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Old 03-22-2005, 06:28 AM   #1
ElyseC
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Default Need chapter & verse for Rx symbol

This is beyond stupid, but I'm dealing with people (Lions Club International) who don't know diddly squat about what's a trademark and what isn't. My sister is an incoming district governor and each governor gets to design their own lapel pin for everyone to wear that year. Sis is a pharmacist, so asked me to design her pin with a pharmacy theme and I did. One of the elements is, naturally, the Rx symbol, which I drew from reference (didn't have time to search out which font/s I know I would find it in). Now the idjits at Lions Club are shouting (to the pin manufacturer) that "Rx" is a trademark and cannot be used. What a load of BS.

What they're requiring is that I fax them chapter and verse proving that the Rx symbol is not trademarked. I fired off a rather grumpy email to the pin vendor already explaining that, if the symbol -- an ancient one from Greek and Roman times -- is someone's trademark, then why are there commercial (and free and shareware) fonts with that character? If it's trademarked, then every doctor and pharmacy is in BIG trouble, because it appears on every prescription blank and in advertising. The whole flippin' US Postal Service also needs to be hauled away to the hoosegow, because of the commemorative pharmacy stamp they did some years back!

Soooooo, anyone got chapter and verse (on the web, ideally) I can reference in this letter I have to make up and fax to these idjits? I've been Googling, but apparently not using the best search words and phrases. I know we've discussed things like this over the years, that individual symbols cannot be trademarked, only a particular rendering of them, but I don't remember enough detail to search up official info on the Web that I can cite.

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 07:20 AM   #2
Gerry Kowarsky
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Not exactly what you wanted, but here is a link to the documentation of the Unicode range that includes the Rx symbol: http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U2100.pdf

Maybe there is something on the Unicode site about ownership of symbols.

So who does the trademark belong to according to objectors?
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Old 03-22-2005, 07:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Kowarsky
Not exactly what you wanted, but here is a link to the documentation of the Unicode range that includes the Rx symbol: http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U2100.pdf

Maybe there is something on the Unicode site about ownership of symbols.
Thanks very much. That's at least a decent start.

Quote:
So who does the trademark belong to according to objectors?
That's exactly what I want to know.

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElyseC
… that "Rx" is a trademark and cannot be used.
Maybe they are confusing Rx with the Red Cross, which is protected by trademark (or something like that). I know that Johnson & Johnson had to license it for use in their Bandaid logo.

But Rx is ancient, and quite certainly not trademarked.

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:35 AM   #5
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KT:

'But Rx is ancient'

It's the abbreviation for the Latin 'Recipe' (rendered in English by 'Take'), and although the 'R' seems to tail off in a typical fashion for doctors' writing, it's as standard as the 'et-sign' and many of the other abbreviated words used by scribes.

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 09:29 AM   #6
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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Just did a Google on [Rx symbol trademark]

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com...3/75932300.pdf

might be helpful if only for what it does not claim or say.

<< The crux of applicant’s argument that its mark PetRx.com is not merely descriptive is best summarized at page 6 of applicant’s brief as follows:

A prescription is not, however, the same as the drugs or medications themselves. Applicant’s website offers medications but it does not offer prescriptions. Applicant might be characterized as an online pharmacy but it is not an online prescription and it is not an online source for prescriptions.

Applicant readily concedes that Rx “is the conventional symbol for a written prescription.”

Applicant’s brief page 5). Applicant then argues that Rx is not the equivalent of or alternative term for medications or pharmaceutical products that are the subject prescriptions.” (Applicant’s brief page 5).

However, the symbol Rx has more than one meaning. In this regard, reference is made to applicant’s response dated December 18, 2002 to which it attached a dictionary definition of Rx from an unnamed dictionary. This dictionary makes clear that Rx stands not only as the symbol for prescription,” but also as “a remedy, cure, or the like.” In other words, applicant’s own chosen dictionary definition for Rx indicates that this symbol means not only a written prescription, but also the medications themselves. >>

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 01:45 PM   #7
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Hugh:

In Unicode the recipe symbol is called 'Prescription take'. It's U+211E. The argument was about whether PetRx.com could be the applicant's trademark, not about whether Rx is a recognized symbol (which of course it is).

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
Maybe they are confusing Rx with the Red Cross, which is protected by trademark (or something like that). I know that Johnson & Johnson had to license it for use in their Bandaid logo.
I have no idea what they're thinking of, but you'd think that Lions Club International would be smart enough to recognize that...
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Rx is ancient, and quite certainly not trademarked.
but I guess not.

Like the Red Cross, they work across borders in health care (vision and hearing).

As of tonight I haven't heard anything more, so either I enlightened them or they (whoever 'they' may be) have not yet read what I've sent them.

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
It's the abbreviation for the Latin 'Recipe' (rendered in English by 'Take'), and although the 'R' seems to tail off in a typical fashion for doctors' writing, it's as standard as the 'et-sign' and many of the other abbreviated words used by scribes.
Or 'take thou' as I've always heard my family state it.

You're right about it being kin to the 'et' sign and I'll throw that info at them if need be. Thanks for that.

   
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Hugh:

In Unicode the recipe symbol is called 'Prescription take'. It's U+211E. The argument was about whether PetRx.com could be the applicant's trademark, not about whether Rx is a recognized symbol (which of course it is).
Thanks, Hugh and Michael. I did run across that and at first thought I might have my chapter and verse, but found it to be some kind of tussle in Kansas over who can legally put the symbol in their logo, signage and advertising. I decided it skated too close to saying no one but licensed pharmacists can use the symbol. My sister is definitely a licensed pharmacist ('chemist' to folks across the various ponds), but I thought that since Lions Club Int'l. is the source of these pins, that particular trademark wrangle might make them think they're right.

I dunno, I'm just erring on the side of caution, because my sis doesn't need any more hassle over this pin.

   
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