Competitive Forecasting (the brand which NewsFutures Emile Servan-Schreiber is so sanguine about) is probably more than a generic mark, it might well be a descriptive mark -provided X, Y and Z.

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Tom W. Bell – (a law professor who have been following the field of prediction markets for years):

My two cents on “competitive forecasting”: It probably rises above a merely generic mark, which could never be protected, because it is not the commonplace name for the service to which it refers. It more likely qualifies as a descriptive mark, and as such could be protected only if “secondary meaning” were proven. In other words, the claimant would have to show that by dint of long exposure to its use in a commercial context, consumers had come to understand the mark not as a mere description but as the name of the claimant’s service. Whether or not “competitive forecasting” can meet that test remains a question of fact, of course.

Caveat: I speak only of U.S. law, though most common law countries follow similar principles.


PostScriptum: Put aside that discussion about branding, I like NewsFutures as a play-money prediction exchange, and I have come to realize, e-mailing Emile privately, that he is one of the man I would go for to have an in-depth foray into the real value of the prediction markets (going beyond accuracy, onto utility) &#8212-ironically, the kind of stuff that Robin Hanson is researching more seriously these days (PPT file).