Dr. Ann de Wees Allen has trademarked her own name. Given that she seems to marketed some dietary aids using her name, this isn’t really unusual. The weirdness starts with this note on the About Dr. Allen page:

Dr. Ann de Wees Allens’ name is a Federally Registered Trademark. It is illegal to use the name (Dr. Ann de Wees Allen) on any website or document without prior written permission.

You know, just like how you can’t even write “Coca-Cola” because it’s trademarked. Except that you can because trademarks have no legal protection in the way that the doctor thinks they do. I can write her name, as I am here. I can’t made a product and use her name on it, but I can certainly use it when referring to her, or any product she makes.

More embarrassing is the link she provides to the web pages violating trademark law by using her name. Does she think she can really shame anyone into line? If they’re violating federal law as clearly as she claims, why not just sue them into the stone age?

The icing on the cake is java code on her page that prevents visitors from right-clicking. Do so and a window appears, saying “Copyright protect!” How quaint. It’s like 1997 all over again and Dr. Allen has just set up a ‘site’ on this new thing called ‘the Internet.’

She may not realize it, but it’s a damned good thing that trademarks don’t work the way she claims. Nutrilab Corporation, Inc. own the trademark on her name, not her. I presume she’s at least part of the company, if not its owner, but should the time come that she leaves or is forced out, she wouldn’t be able to use her own name!

But of course her claim that any use of her name without prior written permission is laughable. Mark Levinson started a company in 1972 that makes high-end audio equipment. It’s sufficiently high-end that most people have never heard of it or him. He left the company in the 1980s and it’s still serving audiophiles with money enough to indulge themselves. Did Levinson have to change his name because of the trademark held by the company? Certainly not! He couldn’t go and start another audio equipment company using his name without landing in legal trouble, but with that exception, his name is still his name. I’m sure Peter Norton tells a similar story.

I don’t know who Dr. Allen retained for IP representation, but she made a bad choice if they told her that trademarks work in this way.