FYI, firstname.lastname@example.org is not the email address for Merriam-Webster. It is the address for Word for the Wise, a radio show that M-W provides reference for, hence the AOL address. Emailing that address will only get a message to Kathleen Taylor of WAMC, the National Public Radio affiliate in Albany, New York. If you want to write to Merriam-Webster about pulling McJobs, do it through their comment form, located here: http://www.m-w.com/service/service.htm.
So all your hot air about "Possibly, there's an information strategy surfacing here. If your company gets a bad-sounding nickname, quickly register it (or something as legaly reasonably close as possible) as a trademark. If possible, give it a context of charity - and send the lawyers after anyone who dares to use it." was completely inaccurate. There was no strategy such as the one you describe. You should remove that part of your argument, it just makes you look stupid and foolish.
Removing it would be revisionist - I wouldn't do that. Even if I thought it was wrong.
But doesn't it seem like a kind of spin conrol strategy: "The trademarked lapsed in February 1992, and was declared 'Dead' ... Following the publication of Douglas Coupland's smash 'Generation X' in paperback edition in October 1992 (the book first appeared in 1991), which popularized the term, McDonald's restored the trademark."
It's not used for any specific goods, services or activities.
If it's a stretgy, it's certainly a stupid - to protect your reputation with legalese and lawyers often to backfires - but McDonald's has made stupid choices before (case in point, the London McLibel trial).
You could of course argue that McDonald's is not behaving strategically (their original complaint with Websters didn't do much to improve their trademark), so it's probably not a strict strategy. I could agree with that.
But, others can use the technique and do it better.
I would imagine, although I don't have any inside information, that people at the corporate level in McDonalds are torn between protecting their trademark and hoping that if they ignore it, it will all go away. Bad publicity is what they're afraid of.
Of course, at the same time, they don't want to enshrine themselves in the public's mind as the model of a dead-end employer, although they're too late for that one.)
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