The latest example of Intellectual Privilege running out of control is a guy who trademarked the symbol Pi with a period afterwards. Here is Jez Kemp:
Designers are in uproar and filing counter notices after print company Zazzle upheld a man’s claim to own the pi symbol on clothing.
Paul Ingrisano, a pirate living in Brooklyn New York, filed a trademark under “Pi Productions” for a logo which consists of this freely available version of the pi symbol π from the Wikimedia website combined with a period (full stop). The conditions of the trademark specifically state that the trademark includes a period.
The trademark was granted in January 2014 and Ingrisano has recently made trademark infringement claims against a massive range of pi-related designs on print-on-demand websites including Zazzle and Cafepress.
Surprisingly, Zazzle accepted his claim and removed thousands of clothing products using this design, emailing designers that their work was infringing Pi Productions’ intellectual property – even designs not using a full stop.
At first Zazzle’s Content Review team responded to their very angry designers and store keepers with generic emails, suggesting they file counter notices if they felt aggrieved.
But now Zazzle’s latest response is that they are acting to protect Paul Ingrisano’s “intellectual property” from “confusingly similar” designs as under the Lanham Act 1946 – including designs which do not even contain the pi symbol, but just the word “pi” in their design name.
I don’t expect this particular outrage to last but as with absurd patents the real outrage is that this does accurately represent the law as it exists today.