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Economist: Trademarks: Rosetta Stone vs. Google

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The Legend
BGO Ownership Group
Feb 1, 2010
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Waynesboro, VA

James Madison

Pretty interesting, and has some far reaching permutations, I would think.

HERE'S a story that plays into language in two different ways. Rosetta Stone has sued Google. Rosetta Stone makes whiz-bang, heavily marketed language-learning software. I reviewed it in 2006, and found it nifty, but wanting, for reasons laid out on this blog a couple of years ago. (Any readers that have used a newer version are encouraged to update us in the comments. I know that some flaws have been fixed in more recent versions.)

Rosetta Stone's qualities aside, our second linguistic issue is intellectual property. What you can do with someone else's trademark name is a partly linguistic issue. (Ben Zimmer, linguist and lexicographer, weighed in on Apple's "app store" lawsuit, for example, and was cited in the case's legal briefs.) So: there are people who might be interested in Rosetta Stone. If they asked me about it, I might steer them to a different product, or at the very least, to products they should use alongside Rosetta Stone.

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