So, Insomniac trademarked PLUR. Why it’s not that big a deal

Yesterday, EDM Twitter discovered that Insomniac Events placed an app for the PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) brand.

“It made a lot of people very angry and was widely seen as a bad decision.”

There is already a petition to ensure that PLUR remains “in the public domain”.

“Due to the widespread use of PLUR, there should be no associated legal ownership or trademarks,” the petition states. “However, some people and companies have attempted to claim ownership of the term, which may limit its use and prevent others from promoting its message.”

A quick refresher on what a trademark is from the United States Patent and Trademark Office: “A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination thereof that identifies your goods or service.”

He continues: “A common misconception is that having a trademark means that you legally own a particular word or phrase and can prevent others from using it. However, you do not have rights to the word or phrase in general, only to how that word or phrase is used with your specific goods or services.

In the original tweet, the word PLUR is depicted in a very specific font and style. It is the combination of the word, this particular font, this particular style, for a particular good or service that is registered, nothing else.

Grant Gilmore, Founder and Editor of EDM Identity, also shed some light on the situation, pointing out that PLUR has already been filed many times and in many different use cases. Insomniac placing a trademark on a specific use of the word in a specific font for a specific purpose does not remove the word from the public domain, nor does it imply that Insomniac “owns” the word.

If you need any more reason not to sue Insomniac for this, Frankie Bones himself, the de facto creator of PLUR, has given Insomniac his blessing. “Pasquale Rotella is the one and only person alive on the planet today who has done more for rave culture [than] someone else,” he said. “So I gave my blessing.”

Moral of the story? It’s not the end of the world, nor the end of PLUR.

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