Thursday, January 10, 2008

If I can't call those tatas, is this still called a bra?

braless tatasAfter publishing the last post I realized that I couldn't possibly have been the first guy to come up with that clever title, so I Googled the term “Bodacious Tatas”. Surprise! The first site on the page references the principal investment holding company of the Tata Group, the maker of the Tata Nano automobile. In 2000, Tata Sons complained to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that someone had registered the domain name bodacious- tatas dot com, misappropriated the trademarked name Tata, and was using it in bad faith at some risk to Tata Sons.

From Wikipedia (a bit dated): WIPO is an agency of the United Nations. Unlike other branches of the United Nations, WIPO has significant financial resources independent of contributions from its Member States. In 2006, over 90% of its income was expected to be generated from the collection of fees under the intellectual property application and registration systems it administers. Deep pockets. Interesting and important work. I'm not sure how this august body was convinced to use its clout to hammer a porn site.

I don't know how much impact an internet domain belonging to a porn site can have on a monster international holding company. WIPO thought investors might believe that Tata Sons were somehow affiliated with, had given its blessing to, or licensed its trademark to the porn site promoter. It seems to me that very few significant investors are quite that stupid. Regardless, ICANN yanked the domain.

Interesting stuff. The company adopted the name “TATA” in 1917. I suppose it was impossible to determine whether hooters (no copyright infringement intended, there) were called tatas earlier than that. Even if they were I doubt anyone thought to copyright the name, and I really don't suppose anyone tattooed any trademarks anywhere. To avoid any association with boobies or porn sites, will they call that fabric thing you can put on the front of a Tata to avoid stone chips in the paint something other than a bra? Ah, it's still a cool little car.