iSixSigma

legally anon

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  • #69604

    legally anon
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    No I am not an attorney. Neither do I live in the USA – and I express my sympathy to you in having to live in a country where is it possible to conduct damaging legal proceedings against clearly innocent parties. In other parts of the world the legal system is a little more rigid, particularly in regard to IP. This is entirely to the benefit of Six Sigma outside the USA. Since copyright and patent are not possible for an idea, metric or a methodology, the only route left open is to trademark Six Sigma. Whilst the USA is busy looking over shoulders in case of litigation, the rest of the world is realising that Six Sigma cannot be trademarked, and (for the most part) getting on with using it. Since most enquiries regarding this are now coming from Europe, India and the Far East, the peculiarities of the USA legal system are no longer a sound model on which to proceed. Remember too that trademark registration is local to the country – it may be registered in the USA, but not elsewhere.
    There is a basic premise in (generic) law that it should be impossible to prevent a ‘man’ from working and earning a living. This applies to trademarks too, and a basic exclusion for the grant of a trade mark is where it is a phrase already in common use, and in particular, where a person engaged in legitimate business might reasonably expect to use the phrase/mark as part of their general trade. The registrant of the mark ‘Six Sigma’ in Germany could rightly be challenged and the registration perhaps reversed.
    Due to the wonders of the Internet, it is now possible to locate and examine many government sites on IP around the world. Here are a few examples…
    General USA information on copyright, patent and trademarks (use the search on this site to list all registrations of Six Sigma – makes interesting reading)
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm
    More specific information on registration of trademarks – and reasons for refusal.
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/tmep/1100.htm
    Information of registration of Six Sigma in Canada (!) Does MJH really sell Six Sigma wine?
    http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/1102/trdp110256400e.html
    For those in the UK and Europe (and other countries where the legal system is more closely attuned to ‘British Law’) the following site gives excellent information.
    http://www.patent.gov.uk/tm/index.htm
    And finally:
    “The following shall not be registered…
    (d) trade marks which consist exclusively of signs or indications which have become customary in the current language or in the bona fide and established practices of the trade…”
    UK Trade Mark Act 1994
    M’lud, I rest my case.

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    #69556

    legally anon
    Participant

    Dear everyone who firmly believes that the phrase “Six Sigma” is somehow owned by someone else and that we either have to wisper it or pay Motorola each time we write or speak it.
    Copyright
    An immediate and universal protection for any created and recorded work. It does not have to be registered, but it does not protect ideas, only the way in which the idea is expressed in a piece of work. Six Sigma as a philosophy, metric, idea, or a methodology cannot be copyrighted.
    Patent
    A registered and territorial grant to an inventor to have sole right to use and profit from a new and novel idea, typically with regard to a product or a process of manufacture. Discoveries, scientific theories or mathematical methods, methodologies or any copyrightable material cannot be patented.
    Trade mark
    A sign or mark that can distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. It is a marketing tool, and trademarks need to be distinctive and not deceptive or misleading. It operates territorially and in respect to a limited range of types of goods and services. It is not possible to register ‘Six Sigma’ as a trademark against goods and services you do not sell. Infringement must show use by a third party of a similar or identical mark, for similar goods and services, and where the public is likely to be confused by the similar mark.
    Motorola have Six Sigma registered, for the purpose of training in quality within the field of electronic manufacture. Anyone else in the USA who attempts to sell training in quality for electronic manufacture, using the words ‘Six Sigma’ to describe the product or service sold may indeed have problems. However – this only works within the USA, and for training for quality, and where the term Six Sigma is used against the training product or service.
    Where Six Sigma is legitimately trademarked, anyone else must either not use it in trade of similar goods/services, or must obtain a licence from the owner of the mark. It is not good enough to say ‘trade mark ownership lies with Motorola’ if you have not obtained licence for use from Motorola. On the other hand, six sigma is a metric, and no one is going to be able to protect ‘six feet’ as a trade mark every time anyone asks for a grave ‘six feet’ down (six feet is a registered trademark of …)
    Six Sigma is a methodology – and any training for the purpose of learning about Six Sigma is going to have to describe it as for (the) Six Sigma (methodology). The use of the term ‘Six Sigma’ does not necessarily associate against the product or service offered (the training) as opposed to the aim of the product or service (the methodology). This makes the registration of such phrases as ‘Bodybuilding’ interesting. Our product is the ‘bodybuilding’ ™ product, fine, however the rest of the planet still goes to bodybuilding (not ™) classes.
    In short – no one owns the phrase ‘Six Sigma’. It is not copyright, and never can be. It is not patented, and the application of trademarks will certainly not prevent anyone else legally using the phrase.
    As Motorola have already found out.
    This discussion is the personal opinion of anonymous, and the responsibility for any action or such consequence as taken by the reader is entirely your matter not mine. You are advised that the value of your portfolio may go up or down and I simply don’t want to know.
    PS MJH is currently attempting to register the trademark ‘Six Sigma’ for the sale of wines – is this a hint as to his retirement plans?

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