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Trademark This™

When the intricacies of the law are at issue, it’s always best to consult an attorney

I feel compelled to respond to the letter from John Grant in the Oct. 2, 2013 issue of the City Paper (The Mail), if only to reassure the City Paper that it may (and should) indeed use the TM symbol with its BESTY trademark. Any trademark owner may use the TM symbol in connection with its mark to put the public on notice that they are using the mark as a source-identifier for the goods/services at issue. The trademark need not be registered for the TM symbol to be legally applied—in the case of registered marks, it is actually advisable to use the encircled R (®) symbol (but this symbol may not be applied to non-registered marks). In fact, in the case of trademarks that are not used in interstate commerce, the TM symbol is the only option, as interstate use is required for federal registration of a trademark. In the case of the BESTY mark referenced by Mr. Grant for dog collars and leashes, the owner of this mark (Kathy Ann Chermak) would have no grounds to send City Paper a cease-and-desist letter—identical marks may be used by two different parties on goods and services that are in no way related. This is how Jaya Apparel Group LLC is able to have a coexisting registered mark for BESTIES (essentially identical to BESTY in the eyes of the Patent and Trademark Office) for various articles of clothing, and how MGA Entertainment, Inc. will soon have their BESTIEZ mark for various entertainment services allowed. Customer confusion is the key—customers are not likely to believe that City Paper’s BESTY character originated from Kathy Ann Chermak, just as they are not likely to believe that Kathy Ann Chermak’s BESTY dog collars are associated with City Paper. In conclusion, a trademark search is always recommended before putting forth the marketing money to apply the mark to your goods/services, and taking advice from letter writers is not recommended. . . . When the intricacies of the law are at issue, it’s always best to consult an attorney—I happen to know a few if you are ever doubting yourselves!

Tina Neuman

Baltimore

The Science of Poetry

For over three years, I’ve been collecting the work of local poets for a Baltimore historical organization. We have a wealth of writing talent in our city, and it’s good to know Christophe Casamassima of Furniture Press (“Bards in a Car,” Feature, Sept. 25) is aware as well and wants to “take the show on the road.”

However, I disagree with his statement that poetry shouldn’t be taught like science. The scientific method is totally different, yet poetry does have rules, structure, and protocols. I’ve attended my share of readings and have studied the work of contemporary writers, and so often come away feeling much is just “pretty word pictures”—not actual poetry. This view is shared by others, by the way.

While it is fine to see and feel what others may miss, being skilled at putting language into a structure is vital to the art. Without some knowledge of the poetic craft, history, and form, much is lost. Poetry is a spoken art that goes back way before writing existed, so using words and rhetoric forcefully is vital. Too often now, all rules are neglected.

Another point to be made is that the literary scene in Baltimore (and elsewhere, I understand) lacks cohesion. Someone once said, “There is no ‘there’ there,” and this is true of our local poetry scene. It’s wonderful the Furniture Press tour will travel outside Baltimore to connect with new readers and writers. It would be better still if a similar effort could be spent organizing more cooperation and outreach right here at home. Poets need to learn what’s happening around them, promote one another’s work, and start living outside their personal literary bubbles!

Rosalind Ellis Heid

Baltimore

Editor’s Note: City Paper has to award itself the “Best Best-of-Baltimore Fuck Up” for forgetting to include these two blurbs in the 2013 Best Of Baltimore issue. We regret the error.

Best Meatball Sub

Luigi’s

846 W. 36th St., (410) 814-0652, luigisdeli.net

Start with half a loaf of crusty, fresh-baked Italian bread. Hollow out the middle. Add pitch-perfect marinara, authentic provolone, and two enormous homemade meatballs, halved, prepared with meat possessing the perfect lean-to-fat ratio. Top it off with grated Parmesan. Toast it. You have the most superb meatball sub imaginable. And it’s so mammoth, you will be able to ration it into enough portions to last you for about a five meals.

Best New Record Store

Black Mess

3853 Falls Road, (443) 478-7681, blackmessblog.blogspot.com

Black Mess, which joined the big family of specialized shops in Hampden in April of 2012, is not only a heavy-metal record store but a microcosm of the metal experience. Owner Alex Camacho is a chill dude who is only too happy to recall the highlights of Deathfest with you. And beyond the records, Black Mess has killer accessories, including jewelry made from animal skeletons, patches for your denim vests, and endless merch from your favorite bands.

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