5

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What do you think of Loren Cordain trademarking 'The Paleo Diet'?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 03, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Seems like he's enforcing his trademark now.

http://www.fatburningman.com/paleo-diet-trademarked-loren-cordain/

https://twitter.com/pauljaminet/status/286884023261872128

Not a fan of intellectual property firstly, but this is some doucheyness for sure.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 21, 2013
at 12:16 AM

So how the hell are edible gels and sports drinks paleo? Paleo has jumped the shark.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 04, 2013
at 12:59 AM

It would be pretty sad if Cordain is obsolete. He's one of the very few academic researchers looking at paleo. The guy from Sweden(?) is the only other one I think of off the top of my head.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 04, 2013
at 12:57 AM

Matt, he probably is greedy, but if he wants to retain his trademark, he MUST protect it by law, otherwise he WILL lose it. CD, plenty of book titles are trademarks.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 10:32 PM

I think somebody already beat you to it. ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:33 PM

Thanks for the update, CD. Does look like we'll be able to buy The Paleo Diet branded boxed processed junk soon.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:10 PM

Worth pointing out that Loren going after Abel has got me at least following Abel on twitter now.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:03 PM

both kleenex and xerox are trademarked, not terms of art

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:03 PM

I'm thinking he probably trademarked with his book. I'd have less issue with his action if he was protecting his book against rip offs that directly use the "The Paleo Diet" name, but I don't think that's what's happening. He's getting greedy and hoping to push folks around (or his publisher or some lawyer is doing so on his behalf).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:59 PM

Trademarks and patents are different things, is the point, but the issue is still the same: claims of intellectual ownership over very widely used and generic terms.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:57 PM

@Wisper, what has nothing to do with patents?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:56 PM

It's quite a bit more complicated than that. Has Cordain used the (tm) mark along with The Paleo Diet and publicized the fact in the past that it is a trademark, or did he just recently come up with the idea? If it's widely used (IMO it is) it's not a valid trademark. Even if it is a valid trademark but enters the general vernacular you might lose it if you don't protect it (think kleenex and xerox).

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:53 PM

Yep, I called it over a year ago: some people find there are not enough ways to monetize paleo, so they expand to decidedly un-paleo ways.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:52 PM

Nothing to do with patents.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:51 PM

Won't stand any test in courts due to it being so widely used. Ignore the troll, move along.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I think the right use of a trademarked phrase is to prohibit competing products with the same name. So for instance, nobody should be allowed to use the phrases "Paleo Diet" or "Primal Blueprint" as book titles, or "Mark's Daily Apple" as a website name, just like you can't make computers named "Apple". I'm guessing Sisson owns the phrase "Primal Fuel" for his supplements, but not the word Primal itself. Abel James' description of the problem has him violating Cordain's trademark just by using the phrase, which is ridiculous.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:44 PM

Hell, you can trademark anything. Ron Popeil has "But wait... There's more!™"

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:42 PM

"Doucheyness" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:33 PM

he's not trademarking "Paleo" he's trademarking "The Paleo Diet"

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:30 PM

"The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living" came out in 1989 (Boyd, Eaton, Shostak) - I feel those guys have as much right to the idea as Cordain. It's not like Cordain invented and defined Paleo all by himself.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:19 PM

@PrimalFit-D, I was being facetious about trademarking it. @MathGirl72, Matt came up with the term -- if you steal from me, you are stealing twice!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:15 PM

Just to be devil's advocate, Sisson trademarked "Primal" and is able to use to to sell his diet and his supplements. Why shouldn't Cordain be able to do the same outside of the book title?

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:39 PM

Probably, but one can't always be too sure when reading a statement off the internet.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:20 PM

@CD Douchebag!!!!!!

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:16 PM

Doucheyness...I'm going to have to incorporate that into a sentence today. PrimalFit-D, I'm pretty sure there was sarcasm in CD's statement about trademarking "Ancestral Diet."

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:07 PM

My roommate is a Patton Attorney at the U.S. Patton Office you need some step by step advice if you are seriously considering trademarking it.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:03 PM

Also, and I loath the debate "Should we change the name..." but maybe this will force the issue. I personally resonate with "Archevore Diet" but I suppose Harris has that trademarked. I'm going to the patent office to get my hands on "Ancestral Diet" before anyone else does.

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13 Answers

8
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:01 PM

Seems out of place to me. I guess Cordain was the first to use the term "Paleo Diet". But I would argue that it's a term of art starting with Voegtlin and The Stone Age Diet, to Eaton Paleolithic Nutrition, to Boyd and Paleolithic Prescription.

I also believe that Lindeberg was actually the first author on the first paper that used the term "Paleolithic Diet" which "Paleo diet" is an obvious colloquial derivative.

Of course I won't be fronting the money to fight it, but I do not think his trademark is valid, and agree that it is full blown doucheyness

Edit

So I looked it up, it is a recent filing -- and not necessarily associated with his book.

In 2007 he filed for US 006 018 044 046 051 052, "The Paleo Diet", Under "Dietary and nutritional supplements; dietary supplements"

He recently abandoned that trademark under opposition.

Then, in May 2012 He filed the following:

"The Paleo Diet"

IC 005. US 006 018 044 046 051 052. G & S: Dietary and nutritional supplements; nutritional supplements in the form of gels for energy

IC 029. US 046. G & S: Meats, namely, beef, pork, lamb, buffalo, poultry, game, fish and seafood; meat jerky; eggs; edible oils; trail mix and snack bars consisting primarily of processed nuts, seeds, dried fruit; dried fruits and vegetables; processed, prepared, or roasted nuts; processed, prepared or roasted seeds

IC 030. US 046. G & S: Dried herbs; seasonings and spices; condiments, namely, catsup, mustards, horseradish, mayonnaise, salt replacements, tartar sauce, salsas, hot sauces, barbeque sauce, chutney, wasabi root, chili sauce, seafood sauce, steak sauce; spring rolls; tahini

IC 031. US 001 046. G & S: Fresh herbs and fresh seasonings; fresh fruits and vegetables

IC 032. US 045 046 048. G & S: Sport drinks

So it's a new trademark, different than the one in which he filed for his book (US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050) or his seminar ( US 100 101 107) that appears to be directly moving towards pushing a series of "The Paleo Diet" marketed foods, similar to what Atkins did with his products.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:20 PM

@CD Douchebag!!!!!!

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:16 PM

Doucheyness...I'm going to have to incorporate that into a sentence today. PrimalFit-D, I'm pretty sure there was sarcasm in CD's statement about trademarking "Ancestral Diet."

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:59 PM

Trademarks and patents are different things, is the point, but the issue is still the same: claims of intellectual ownership over very widely used and generic terms.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:03 PM

Also, and I loath the debate "Should we change the name..." but maybe this will force the issue. I personally resonate with "Archevore Diet" but I suppose Harris has that trademarked. I'm going to the patent office to get my hands on "Ancestral Diet" before anyone else does.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:33 PM

Thanks for the update, CD. Does look like we'll be able to buy The Paleo Diet branded boxed processed junk soon.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:19 PM

@PrimalFit-D, I was being facetious about trademarking it. @MathGirl72, Matt came up with the term -- if you steal from me, you are stealing twice!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:52 PM

Nothing to do with patents.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:39 PM

Probably, but one can't always be too sure when reading a statement off the internet.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:07 PM

My roommate is a Patton Attorney at the U.S. Patton Office you need some step by step advice if you are seriously considering trademarking it.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:42 PM

"Doucheyness" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:57 PM

@Wisper, what has nothing to do with patents?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 21, 2013
at 12:16 AM

So how the hell are edible gels and sports drinks paleo? Paleo has jumped the shark.

3
705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

on January 03, 2013
at 06:06 PM

The desire to market supplements indicates to me that the term "Paleo" isn't the best one anymore anyways. If we've gotten so specific that we know exactly what supplementation needs to be added to a diet to optimize it then we've moved beyond Paleo.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:53 PM

Yep, I called it over a year ago: some people find there are not enough ways to monetize paleo, so they expand to decidedly un-paleo ways.

2
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 03, 2013
at 09:22 PM

Can you get a trademark on the word "Wanker"?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 10:32 PM

I think somebody already beat you to it. ;)

2
E267b34566c69a6ca9762f047991ca69

on January 03, 2013
at 07:51 PM

Well the way I see it, I don't view Paleo as a diet anyways. Its a lifestyle change...just a different way of eating.

I'm not on a "diet" as the world views what a diet is now - I eat Paleo.

2
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:01 PM

Lol, is vegetarian trademarked yet, I bet I could make a killing.

We can always change it to paleotarian.

1
1b247b3ca673cb9a5c547c69d490de8f

on January 03, 2013
at 11:52 PM

Cordain is obsolete. Paleo is so widely used it would be impossible to enforce. It's in the same category as the word " tp". Toilet paper

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 04, 2013
at 12:59 AM

It would be pretty sad if Cordain is obsolete. He's one of the very few academic researchers looking at paleo. The guy from Sweden(?) is the only other one I think of off the top of my head.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:07 PM

It's an interesting turn of events: paleo has blossomed with lots of folks offering their take on paleo. Mentioning "paleo diet" shouldn't be cause for trademark infringement (and I don't think it is, but that's for the courts to decide), it does however spell trouble for the little-guys out there who are making their name in the paleosphere.

His intentions aren't yet clear, but so far it doesn't look good.

1
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on January 03, 2013
at 07:09 PM

I'll start my answer by quoting myself:

Fonzy, meet shark.

The term "Paleo Diet" is too generic to trademark. At the most Cordain should own the rights only to the phrase as book title.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I think the right use of a trademarked phrase is to prohibit competing products with the same name. So for instance, nobody should be allowed to use the phrases "Paleo Diet" or "Primal Blueprint" as book titles, or "Mark's Daily Apple" as a website name, just like you can't make computers named "Apple". I'm guessing Sisson owns the phrase "Primal Fuel" for his supplements, but not the word Primal itself. Abel James' description of the problem has him violating Cordain's trademark just by using the phrase, which is ridiculous.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:56 PM

It's quite a bit more complicated than that. Has Cordain used the (tm) mark along with The Paleo Diet and publicized the fact in the past that it is a trademark, or did he just recently come up with the idea? If it's widely used (IMO it is) it's not a valid trademark. Even if it is a valid trademark but enters the general vernacular you might lose it if you don't protect it (think kleenex and xerox).

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:15 PM

Just to be devil's advocate, Sisson trademarked "Primal" and is able to use to to sell his diet and his supplements. Why shouldn't Cordain be able to do the same outside of the book title?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:33 PM

he's not trademarking "Paleo" he's trademarking "The Paleo Diet"

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:03 PM

both kleenex and xerox are trademarked, not terms of art

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:44 PM

Hell, you can trademark anything. Ron Popeil has "But wait... There's more!™"

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:30 PM

"The Paleolithic Prescription: A Program of Diet & Exercise and a Design for Living" came out in 1989 (Boyd, Eaton, Shostak) - I feel those guys have as much right to the idea as Cordain. It's not like Cordain invented and defined Paleo all by himself.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 04, 2013
at 12:57 AM

Matt, he probably is greedy, but if he wants to retain his trademark, he MUST protect it by law, otherwise he WILL lose it. CD, plenty of book titles are trademarks.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:03 PM

I'm thinking he probably trademarked with his book. I'd have less issue with his action if he was protecting his book against rip offs that directly use the "The Paleo Diet" name, but I don't think that's what's happening. He's getting greedy and hoping to push folks around (or his publisher or some lawyer is doing so on his behalf).

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 03, 2013
at 06:25 PM

I think he, like a lot of people, just doesn't understand the damage he is going to do. Maybe he just wants to profit. Maybe he thinks he can improve the 'brand' by policing it, but there will always be definition creep, just like there will always be poop questions on paleohacks. It gets tiring, but the only real answer is to either put up with or get tired of it and go away. Feeding the lawyers will, in the long run, only make things worse, and it's a completely ridiculous trademark. It isn't even going to dawn on most folks that it is about diet- 'paleo' has long been used in political and academic circles for various things- including the paleolithic, of course.

The last time I talked to someone and actually recommended he look into the paleo diet, I later found myself worrying that he would, and run into a variety of errors that could screw up a newbie.

0
Ff1e4ccca548368ed2530e2cc1beb815

on January 21, 2013
at 06:38 AM

I dunno...a trademark's a trademark. If he's enforcing it, he will win.

They grant tons of these marks, anyway. Just because people call tissues Kleenexes doesn't mean they have a right to.

BTW, "stone age diet" is still available, and probably makes more sense to non-bloggers.

And Mark Sisson doesn't own Primal Diet; someone else does. (Sisson only owns Primal Blueprint.)

0
75695cbf01535756d4e0c36dee24693e

on January 20, 2013
at 09:34 PM

I started with "Neanderthin" (Ray Audette) before Cordain's "The Paleo Diet" came out so I was interested to find the science in journals and other evolutionary diet books that were mostly based on The Paleolithic Prescription (Boyd, Eaton, Shostak). When I bought Cordain's book I was quite pleased with everything in one cover, and his original research there as well. BuT I remember feeling at the time that he had borrowed the term Paleo. Also I noticed his fat ratio was a lot less than other studies of Inuit and other hunter gathers. So I gathered that the fat % was each researchers interpretation. In his case I thought the lower fat percentage was based more on fashion than science. I wondered how he could own the term "Paleo" if the fat ratios were inconsistent. This means, I had thought the term should be generic enough to encompass various writers and researchers on the topic. I had thought diets based on the Paeleolithic era would generally be allowed to use Paeleolithic or its diminutives. But in Cordain's case, I guess it is his invention of the phrase 'Paleo Diet' that might justify him copyrighting it as a book title. But as a science, I hope the phrase Paeleolithic/Paleolithic Diet will never be trademarked and instead become a research discipline on its own as evolutionary nutrition is.

0
B7e1ad6bb9ab814b8e90bdad4a472d5e

on January 03, 2013
at 10:33 PM

cave men diet! bingo

0
E6c14efded576a0bea38a2fe2beced6a

on January 03, 2013
at 10:03 PM

I guess that means there is one less "guru" for me to follow.

That leaves me with, let me think....a few thousand more.

OK I lied, I never followed him. The only reason I even know of him, and not anything about him, is because Robb Wolf mentioned him a few times.

If you really need a book and supplements to figure out how to "Eat Paleo" you need more help than any book or supplement can offer.

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