The WebRing.com System
Is "Webring" a Trademark?
Do you know whether "webring" is a trademark?
I didn't know. I needed to know.
So I researched it.
This article tells what I found.
Someone wrote me to ask whether "webring" was a trademark.
If it is a trademark then it should only be used to describe the webring systems under the Original Webring system, their successor, Yahoo! WebRing or their ultimate successor, the WebRing.com system.
On the other hand, if it is a generic term, then it would be appropriate to use it to describe webrings in the Yahoo! WebRing system and Ringlink system and RingSurf system and Bravenet system and so on.
We use trademarks all the time when we shouldn't. We say "Kleenex" when we mean "facial tissue". We say "Coke" when we mean carbonated, flavored drink. We say "Formica" when we mean "plastic laminate". And we say "Xerox" when we mean "copy".
And some terms that used to be trademarks aren't anymore. "Aspirin" was a trademark; it isn't any more. "escalator" was a trademark; and now it is not.
The inquiry got me curious. And when I get curious, the research begins.
Step One: U. S. Patent and Trademark Office
Choosing the basic New User Form Search and searching for "webring" (actually, capitalization doesn't matter) returns two entries:
The description for both registrations reads:
In addition, it notes that the first use of the term was 15.May.1995
Checking status in the Trademark Applications & Registrations Retrieval System (TARR) shows that both applications were:
So, from the standpoint of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office, "webring" is not a registered trademark.
Step Two: Yahoo! Claims
Most companies on the web have a page that expresses their legal trademark claims. I set off to find the one for Yahoo!
Going to the Yahoo! Terms of Service page shows this text:
No explicit mention of "webring" anywhere.
What about other pages?
Checking the Yahoo! Important Disclaimers and Legal Information page shows:
Similar. Not exactly the same, but similar. And still no mention of "webring".
Checking the Yahoo! WebRing specific pages didn't turn up any other trademark claims.
Also, checking all the Yahoo! WebRing pages, nowhere can I find "webring" with either the common law trademark symbol (™) or the registered trademark symbol (®).
Step Three: Summary
I'm no lawyer. But it looks to this layman like "webring" is an available generic term.
Trademark Topic Links
Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval System (TARR): The system that can return status and history on a trademark application. ««»»
P75569357: Webring as Computer Software: This page shows the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval System (TARR) information for the registration of "webring" as a Computer Software trademark. ««»»
P75575101: Webring as Computer Service: This page shows the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval System (TARR) information for the registration of "webring" as a Computer Service trademark. ««»»
I'm sorry. While I have long adopted webrings in the WebRing.com system, because of the Oct.2006 changes, I am no longer doing that.
However, please note that "deleting" your webring is a fruitless exercise. The system will just restore it and place it up for adoption.
Articles About the WebRing.com System
Webring Sections and Subsections
The Webring Section is a large section of my website. I have divided it into four major "subsections".
each "subsection" has it's own special "logo".
As you travel in the various subsections you will find, near the bottom of each page, links to pages within that subsection and also links to the other subsections. To go to any subsection, just click on the "logo" or on the text link for that subsection.
Webrings: General Information
This subsection includes general information about webrings. Webrings can be hosted by a variety of different services. This section deals with the overall concepts and issues, not with any one particular "brand" of webring.
The Wazillion Navbars Project
This subsection is a historical section about the Yahoo! WebRing system. It was begun during the early days of problems with the Yahoo! WebRing system in September 2000.
It ended when the Yahoo! WebRing system spun off into the independent WebRing.com system in October 2001. I maintain it for the historical record. Click here or on the graphic.
Webrings I Own and Belong To
This subsection shows all the webrings I own and links to all the webrings to which I belong. This includes webrings in Ringlink, RingSurf, Bravenet and the WebRing.com system as well.
If you are looking to join one of my webrings, this is a good place to start. If you wonder about the webrings I belong to, this is the place to go. Click here or on the graphic.
I am not a lawyer. And I don't play one on TV. I'm just a guy who cares about these issues and who spends too much time on the net. I'm providing the information on this website for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for advice from licensed legal professionals. Please email me of any errors or omissions you detect.
This page created: