If the idea of two female geeks locked in battle gets you a little hot under the collar, the reality may be somewhat disappointing: it takes place mainly through intellectual property lawyers.
Melbourne’s Rosie Cross is an online feminist writer whose site is named geekgirl. Sydney’s Kate Carruthers is an IT consultant (among other roles) who wants anyone to be able to use the name geekgirl. And that’s where the conflict comes.
To sum up the dispute, which is detailed at ZDNet:
- Cross trademarked “geekgirl” way back in 1995 to cover online publishing.
- Carruthers claims Cross has tried to stop other people using the term, including as a generic Twitter hashtag.
- Carruthers has applied for a more general trademark for “geekgirl” and says that if it’s granted, she’ll immediately cover it with a creative commons license so anyone can use it.
- Somebody has filed a formal dispute of the trademark.
There is some irony to the dispute: while trademarks are usually country specific, both women are battling over a term which is inherently international. And there’s plenty of people outside of Australia who are already using the term, including American tech training company Geek Girl, and a British band named GeEkgiRL.