Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003441, Sat, 17 Oct 1998 11:43:09 -0700

Lo and Trademarks (fwd)
>From Mary Bellino (iambe@javanet.com):

Galya wrote: "if Lolita were a cartoon character, her name
would have been trade-marked. Maybe that's
what DN should focus on instead of going after Ms. Pera"

Actually, the very first posting in this discussion, which contained the
original AP story, did mention trademark infringement:

"The lawsuit accusing Ms. Pera and her publisher of copyright
and trademark infringement was filed Thursday in federal
court in New York by Nabokov's estate"

I meant to mention this in my earlier posting, and to ask if anyone knew
what it meant, but I forgot.
So does anyone know what it means? Can a fictional character be
trademarked, and if so, do all editions of the novel now have to print
the trademark symbol (a small 'TM') after every appearance of the name,
viz: "LolitaTM, light of my life, fire of my loins"? May we discuss the
novel in an e-mail without reprinting the trademark symbol? What about
in a scholarly article? Will I have to give up my Call Me IshmaelTM
Telephone Answering Machine and my OblomovTM Snoozomatic Alarm Clock and
my Official Buck MulliganTM Beer Mug and Hankie Set? Shall we just
forget about Ms. Pera and have a contest to see who can come up with the
best literary-character trademark merchandise?