Sometimes it's nice to take a break from writing about the more serious side of intellectual property - the litigation, the legislation, the precedent-setting cases - and just reflect on how absolutely crazy it looks to people who don't work with patents, trademarks and copyrights.
So when Cracked posted "5 Everyday Things You Won't Believe Are Copyrighted," we found it so amusing that we forgave the fact that not one of their five examples is a copyright. That's right: the five examples are actually three trademarks and two patents.
Among the trademarks: The "YUUUP!" that Dave Hester uses to bid on storage units in the Storage Wars TV program; the phrases "Super Bowl" and "Super Sunday;" and the New York Police Department. And the patents: One is on two genes that cause breast cancer, and the other covers a type of mouse that Harvard College researchers developed, through transgenic modification, to have an uncanny knack for getting cancer. (It's called the "OncoMouse," which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "adding insult to injury.")
Just so you know: Copyrights protect an expression of ideas, such as a book, article, piece of music, movie, etc. A trademark identifies the source of a product or service: a company name like Ford or FedEx, a product name like Snickers, or (as the the legalese at the bottom of the page notes) Cracked, Cracked.com, and the "Cracked" logo.
Now you understand IP law a little better than the Cracked writers. (But they're still funnier than most patent attorneys.)