we all go kick his ass.

Re:I know what to do (5, Funny)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977433)

Omit the registering and the lawsuit, and I might be interested.

Would it be unconstitutional if Congress made a law to... you know... just smack this guy with a rolled-up newspaper or something?

Re:I know what to do (4, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977493)

Yes, it's unconstitutional. That would be a bill of attainder, which is explicitly forbidden.

Missing in action... (1)

JollyGoodChase (562568) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977395)

I was unable to find this story.

Re:Missing in action... (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977438)

was unable to find this story.

Stealth in action!

Northrop Grumman stalemate? (1)

xanthines-R-yummy (635710) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977396)

What I don't understand is why Northrop's case was a stalemate (according TFA). I thought "stealth" had been around for much longer than 1985 (when this asshat applied for trademarks). Isn't this prior something or other? Is that how fcuked up USPTO is? IANAL, so these questions are for real!

Re:Northrop Grumman stalemate? (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977482)

Northrop wanted to license it for toys which is close to sporting goods which are also toys so the courts may have decided they were in the same class.

Trademark law clearly allows you to use a common word to label your product if you don't conflict with other products names. The odd thing is were there any sporting goods using Stealth in their name when the trademark was issued?

Re:Northrop Grumman stalemate? (5, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977487)

The law in this case defies easy summary, but the gist is that when you get a trademark, you're really getting the right not to have confusingly similar things taking your business. The definition of "confusingly similar" is vague, and depends on a few zillion common law cases.

So when he applied "stealth" to sporting goods, it meant you couldn't come out with similar products with similar names. Again, "similar" is up to courts to decide. If you've got "stealth" bowling balls, are "stealth" skis too close? What about golf balls?

Clearly it doesn't apply to airplanes, and honestly I don't know why Northrop didn't just invite him to court. Except that court is expensive, even when you win, and the fact that they paid him $10 is a lot less than the retainer on their lawyers. It's disgusting, I know.

I don't know why they ceded any rights to him at all without knowing more facts about the case. They imply that they weren't seeking their own trademarks, but may have continued to use the name. But a news article isn't a legal brief, so it's hard to tell.

So to answer your question: the word "stealth" has been around forever, but trademarks don't apply only to made-up words. You can take a common word and trademark it for your application, which allows you to keep other people from muscling in on your good idea by confusing people with a similarly-named product. It's the sort of thing that would be accomplished by politeness if you could depend on that. For everything else, there are lawyers.

Re:Northrop Grumman stalemate? (2, Informative)

jmitek (808705) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977491)

Prior art only refers to patents. Trademarks do not work this way.

He came after me, too (5, Interesting)

jokestress (837997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977398)

This guy came after our production company Deep Stealth Productions [deepstealth.com] a couple of years ago. It was a thick sheaf of papers, which I dismissed after reading about another small company who had received his form threat. Might have to blow the dust off the thing.

$10 (-1, Flamebait)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977399)

the guy is still a virgin.
What else could account for his major asshole-ry.

Re:$10 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977460)

Hear hear. This litigious jerkoff needs to be publicly tied down and urinated on by passers-by.

Just my opinion.

I prefer... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977535)

What else could account for his major asshole-ry.

I prefer to pronounce it ass-holery. The way you have it (asshole-ry = asshole ree?) is more difficult to pronounce, I find. Of course that's just a matter of personal preference. But then what isn't these days? After all, we've got people who prefer eating plain bread to bread with butter. My goodness! In any case, I wish you and yours a fine evening.

Article text (5, Informative)

Frodo Crockett (861942) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977400)

He Says He Owns the Word 'Stealth' (Actually, He Claims 'Chutzpah,' Too)
By COLIN MOYNIHAN

Can a man own a word? And can he sue to keep other people from using it?

Over the last few years, Leo Stoller has written dozens of letters to companies and organizations and individuals stating that he owns the trademark to "stealth." He has threatened to sue people who have used the word without his permission. In some cases, he has offered to drop objections in exchange for thousands of dollars. And in a few of those instances, people or companies have paid up.

"If a trademark owner doesn't go up to the plate each day and police his mark, he will be overrun by third-party infringers," Mr. Stoller, a 59-year-old entrepreneur, said in a telephone interview from his office in Chicago. "We sue a lot of companies."

Mr. Stoller owns and runs a company called Rentamark.com, which offers, among other things, advice on sending cease-and-desist letters and Mr. Stoller's services as an expert witness in trademark trials. Through Rentamark, Mr. Stoller offers licensing agreements for other words he says he owns and controls, such as bootlegger, hoax and chutzpah, and sells t-shirts and other merchandise through what the Web site calls its "stealth mall."

He is currently in a legal dispute with Sony's Columbia Pictures unit over a film that opens late this month. It is about elite Navy pilots and titled - what else? - "Stealth."

Mr. Stoller said he first registered "stealth" as a trademark in 1985 to cover an array of sporting goods. But in recent years, "stealth" has become widely used in marketing and branding circles to bestow a sense of the subliminal or the subversive or to convey an aura of lurking power.

Companies including the retailer Kmart and the consumer electronics maker JVC have stumbled into Mr. Stoller's territory and have removed "stealth" from their Web sites after hearing from him. Another electronics maker, Panasonic, omitted the word from a product called the "stealth wired remote zoom/pause control" after receiving one of Mr. Stoller's letters.

"If you can solve problems without going to court you're better off," said Russell J. Rotter, a lawyer for Panasonic, a division of Matsushita.

The best-known stealth brand may be the military's B2 stealth bomber, whose main contractor, Northrop Grumman, has fought Mr. Stoller to something of standoff. In 2001, the company paid Mr. Stoller $10 and agreed to abandon its trademark applications to use "stealth bomber" in spinoff products like model airplanes and video games. In return, Mr. Stoller agreed not to oppose Northrop's use of "stealth" in aircraft or defense equipment.

"We resolved it in a way that achieved our business purposes without in any way agreeing that Mr. Stoller's assertions were correct," said Tom Henson, a Northrop Grumman spokesman.

Trademark owners can obtain the right to use a word for commercial purposes and then to prevent others from seeking to use the same word for similar commercial purposes. For instance, the Delta Faucet Company, which has trademarked "Delta," could prevent another faucet company from adopting the name. But it cannot object to Delta Airlines because the two companies' products are not likely to be confused with one another.

A search of United States Patent and Trademark Office records found that Mr. Stoller and companies that share a Chicago post office box with him - Central Mfg., Stealth Industries, and S. Industries - hold at least two dozen registered trademarks for "stealth," covering such diverse products and services as crossbows, pool cues and insurance consultations.

Mr. Stoller said that he also held and administered as many as two dozen other "stealth" trademarks, and insisted that his close association with the word gave him special rights.

"We're entitled to own it with all goods and services," he said. "We were there first."

Some companies do recognize his rights to some uses of the word. Easton Sports of Van Nuys, Calif., for example, makes "stealth" baseball and softball bats under a licensing royalty agreement with Mr. Stoller. But while intellectual property lawyers say that Mr. Stoller is free to send cease-and-desist letters, this does not mean he has complete control over "stealth."

"It's based on a misunderstanding of how trademark law works," said Mark A. Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. "Trademark law doesn't give you exclusive rights in words, only the right to prevent consumer confusion. He's not in a position to claim that his mark is unique or famous. It's a common English word that's already been used in many contexts as a trademark by others."

Mr. Stoller has taken his claims to federal court - with unusual frequency, in at least one judge's view. In one case in 1999, United States District Judge Joan B. Gottschall in Chicago noted in a decision against Mr. Stoller and S. Industries that the company had appeared before the court 33 times from 1995 to 1997.

Another judge from the same district made a similar point a few months later in another decision against Mr. Stoller.

"The late great Sixties rock-and-roll legend Jimi Hendrix once sang 'Are You Experienced?' " Judge Blanche M. Manning wrote. "After losing several prior federal trademark actions before other judges in the Northern District of Illinois, plaintiffs and Stoller could answer Jimi's question in the affirmative."

For all his time in federal courtrooms - Mr. Stoller says his companies have been in court 60 times - there is no record within the Lexis database of a federal court decision on "stealth" in his favor. But in 2003, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board refused to allow an air conditioner company called York International to use "stealth" because Mr. Stoller had previously sold air conditioners with that name.

Mr. Stoller has sometimes been on the receiving end of lawsuits. In 1997, the watch maker Timex, which held a trademark for "stealth" watches, successfully sued him in federal court in Connecticut for trademark infringement. Mr. Stoller sold watches with that name after Stealth Industries, a company then run by his brother, Christopher Stoller, agreed in 1991 not to use the term with watches in return for $20,000 from Timex. (According to the judge's written opinion in that case, Leo Stoller was ousted from the company in a family dispute in 1990, but returned to take over in 1994.) A federal judge rejected Mr. Stoller's claim that the agreement made by his brother was invalid.

In 2002, the Illinois attorney general sued Leo Stoller after he used a Web site to solicit donations illegally on behalf of victims of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Mr. Stoller had sought donations for more than 20 legitimate charities without their permission and without registering with the attorney general's office, a requirement in Illinois. Mr. Stoller paid a $2,000 fine and was barred from soliciting for charities in that state.

Web sites appear to be Mr. Stoller's primary targets now, since search engines make it easy to find "stealth."

In December 2003, Cramer-Krasselt, an advertising agency in Chicago, received a letter from Mr. Stoller objecting to a Web site it set up as an office joke called stealthdisco.com, which showed clips of employees dancing silently for a moment or two near the desks of unsuspecting colleagues.

The agency's office manager, Kathleen Maybaum, wrote to Mr. Stoller, "While we believe your accusation to be completely without merit, please be advised that we have discontinued all use of this word." She said that the decision was based on advice from lawyers who said it would not be worthwhile to spend money on a case to defend stealthdisco.com. In addition, Ms. Maybaum said, the company paid Mr. Stoller "a few thousand dollars to go away."

Last August, the InterActivist Network, a group formed to give free technology training, received a letter from Mr. Stoller about its e-mail address, stealthisemail.com. Apparently, Mr. Stoller read their e-mail address as "Stealth is e-mail," and informed the group they were using a trademark he owned.

The members wrote back: "We do not believe that our use of the term 'Steal this e-mail' as tribute to Abbie Hoffman (as well as the defunct Lower East Side pirate radio station 'Steal This Radio') is in any way an infringement on your alleged ownership of the word 'stealth.' "

Eric Goldhagen, a member of the InterActivist Network, said that members of his group planned to talk to lawyers and others who have received letters from Mr. Stoller to discuss ways to deal with his "stealth" claims. "The fact that somebody, just by claiming to own a word, can intimidate large companies and powerful law firms shows the damage, to an extent, is already done," he said. "If people like Stoller are allowed to get away with this unchallenged, there could be ripple effects to every form of public mass media."

In the movie realm, Mr. Stoller says that he sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sony in March, objecting to Columbia Pictures' plan to open its Navy film under the title "Stealth." The next month Columbia asked the federal court in Chicago to rule that using the word as a movie title did not violate copyright law.

Mr. Stoller, who has filed a counterclaim, says he will not back down. "I will police and protect the stealth mark against all," he said.

while we're at it (1)

qda (678333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977402)

just so you know guys, i exclusively own the rights to *all uses* of the letter s (as used to make words plural), so cut it out, ok!

Re:while we're at it (4, Funny)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977467)

Good thing I have a lithp, tho you can't come after me, Mr. Thmarty Panth

Infringement!!!! (1)

sithkhan (536425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977403)

Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth! Stealth!
---
Add your signatures here!
Generated by SlashdotRndSig [snop.com] via GreaseMonkey [mozdev.org]

Re:Infringement!!!! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977472)

If I download this message, will the RIAA come after me now? Better yet, will the MPAA shut down slashdot?

But... (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977404)

how can he get the rights for a word that is in PUBLIC DOMAIN? Could anyone kill this guy please?

You see? Patent trolls, legal trolls, almost all of them are small: either one person, or a small company. We keep whining about the evil megacorps squashing everyone with patents while the real danger comes from these small entities.

Re:But... (3, Informative)

shark72 (702619) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977518)

"how can he get the rights for a word that is in PUBLIC DOMAIN?"

In the same way that the names "Tide" and "Crest" are trademarked. Next time you're at the supermarket, take note of how many products take their names from words in the dictionary.

This isn't endemic to stuff you'll find at your grocer's. Computer companies have successfully trademarked the words "sun" and "apple," too.

Re:But... (2, Funny)

dratox (894948) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977521)

To whomever does kill him, PLEASE make sure that his death is slow painful, and excessively cruel

Gotten So Far (5, Funny)

XFilesFMDS1013 (830724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977406)

What's terrifying is that he's gotten as far as he has.

Not really, I'd just have to say that he's been very furtive and sneaky about it, indeed, he's acted quite surreptitiously about the whole thing.

Re:Gotten So Far (1, Redundant)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977504)

Perhaps we could say 'stealth' in reference to him?

can you trademark common words?? (1, Insightful)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977408)

I didn't think you could. Otherwise you'd have people patenting words like "the" and "it" and we'd all be screwed over.

Re:can you trademark common words?? (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977422)

Yeah, imagine how dumb it would be if we could trademark words like 'windows' or 'apple'.

Re:can you trademark common words?? (4, Funny)

ag0ny (59629) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977477)

Otherwise you'd have people patenting words like "the" and "it"...

Aaaaugh! Aaaugh! Augh! Ohh! Don't say that word!

Re:can you trademark common words?? (2, Insightful)

Max_Abernethy (750192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977478)

IANAL, but as I understand, trademarks are for a specific class of item. For example, some company could make a brand of gum called "It" and have that as their trademark, which means nobody else can make "It" brand gum or some product named "It" that could confuse consumers. From the article:

Mr. Stoller said that he also held and administered as many as two dozen other "stealth" trademarks, and insisted that his close association with the word gave him special rights.

I'd like to see the law that says if you have X trademarks for a word, you own it in every use. I have a feeling if someone stood up to this guy in court, this wouldn't stand, but from a big corporation's perspective it's cheaper to remove the words or settle for several thousand dollars than pay the lawyers' fees.

stealth (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977418)

if he can get that trainwreck of a movie shutdown before inflicting itself on the world, I'm all for it!

I got my own... (2, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977423)

I just copyrighted, trademarked and patented the word "The"(c)(tm) (both pronunciations) along with a whole host of definite and indefinite articles. I will be vigorously pursuing everyone using "The"(c)(tm) in books, film and sound recordings. Unless you license "The"(c)(tm) at the low, low price of $0.01 per usage, I will send the(c)(tm) RIAA, MPAA and the(c)(tm) NLAKC (Nazi Librarian Association of Knuckle Crackers) to hound each and everyone of you. And don't let me catch you using Peer to Peer technology to distribute "The"(c)(tm). Recent Supreme Court rulings will allow me to go after such tecnologies as the(c)(tm) keyboard, CRTs and web browsers (you are in my sights "The"(c)(tm) abuser, Bill Gates).

Sadly... (1)

DuckofDeath87 (816504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977443)

Sadly, I am not sure if this should be modded funny or insightful.

Re:Sadly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977496)

Sadly, I am not sure if this should be modded funny or insightful.

How bout Funniful?...

Re: I got my own... (1, Redundant)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977461)

I'm sorry, but I have previously applied for the letters a,b,c,d,E,f,g,H,i,j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,T,u,v,w,x,y, z. Your "word" is actually made up of THREE instances of intellectual property violation against my rights (said letters have been capitalized for your convenience). Pay me $38,415,719,089.11 USD.

Re: I got my own... (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977553)

Bah, you forgot to trademark 'Teh', which is far more common on Sloshdat...

What a nice guy (4, Insightful)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977432)

(From TFA) In 2002, the Illinois attorney general sued Leo Stoller after he used a Web site to solicit donations illegally on behalf of victims of the destruction of the World Trade Center.

No, this guy's not a total fucking scumbag...

Re:What a nice guy (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977450)

It actually doesn't say if this was legit or not. There's nothing immoral about ilegally soliciting donations as long as you actually get the money to the right place. It's possible he was trying to do some good.

That said, there's no good reason to do it illegally other than to try and make money on it.

Re:What a nice guy (3, Insightful)

deft (253558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977537)

Wait. If you go back and read the article it said he did it the wrong way.

I think this guy is a tool, but he very well could have just decided to try and make a pool of money for these charities and promoted it... but didnt know there was apperwork that needed to be done to do it "officially".

He could very well have donated every penny as he probably stated he would.

I dont think it's too far off that if i decided to go collect some money from my neighbors and take it to the red cross, that I may be breaking some law, as good intentioned as I may be.

You know, we used to have a simple solution (4, Insightful)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977434)

for stuff like this.

Someone who's this greedy, self-centered and determined to make a mess of everyone's life, liberty and property for his own advancement would discretely get his ass kicked one day on his way home from work. Seriously, the courts are too civilized of a way of dealing with things like this sometimes. Not that I'd recommend doing it to him, but there was a long period in our history where being this much of a troll got your ass tore up by a few "concerned citizens" for wasting tax payers' money with frivilous cases that were all about greed and nothing about justice.

Re:You know, we used to have a simple solution (2, Insightful)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977529)

Not that I'd recommend doing it to him, but there was a long period in our history where being this much of a troll got your ass tore up by a few "concerned citizens" for wasting tax payers' money with frivilous cases that were all about greed and nothing about justice.
I don't know - some parts of Texas are still that way...

Profit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977440)

I'm gonna trademark me the word "terrorist". That ought to make me a mint!

Studies Confirm: The World is Full of Idiots (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977441)

The most telling sentence in the article:

For all his time in federal courtrooms - Mr. Stoller says his companies have been in court 60 times - there is no record within the Lexis database of a federal court decision on "stealth" in his favor.

In other words, the man is a litigious idiot. The fact that he's occasionally managed to get people to license from him says more about the fact that people are terrified of lawsuits than that the law itself is unfair.

People are terrified of the law. I know I am; at any moment I could be sued and even if I win, it'll cost me thousands, with no way to recapture it. (And before a bunch of non-lawyers start demanding "loser pays", remember that "loser pays" just introduces other unfairnesses when the poor can't sue the rich.)

If programmers ran the world, the law would be clear, concise, and unambiguous. Or at least that's what they'd like to think. Anybody who's actually studied law knows that actual human interactions are full of corner cases, and ass-coverings easily outweigh the meat of most contracts.

If there were no litigious idiots, the law would be a lot simpler. Just like email would be lovely if there weren't a mountain of fools who think that "free" means "mine mine mine". Sadly, neither is the case. The courts are another commons, like email, and this jackass is ensuring that no commons it without its tragedy.

Fucktard.

If programmers ran the world,....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977533)

If programmers ran the world, the law would be clear, concise, and unambiguous.
Hmm.... which sides you are talking about? Windows developers? or the FLOSS side? There is a large gap here!

Etymology of the word? (0, Redundant)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977442)

Stealth has been a word used since the time of Shakespeare. How the heck does someone get to trademark a frickin' word?

Re:Etymology of the word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977469)

Ask Microsoft, who owns the words "windows"(tm), "word"(tm), and "office"(tm).

Re:Etymology of the word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977527)

Of course you disregard "apple".

This guy... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977449)

...is a bigger asshole than goatse.

Conflicting Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977451)

I saw the letter 'E' up for sale on eBay last week - wouldn't that make his use of the word stealth illegal? Anyone know who bought it?

bittorrent is next (4, Interesting)

MrP- (45616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977453)

it seems that his company owns the trademark for the word "torrent"

http://rentamark.com/Famous_Marks/famous_marks.htm l [rentamark.com]

Re:bittorrent is next (3, Interesting)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977530)

Argh! My eyes! My retinas are *bleeding*!

I wonder if he owns the trademark to utterly craptacular web design?

And some of the words?

Renaissance
Name of a period in history. A common word.

Stradivarius
Surname of a family of violin makers. Can you trademark someone else's name? And really expect them to licence it back from you?

Tirade
Hmm... I feel like going on one right now...

This guy is a total and utter bastard (is that one of his?) and his trademarking of words *and then going after people in unrelated industries* is even less convincing as a business tactic than anything SCO ever came up with.

Why Northrop Grumman caved in, I'll never know. They should have nailed his arse to the court documents and filed it under 'F' for ...

Not the first time... (5, Funny)

Mister Impressive (875697) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977456)

... I'm the owner of PenIsland.com (Get your free pen from us) and I've received a few legal threats from several homosexually-oriented pornography websites (the url's of which I am not of liberty to disclose). This is an outrage, clearly all I am trying to do is provide the world with a service of free pens.


(In case you didn't realise, I don't own the domain and this post was a joke >.>)

Wait a second... (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977465)

"Just when you thought ownership of intellectual property couldn't get any more absurd..."

Who, exactly, thought that things had already gotten as absurd as they could get? Are you... new here?

Here in Brazil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977471)

...I heard that someone registered the word "gay". No, really. I mean it. Serious.

But anyway, this guy is a fucktard.

The article doesn't say that (5, Informative)

blyloveranger (525451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977476)

Not only has he gone head to head with Northrop Grumman, he has pursued it vigorously in the courts and has even managed to shut down "stealthisemail.com" (Steal This Email.com) because the URL coincidentally contains the word "stealth".

What the article actually says about "Stealthisemail.com" is that Mr. Stroller sent an e-mail to the website telling them to shut it down. Then the article says about InterActivist Network (who runs stealthisemail.com):

Eric Goldhagen, a member of the InterActivist Network, said that members of his group planned to talk to lawyers and others who have received letters from Mr. Stoller to discuss ways to deal with his "stealth" claims. "The fact that somebody, just by claiming to own a word, can intimidate large companies and powerful law firms shows the damage, to an extent, is already done," he said. "If people like Stoller are allowed to get away with this unchallenged, there could be ripple effects to every form of public mass media."

which if you look closely seems to imply to me that they have not taken it to court yet, therefore have not been forced to shutdown. This is easily verified by going to the actual website which is still up.

Though I do agree with the general sentiment of the submitter that this whole thing is ridiculous. -Patrick

The Citizen Strikes Back (1)

otter42 (190544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977480)

We all know that this kind of guy and this kind of suit is getting way out of hand. Can we file a class action suit against him and his type of cretin? On behalf of all the consumers who have sufered with higher prices and less competition?

Seriously, what are the odds that someone can? The problem is that everyone knows that this is absurd, but none of the companies sued will go up to bat because they're far too woried about losing hundreds of millions of dollars in a judgement. If it were class action, WE, the halfway clued-in citizens of this world, could go on the attack, with NO fear that we'll be put out of business if we lose.

Maybe this kind of thing would teach all these intellectual property hounds to think twice before forming a business that does nothing else than "asset" patents and trademarks they've snatched up off others in a wave of speculation.

IANAL but I sure wih I were one right now.

found another one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977485)

/me ads his company to my list of companies I'll never buy from for any reason. From the numerous accounts I've heard hes been bullying businesses with his "Trademark" of a WORD.

ITS A WORD, you don't get exclusive rights over every use of it. No trademark will get coverage of that word over every subject.

If you google for Leo Stoller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977486)

And see a search result to leo.stoller.has-a-small-penis.com, do not click it. It's worse than goatse.

omgwtfbbq? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977492)

I read the article and I just sat here staring at my monitor. I almost *ALMOST* cried. Don't worry, I'm still a man, not a tear was shed.

I henceforth trademark the words "Slash" and "Dot" as well as any associated symbols (such as "/" "\" and ".")

Enjoy!

Wait, now I'm terribly confused. (2, Funny)

jolande (852630) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977498)

So Leo Stoller 1985 array of "stealth" brand sporting goods isn't the same product as Sony's Columbia Picture's major motion picture release of a similar name? Could somebody please explain this to me? Because I really did think they were the same thing. But I guess I was wrong.

Appearantly... (1)

dlthomas (762960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977525)

you haven't heard of my company:
Thomas Hegemonical Enterprises

We have many different product lines in a wide variety of products, and as such own the trademark on "the", which we intend to enforce with extreme prejudice. All Slashdot posters please refrain from use of the definate article, or I'll send you a cease-and-desist letter.

Watch the movie. (1)

Eunuch (844280) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977534)

Hope it's good--it has a great geek premise. Of course we geeks will root for the machines and may end up on the losing end. But still--cool!!!

Dictionary (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977539)

Once the word lands in the dictionary [reference.com] as a non-slang, uncapitalized word, it should lose all trademark value...

This Reminds Me... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12977544)

Some idiot claimed to have a patent on the microprocessor long before anyone else took a patent out and he was suing everyone in sight. The funny thing about his patent application that it includes only football play diagrams. I never heard what happened to the idiot or how far he got in collecting money.

Makes me want to trademark 'DMCA' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12977549)

.. while it's still available.
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