species names & reg. Trademark?

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Mon Feb 3 06:09:45 CST 1997

At 09:00 AM 02-03-97 +0100, Peter Scuchert wrote:
>dear collegues
>This weekend I saw on a milk box an advertisement for a dairy product
>containing Lactobacillus reuteri. Nothing special so far, only the species
>name was followed by an ominous symbol for registered trademark! I was
>horrified. Do I have to patent my newly described animals?
>Can species names be protected trademarks? I thought that species names are
>the property of all.

If it is the product of genetic engineering, it may be possible to trademark
it. The legal precedent is similar to laws that permit copyrighting or
trademarking names of flowering plant cultivars that are human "creations"
rather than works of nature.  These protections even extend to prohibiting
the propagation of plants so covered.

Thomas G. Lammers
Department of Botany                     Classification, Nomenclature,
Field Museum of Natural History          Phylogeny and Biogeography
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive       of the Campanulaceae
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at fmppr.fmnh.org
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317
fax:        312-427-2530

"... what could possibly be easier or more beautiful than 'Campanula'?  What
affectation more gratuitous and silly than 'bell-flower'?"  -- R. Farrer

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