Shameful behavior from the SouthWest Ohio DX Association

tmSilly and frivolous lawsuits are the norm in these litigious days and have been for some time.

The SouthWest Ohio DX Association has recently engaged in what I and others consider a similar practice involving trademarks.

If your local DX club wants to celebrate the year with a dinner and get-together to discuss and brag about who worked whom over the course of the year, you’d better not call it a ‘DX Dinner’. That phrase is now trademarked and belongs to the SouthWest Ohio DX Association!

New directions in the spirit of ham radio, courtesy of the SouthWest Ohio DX Association - thanks, guys!

New directions in the spirit of ham radio, courtesy of the SouthWest Ohio DX Association – thanks, guys!

Similarly, if your club wants to honor a DXpedition, whatever you do, don’t call it the ‘DXpedition of the Year’. They’ve trademarked that phrase too – it’s theirs.

Same for ‘DXpeditioner of the Year’.

They own these phrases and you can’t use them.

Here is the documentation from the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Trademarking a slogan is one thing but to trademark a commonly-used phrase in this manner effectively removes it from the hobby – its use is now disallowed by the rest of us on threat of legal prosecution.

True amateur spirit from someone at the SouthWest Ohio DX Association.

I’d love to know which individual there is responsible. People who shame themselves ought not to be able to hide behind the banner of an organization.

See more at Paul N6PSE blog. From one commenter (K8MN) there:

W8OK would  be turning over in his grave if he knew anything like this had taken place.  I was the second president of SWODXA in those early years nothing like this would or could have been rammed through.  Those in Federal government who granted such a request cannot have realized that there have been numerous DXers and DXpeditions of the year and DX dinners for many year prior to the existence of SWODXA.

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  22 comments for “Shameful behavior from the SouthWest Ohio DX Association

  1. Dwayne
    January 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Band-Aid bandages, Band-Aid is the registered brand name. However over time everyone calls a bandage a band-aid. This will whole issue with the use of DXpedition of the Year or DX dinner is just ludicrous. What was their intent? If they wanted credit for coming up with the name in the first place Ok they get credit for making up a word or phrase. But to threaten others with frivolous lawsuits it outrageous. I sure hope they have lots and lots of money. They are going to need it. Its something that I have heard hundreds if not thousands of times in conversations and seen written at least as many times. As for me and I hope other Hams join in, I will no long have anything to do with the SouthWest Ohio DX Association or any thing they touch. I think that they should pay the price for their litigious endeavors to the fullest. Hit them in the pockets. Boycott anything and everything they have their hands in and dare them to spend the hundreds of thousands of Dollars its going to take for them to back up their patents. This is a Hobby and has been even in many charters and other documents one that precludes making a profit. To me that is the only reason the SouthWest Ohio DX Association is doing this “with hopes to make a profit.” Good Luck with that!

    • January 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      I believe there were DX dinners before SWODXA came into existence. And I know that the phrases “DXer of the year” has been used in the past without referring to this Ohio club. But they evidently decided they wanted to own these phrases so, via an act of incompetence at the Patent Office, they now do.

      Ugly-Americanism – for internal consumption only…

  2. January 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Don’t upset them, otherwise they might register “AE5X” sometimes :)

    • January 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      I had that thought too! Very little surprises me anymore.

  3. Michael WA5ICA
    January 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    As you and I know well, the Federal Government ™ doesn’t always hire the rocket scientists for those jobs.

    • January 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Isn’t that the Truth™!

  4. Dave, across the pond.
    January 11, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    It really does beggar belief. It is so contrary to ham spirit. What a club – mean spirited, ego-tripping, selfish.
    Dwanye has the best tactic – boycott any and all of that club’s and its member’s activities.
    Surely the ARRL has a view about this?

    • January 11, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      Yes,it will be interesting to see if the ARRL offers a public opinion on this. I’d be surprised if they did.

  5. John
    January 12, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Keep on using what you’ve always used. They have to be able to PAY to enforce it – lawyers, courts and the like. They might as well have trademarked “toilet paper”

  6. Declan
    January 12, 2014 at 4:41 am

    As suggested by John AE5X, I’ve emailed the following to K8JE, perhaps many should do likewise

    Dear James,

    I wish to record my protest at the actions of SWODXA in attempting to trademark the terms “DXpedition of the Year” etc and intimidation of Col at DX-World.net.

    This is the second sickening example of “Trademark Piracy” I’ve seen out of the USA this year. The other was the Specialised BIke company trying to put a small local Canadian bike shop owner out of business for naming his cafe Paris-Roubaix, apparently the company believes they have the right to own the names of ancient towns and cities in foreign lands.

    Similarly SWODX cannot claim ownership over the English or any other language and in perticular over words and phrases than have been in general usage for decades if not since the birth of Ham Radio and DXing.

    I urge you and your association to recind your ridiculous claim which goes against the very spirit of our great hobby.

    73

    Declan EI6FR

    • January 12, 2014 at 8:05 am

      That wasn’t my suggestion Declan, but I agree with it.
      Your letter is direct and to the point – thank you for writing it. I’d be interested in what response you receive…

  7. January 12, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Gracias a EA1CS por la translacion aqui:
    http://ea1cs.blogspot.com/2014/01/comportamiento-vergonzoso-de-la-swodxa.html

    Saludos de,

    John AE5X

  8. jerry terres
    January 12, 2014 at 8:41 am

    I don’t really know how it all works but in the linux world I recall something like a “GNU” public license. I think its kinda like saying ‘we already copyrighted it, so you can’t, and we say everybody can use it.’ Maybe someone (not me) needs to go through everything in ham radio and do that to keep the squatters from staking claim.
    Just a thought.
    73/72
    jerry aa1of

    • January 12, 2014 at 9:01 am

      My first thought is, what a sad commentary on our hobby that would be – but fortunately, SWODXA is an aberration, not the standard by which others operate. From comments here and on at least 4 other English-language websites, it’s clear that SWODXA does not represent the thoughts of mainstream DXers in our hobby.

  9. Peter
    January 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    What a shameful behaviour by SWODXA.

    Have they “patented” also DX? May have to be careful next time I call or they will charge a fee, hi.

    Waiting for their exec to make a statement one of these days- if they have the courage to do so.

    73
    Peter
    VA3DXA

  10. Alan Dove
    January 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I really, really hope a big pharmaceutical company involved in the diagnostics business decides to host a “Dx Dinner” to market their products to physicians (using the common medical abbreviation for “diagnosis”). It would be a hoot to see the clueless SWODXA hams try to sue them for infringement, then suddenly find themselves facing a phalanx of pharma lawyers.

    More realistically, I’m pretty sure that if this ever lands in court someone will be able to dig up lots of prior uses of these terms, invalidating the trademark.

  11. Dave Little
    January 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I just a little guy, as my last name indicates. But, I can only wonder why hams would do such a thing. What could have been their motivation to do such harm to our hobby? Why bring negative attention to one’s DX club? Help me out here.

    • January 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      IMO, they want to be “Known for Something”. To the exclusion of other clubs, they want You to associate Them with various awards, titles and events. Otherwise, a title such as “The SWODXA DXer of the Year” award would have sufficed but they wanted to assert domination over other clubs and therefore chose the more generic and broadly-encompassing “DXer of the Year” instead – again, to the exclusion of other clubs.

      Or, to sum up the above paragraph in a single word- arrogance.

      Any officer from SWODXA, please feel free to chime in and correct me if I’m wrong here…..

  12. Lou Axeman
    January 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Was the SWODXA consulted about their motivation(s) before any conclusion(s) were drawn?

    • January 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

      Their motivations are irrelevant. What is relevant is that these phrases are now of limits to other clubs. No “motivation” can justify that.

  13. Chris Pickett M5LRO
    January 29, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Well John, lets hope that ‘The DX spedition of the year’, take and erect as good an antenna system as the boys on FT5ZM because they are consistently loud and manage the pile very well with good ops. Nice location helps band open to EU in the morning and the US later – gives everyone a nice chance of working them. By the way Well done with the KX3 contact, that’s a amazing stuff, my congrats to you. 73 Chris M5LRO

    • January 29, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Agree with you, Chris, on the ops at FT5ZM…but that was NY4G that worked them QRP with a KX3.

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