I'm not a trademark attorney - or any type of attorney relating to business - so I can't tell you about the nuances of the law - but I do have to question an office that won't let the band "The Slants" trademark their own name as an Asian American group (who obviously aren't trying to slur themselves and we all get it) - as well as not granting a trademark for "Angry Asian Man" because one already exists for "Angry Little Asian Girl".
Both are great brands but completely different.
One's a media outlet (in the broader sense) - at it's base a blog expanded to other digital properties - and the other a character/set of characters - expanded to cartoons, dvd, merchandise, etc. (and there's a mug, dvd, and ALAG handbag in my house).
It's the Asian that confuses everyone.
It's the Angry that confuses everyone.
But you can have companies and brands with the same name or similar ones.
It's not unheard of. It's not a new concept.
Isn't it a little racist to deny those applications?
I'm going with yes.
On ALAG VS AAM
From a business standpoint - I get it.
You have to look after your brand and things aren't always as cut and dry as everyone makes it out to seem. As the owner of a trademark you have the absolute right to enforce that trademark because you've put in work to attain that trademark.
Your money. Your time. That's fair. That's business.
If someone can't get a trademark because I already own it or something similar - good. That's why I put in the trademark - to help protect my business. And it's up to me as the trademark holder, my right as that trademark holder, to be able to enforce it at will - even if it's with another company I've done business with previously because objectives, niches, and core audiences change.
Do I try to enforce trademark with a company that's helped my brand?
Do I suggest theft of IP?
Do I make it all public even with the grey areas?
Well - that's a different story...
Non-Profits, Social Justice, And Making A Living At It
If you've worked in the non-profit sector, you'll know that similar organizations compete for similar dollars and a lot of non-profits are run like businesses - and sometimes it's just strange to see like minded organizations, for good, work against each other - or rub up against each other uncomfortably in small corners.
I view this in the same way.
Or like being in Being John Malkovich.