Worst IP Mistake I’ve Ever Seen. Some Editor Needs to be Fired.

February 6, 2012

Sorry, but I really can’t let this one go. And unlike the usual articles where the nature of the intellectual property is unclear, or if the writer uses “patent” when he/she actually meant “trademark,” this one is even worse.

The article in question is entitled “Apple Accused of Patent Infringement.” Unfortunately, it’s about the Proview trademark dispute. The thing is, I wouldn’t have been surprised if that headline was simply attached to an article about trademark or copyright. That kind of thing happens all the time — the journalist understood the issue and explained it properly, but the doofus editor who came up with the headline not only didn’t bother to read the actual article, but never bothered to check if the IP reference in the headline was even relevant.

But that’s relatively excusable compared to what we’ve got here. Both the editor and the journalist who wrote the article should be flogged 50 times with a wet noodle for this lede:

A Shenzhen-based enterprise has accused technology giant Apple of patent infringement on the iPad – a trademark both companies claim.

In the same sentence! Seriously, how does that happen? And you can’t explain it with the usual not-familiar-with-English excuse, unless the person thought that “patent” and “trademark” are synonyms, which is hard to believe. To screw up like that, you almost had to mean it.

Glad to get that off my chest.

4 thoughts on “Worst IP Mistake I’ve Ever Seen. Some Editor Needs to be Fired.

  1. ceh

    You’ll get a kick out of this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/sports/basketball/at-the-buzzer-its-all-jeremy-lin-as-knicks-edge-raptors.html

    They may have fixed it by the time you read it, so here’s a copy/paste of the relevant paragraph:

    By now, it all seems almost routine: the adoration, the intense news media attention and the occasional oddities. Two people have applied for patents on “Linsanity,” according to Bloomberg News. Stephen Colbert riffed on Lin in his Monday night broadcast, saying, “This kid has done the unthinkable: Make people want to watch the New York Knicks!”

    Ta da– not by some English-as-a-hobby China Daily reporters/editors, but by the NY Times.

    1. Stan Post author

      Yeah, that’s a common IP mistake for journalists. Drives me nuts. How hard is it to learn the difference between copyright, patent and trademark? Takes all of one minute, if that. And it comes up often enough to justify the loss of a minute.