The Chicago Sun-Times reports on an unusual trade mark infringement suit. The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) -- the body that owns trade mark registrations for the Dewey Decimal library classification system -- is suing New York’s The Library Hotel for failing to credit the OCLC as the owner of the Dewey trade marks. The hotel contains some 6,000 books, ranged across its ten floors, each of which is dedicated to one of the Dewey system’s main categories. Thus room 800.001 on the literature floor, for example, features a collection of erotica, while Room 1000.003 on the general knowledge floor pays homage to the encyclopedia.

The OCLC is claiming permanent injunctive relief and triple profits by way of damages. Said Joe Dreitler, acting for OCLC:

"This is a cooperative of libraries, a nonprofit organisation. The last thing they wanted to do was have lawyers get involved in filing a lawsuit. But they also recognise that one of their crown jewels, as an asset, is Dewey Decimal".

Craig Spitzer, the Library Hotel's general manager, responded: "We are not a library lending books, but rather we have created a unique hotel experience for booklovers to enjoy. We do not believe that our guests or other consumers are confused into thinking that the Library Hotel's hospitality services and the OCLC's information services come from the same source”.

The IPKat quietly ponders on whether there is any way of referring to the Dewey Decimal classification system other than by using its trade mark, as all good librarians appear to do. It would be nice to see whether courts on both sides of the Atlantic would regard the word DEWEY as being not a little generic.

Check out the Dewey Decimal System here and compare it with the Library of Congress Classification
Dewey classification for Gideon’s (and other) bibles here
Discover Melville Dewey here
Other thematic hotels here, here, here, here and here

OCLC THROWS THE BOOK AT LIBRARY HOTEL <strong>OCLC THROWS THE BOOK AT LIBRARY HOTEL</strong> Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, September 29, 2003 Rating: 5

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