Friday, March 2, 2012

Clearance Clarence

Here are more questions I don't know the answers to.

Clearing company names. If another sci-fi franchise has used a particular made-up company name, you can guess that they've "cleared" the name for use. Like the Weyland-Yutani Corporation in the Alien franchise. They're evil. They make androids and bioweapons. There's no way anybody can be suing Fox for defamation because of the Wayland-Yutani corporation.
Anthony Jones' helmet for The Prometheus Trap. We're actually calling the white version of this helmet the "Ripley" which amuses me to no end.
The question is: does that mean that essentially "Weyland-Yutani" is already cleared for your use? I imagine that nobody (Fox or whomever) can really prevail in a lawsuit against you for using that company name. It's not a copyright infringement because there just isn't enough substantive about it to be copyrightable. Right?

But it's also been cleared so not only is it not infringing, there can't be a real Weyland-Yutani that can make a liable claim if you have an evil company with that name. I'm guessing.

Anyway, another certainly cleared company is Taim & Bak, which is a company from the Star Wars universe (although I believe never actually used in any films.)


Kangas said...

You would not be able to use it, because the clearance report YOUR lawyer would run would show it's in the other movies, and therefore would fail. Whether you'd actually be sued isn't even considered--they would flag it as a possibility.

Best to make up your own name. Safer that way. Make it the name of relatives or something who will get a kick out of it.

Lindsay Stewart said...

i was at a writing meet-up a while back and this issue arose. one of the panelists said that what she had done was to register a pair of businesses which she then used in marketing her show. she stated that the costs for getting her paperwork in order was roughly the same as obtaining clearances and she retained log term value after the fact.

Andrew Bellware said...

I'm going with Bellware Robotic Dynamics then.

joe said...

man, those turned out beautifully - can't wait to see them with the clear face shields in