“Yellow Pages” is a registered trademark of Telstra

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 31, 2007
Filed in News

Just a warning to everyone out there who is using the term “Yellow Pages” to describe the people directories you might develop to implement knowledge management. Today I received this letter from Telstra’s lawyers telling me that I have probably unintentionally infringed their trademark and I must remove the reference from one of our whitepapers. I will make the changes they request, as it is not a biggie, but you should be aware if you are using this terminology that you might have Telstra’s lawyers knocking at your door.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

9 Responses to ““Yellow Pages” is a registered trademark of Telstra”

  1. Patrick Lambe Says:

    How totally idiotic. Have blogged this.

  2. Robyn Says:

    Given that it was simply used as a generic term, I agree with Patrick. Cannot see how this damages the brand or its goodwill, quite the opposite. Total overkill on the part of Telstra.

  3. Cory Banks Says:


  4. Frank Connolly Says:

    Was the letter prefaced with “Not happy, Shawn !”

  5. Ruth Pedley Says:

    Thanks for this – I’ve linked to it from my PSL blog to remind us in the UK too.

  6. Says:

    I’m working on a Russian “Yellow Pages”, but my lawyer strongly advised me to use a different term, so I’m religated to “Russian Business Directory”. BTW, people looking for those listings are still using the term “Russian Yellow Pages”, and I can still see a lot of directories using it…

  7. Net Magellan Says:

    > Given that it was simply used as a generic term, I agree with Patrick.
    That’s percisely the point. Once a Registered trademark enters everyday speech as a generic term, e.g. Band-Aid, Kleenex, Xerox, iPod (all Registered TMs), the owner loses some of their rights to the mark.
    It all seems idiotic until you happen to own a valuable mark one day.

  8. D.O. Says:

    Hello, Does this mean that my “Yellow” shirt, my “Yellow” post-it notes (sorry, slipped up there as post-it is a trade mark) cannot be used? 99.9% of these so called trade marks and copyrights are just a load of garbage. Then almost everything you write will contravene trade marks and copyright.
    I do not believe that you can copyright a word or series of words, or a musical note or a series of musical notes or the whole book industry and music industry would come to a standstill.
    If perchance ‘you happen to own a valuable mark one day’ then it should be totally unique and not something in common usage. Regards, D.

  9. JEnnifer Winland Says:

    Looked up this topic and found someone’s comment on this link saying “yellow pages” is not trademarked. Scroll down to see the comment.

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