Fun With Trademarks

In the time since the Freedom Scientific v. Serotek lawsuit hit the blind blogosphere and Darrell put the petition online, we at Blind Confidential have received a number of emails and other communications suggesting who might sue whom over trademarks and other IP silliness.  It is my personal opinion that all of these lawsuits waste people’s time, money and energy and that instead of litigating, the blindness community should focus on innovating.


Yesterday, I received the following letter informing a company called Envision America, a group I didn’t know existed until a BC reader CC’d us on a letter he sent them, suggesting that they should take legal action against Freedom Scientific for using the word “Omni” in the branding of their new line of PAC Mate devices:


Envision America Should Sue Freedom Scientific!


From: A. Reader


Subject:  Notification of Copyright Infringement!


To whom it may concern!


Freedom Scientific is calling their new PAC Mate release: “Pac Mate

Omni” which in my not so humble opinion violates the trademark of your “ID Mate Omni” product. Since their “ScanTalker” application (which runs on the PAC Mate) directly competes with the “ID Mate Omni” could cause potential customers to become confused about which product they are getting resulting in income loss for Envision America, I strongly recommend that you consult with your legal counsel on this very serious matter. I am not an attorney, but I believe you have a case to sue them for trademark infringement. They do not tolerate such behavior in related industries and neither should you!



  1. Reader


To be fair, I will add that there is a new product in the field of technology for people with vision impairment that has recently won a major European design award that uses the name “Topaz” – a Freedom Scientific trademark so I suggest Dr. Hamilton get on the phone with his attorneys to keep this talking RFID system out of the hands of people who may enjoy using it until they change its name.  We wouldn’t want FS technical support getting any questions about highly innovative award winning devices that use very exciting breakthrough technologies.


If asked to, I will personally testify on behalf of Freedom Scientific if they pursue the Topaz RFID product as, when I read the article about it winning an award, I grew very confused wondering how and why yet another CCTV could possibly win anything regarding innovation so, I, for one, found the identical names caused a conflict in my mind and surely believe this confusion must exist elsewhere.


Of course, I do wonder if Freedom Guide Dogs, Freedom Vision or the AT dealer Freedom of Speech might feel they should go after Freedom Scientific.  What about Scientific American, the terrific magazine, now over a century old, they published articles about blindness well before Dick Chandler was born and, maybe just maybe, people might confuse the Freedom Scientific web site with their own.


All of this kind of makes my head spin as their always seems to be a trademark that existed before another got granted.  Crossing technologies, the UK based Lotus automobile corporation used to sell a car called Excel and a London newspaper contained the headline “Lotus Improves Excel” which made people at Microsoft scratch their heads.  Fleet Bank shares the name of the most popular enema company so, when they bought naming rights to the new BostonGarden and called it The Fleet Forum, people around the city started calling it the enema center as that’s how the new place made us feel and, frankly, it’s the feeling I get from all of this litigation nonsense.




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I'm an accessibility advocate working on issues involving technology and people with print impairment. I'm a stoner, crackpot, hacker and all around decent fellow. I blog at this site and occasionally contribute to Skepchick. I'm a skeptic, atheist, humanist and all around left wing sort. You can follow this blog in your favorite RSS reader, and you can also view my Twitter profile (@gonz_blinko) and follow me there.

2 thoughts on “Fun With Trademarks”

  1. Actually, who should sue Freedom Scientific is Microsoft’s very own partner and leading manufacturer of Windows Mobile devices. High Tech Computer Corporation (HTC) has announced imminent release of the successor of the HTC Universal and it is called HTC Omni. Like the PACMate, it has Windows Mobile 6, a 400 MHz processor, and 128 MB RAM. Unlike the PACMate, it is a Pocket PC phone (meaning, you have not only PDA applications but also cell phone functionality) supporting GSM/GPRS/UMTS/HSDPA, has built-in GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, TV / VGA output, an 800 x 480 pixel WVGA display, and you will find it easier to sell not just to blind people but even to the sighted if you get tired of it and want to upgrade to a newer model later on. Moreover, it has an integrated QWERTY keyboard but you can most certainly use Bluetooth-enabled external keyboards if you prefer, 256MB ROM, a microSD card slot, and who knows what other features will be unveiled as release draws near. Note that such a mainstream Pocket PC device can be made accessible with Mobile Speak Pocket ( for a far lower price: device, phone subscription and screen reader combined. And with MSP, you can also use a Bluetooth-enabled Braille input/output device to control the Omni wirelessly as well as have speech and Braille output. For those who have low vision, they can use Mobile Magnifier Pocket ( instead, which works seamlessly with MSP if they want speech with full-screen magnification. For more info on the HTC Omni, check out or any other web pages that they can Google for.

  2. Howdy Comrades!
    I was going to say something gonzo weird about this Omni-Con doohickey, but I am too sad over the passing of Ladybird Johnson. Austin wouldn�t be what it is had Ladybird lived elsewhere, and it won�t be quite the same now that she�s left us. May you rest in a peaceful meadow of Texas wildflowers, Madam First Lady . Regards,
    Chairman Mal
    Power to the Peeps!

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