James S. Huggins' Refrigerator Door: Click here to go to my Home Page. webring trademark search; qwerty
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Wazillion Navbars Project: Yahoo! WebRing - - - A stack of "ABC" blocks symbolizes stacks of "navbars" - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website about the Wazillion Navbars Project - - - Original image copyright Jeff Allen Johnson - - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com

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.

This article is part of the Wazillion Navbars Project: a project to explore and write about the Yahoo! WebRing system. For a list of these articles click here or see the section menu at the bottom of this page.

Note that the Yahoo! WebRing system no longer exists. It has been spun off to the independent WebRing.com system. The Wazillion Navbars Project has been closed. These pages are thus, no longer accurate and do not apply to the new WebRing.com system. Instead, these pages are being maintained for a "historical record".

For current information on the WebRing.com system, see my webring subsection about the WebRing.com system.

 

Background

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

If you go to the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office Website you will discover the Trademark electronic Search System (TeSS). This system can be used to search for trademarks.

Choosing the basic New User Form Search and searching for "webring" (actually, capitalization doesn't matter) returns two entries:

  • 75569357: a registration in the Computer Software category
      
  • 75575101: a registration in the Computer Services category
     

The description for both registrations reads:

providing a navigation tool for others that enables users of a global computer network to obtain access to linked websites that contain information and services related to specific subject areas.

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:

  • Filed c. 14.Oct.1998
     
  • Denied Registration (non-final) c. 29.Apr.1999
     
  • Denied Registration (final) c. 30.May.2000
     
  • Considered Abandoned c. 14.Feb.2001

So, from the standpoint of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office, "webring" is not a registered trademark.

Step Two: Yahoo! Claims

. This is the WebRing.com system logo as of Oct.2006. This logo is shown ONLY to illustrate the logo for purposes of this article. The appearance of this logo in this article does not imply any endorsement or affiliation of any kind between this site or the author and the WebRing.com system.
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This is the new logo for the WebRing.com system, implemented in their changes of Oct.2006. It distinguishes this webring system from the other systems like Ringlink, RingSurf and Bravenet. See also my articles: WebRing.com Logos and Is Webring a Trademark?

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:

Yahoo!, the Yahoo! logo, Yahoo! in Chinese Characters, Yahooligans!, the Yahooligans! design, the "Jumpin Y Guy" logo, Do you Yahoo!?, Y!, Y! stylized, My Yahoo!, eyeballs design, Homework Answers, The Scoop, Get Local, the Worlds Favorite Internet Guide, the Sunglasses design, e Café Yahoo!, Viaweb, Shop Find, eZSpree, eZWheels, I Shops, Permission Marketing, Yoyodyne, Get Rich Click, and Geocities trademarks and service marks, and other Yahoo! logos and product and service names are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc. (the "Yahoo Marks"). 
[quoted as of October 1, 2000]

No explicit mention of "webring" anywhere.

What about other pages?

Checking the Yahoo! Important Disclaimers and Legal Information page shows:

Yahoo!, the Yahoo! logo, Yahooligans!, the "Jumpin' Y Guy" logo, Do You Yahoo!?, My Yahoo!, Art Soup, the eyeballs design, Homework Answers, Get Local, the Kid's Web Guide, the World's Favorite Internet Guide, School Bell, the Sunglasses design, and other Yahoo! logos and product and service names are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc. Beatrice's Web Guide is a trademark of Yahoo! Inc. and Wire Networks, Inc.
[quoted as of October 1, 2000]

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

U. S. Patent and Trademark OfficeU. S. Patent and Trademark Office  ««»»

U. S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademarks PageU. S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademarks Page  ««»»

Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)Trademark electronic Search System (TeSS): Used to search for trademarks. (Go to this page then click on "Search Trademarks".) ««»»

Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval System (TARR)Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval System (TARR): The system that can return status and history on a trademark application. ««»»

P75569357: Webring as Computer SoftwareP75569357: 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 ServiceP75575101: 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.  ««»»

Yahoo! Terms of ServiceYahoo! Terms of Service  ««»»

Yahoo! Important Disclaimers and Legal InformationYahoo! Important Disclaimers and Legal Information  ««»»

 
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 Webring News and Announcements

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WebRing.com Changes Big Time ---  It was October 2001 that WebRing.com came into existence following the end of Yahoo! Webring. Now, 5 years later, WebRing.com is changing again. Moving from primarily a free service to primarily a paid service, the system is undergoing massive change. Stay tuned.

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This is the logo for the Ringlink system. This logo is shown ONLY to illustrate the logo for purposes of this article. The appearance of this logo in this article does not imply any endorsement or affiliation of any kind between this site or the author and the Ringlink system.  

Ringlink Activity  ---  While Ringlink has not released a new version since Version 3.2 on 21.Feb.2005, the system seems to be getting a lot of activity. Many people are discovering this great webring system and moving their webrings here. If you don't know about Ringlink, definitely check out this great webring system. I personally recommend it.

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This is the logo for the World of Webrings Community. This logo is shown ONLY to illustrate the logo for purposes of this article. The appearance of this logo in this article does not imply any endorsement or affiliation of any kind between this site or the author and the World of Webrings Community.  

WoW  ---  The World of Webrings features the World of Webrings discussion list. It offers a forum for both webring owners (ringmasters) and webring members to discuss the latest hot topics about all webrings, including WebRing.com, Ringlink , Alt-Webring, RingSurf, Bravenet and others. If you belong to any webring in any webring service, you should join this list.

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This is the logo for the RingSurf system. This logo is shown ONLY to illustrate the logo for purposes of this article. The appearance of this logo in this article does not imply any endorsement or affiliation of any kind between this site or the author and the RingSurf system.  

RingSurf Passes 3 Year Anniversary  ---  It was 3 years ago, on 16.Aug.2003 when the WoW list list noted that RingSurf's domain name registration had changed. Then the new owner came forward. A RingSurf Feature List was developed and debated. Then, on Thanksgiving day, 27.Nov.2003 the new owner posted on the WoW list that the new RingSurf is up! If you haven't checked it out lately, see what has happened in the last three years.

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James S. Huggins is interviewed and quoted in a new Salon.com article entitled: The Strange Saga of Yahoo and Webring (05.Dec.2001)  

Article About Webrings  ---  Check out this excellent Salon.com article about the history of Yahoo! and WebRing.com: The Strange Saga of Yahoo and Webring . For some, it will bring back memories. For others, it will explain the history. Now, I wonder if they will update it to talk about the latest WebRing.com changes.

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The Wazillion Navbars Project

WNP Table of Contents 
 
The August 2000 email: Text 
 
  Project Overview 
 
 The August 2000 email: Advice 
 
  Yahoo! WebRing Lite 
 
  The August 2000 email: Remarks 
 
  The Jan 2001 Changes 
 
  Webring System Hosts 
 
  Descriptions 
 
  Forums and email Lists 
 
  Validation 
 
  Comments Across the Net 
 
  JavaScript 
 
 Mirrors of My Wazillion Stack  
 
  Links and Pages 
 
 Other Large Navbar Stacks  
 
  Glossary 
 
 Letters from RingMasters  
 
  Problem: Split Stack 
 
  Webrings That Moved or Closed  
 
  Problem: Navbar Graphic 
 
  Media Articles 
 
  Personal/Unofficial List of Problems 
 
  Other Yahoo! Integration  
 
  Why You Should Not Delete 
 
  Other Yahoo! Issue Sites  
 
  Why You Can't See The Navbar? 
 
  My Yahoo! WebRing Memberships 
 
  Is "Webring" a Trademark? 
 
  Help With Yahoo! WebRing  
 
  The January 1999 email: Text 
 
 

Want to link to my Wazillion Navbars Project?
Want to suggest a link for me to add?
Please read my
Requests and Suggestions for Linking


Webring Sections and Subsections

The Webring Section is a large section of my website. I have divided it into four major "subsections".

  • General Information
  • The WebRing.com System
  • Webrings I Own and Belong To
  • The Wazillion Navbars Project

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 - - - A chainmail web of rings - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website about webrings in general - - - This graphic is by Dylon White. Graphic copyright 2001 by Dylon Whyte of artofchainmail.com and James S. Huggins

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.

It includes my Webring FAQ, links to articles about webrings, and general help information. Click here or on the graphic.

The WebRing.com System - - - An interlocking stack of gold rings symbolizes the system - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website about the Webring.com System - - - Original image copyright Jeff McIntosh - - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com

The WebRing.com System

This subsection includes specific information about the WebRing.com system.

While not the only webring system on the net, it is the best known and the most used. I own many webrings in this system and belong to many webrings in this system. (I also own and belong to many webrings in other systems as well.) Click here or on the graphic.

Webrings I Own and Webrings I Belong To - - - A floating stack of rings - - - This graphic identifies pages of my website showing webrings I own and webrings I belong to - - - Original image copyright Jeff McIntosh - - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com

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.

The extra text menu links (previously here) are being removed in the site redesign.
Browser and search engine improvements have eliminated the motivation/necessity for them.

This page created:
before
Fri, 25.Oct.2002

Last updated:
16:18, Sat, 10.May.2014

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webring trademark search; qwerty . . . webring trademark search; qwerty