What do cosmetic surgery and Lesbians have in common?


Now that you've been roped in with a salacious post title, the answer is kind of boring and mundane.

So what do they have in common? Trademark issues.

This type of Lesbian on lesbian action involves the tiny Aegean Sea island of Lesbos, home to the ancient Greek poet, Sappho, who famously praised romantic love between women 2700 years ago and gave us the origin of the term lesbian, has been threatening to sue to protect it's name from being used by Gay rights groups.

Similar to other old world cities, and most often involving foodstuff or liquors, these areas do have some legal claims on words derived from the area if they've trademarked them in a concept known as "protected designation of origin".


Image Source: Slap Upside the Head Blog.

Think of things like

  • champagne - which can only come from certain areas of France

  • Bourbon whiskey - which has to come from Kentucky and be distilled a certain way

  • Roquefort cheese - cheese must be made from milk of a certain breed of sheep, and matured in the natural caves near the town of Roquefort in France, where it is infected with the spores of a certain fungus that grows in local caves (Ick!)

  • Budějovický Budvar beer from the Czech Republic city of Budweis which had brewed a budweiser (literally a "beer from Budweis") style of beer since the 13th century, had a 20 year lawsuit settled with American corporation, Anheuser-Busch Co. over their popular Budweiser brand. This Czech beer, praised by beer aficionados, is now available in the USA as the brand, Czechvar. (Good stuff!)


The concept of trademarking surgical procedures has caused a little controversy in recent years. In particular, a number of facelift variations have been given catchy monikers like QuickLift, ThreadLift, S-lift, MACS lifts, E-Z lift, Lifestyle lift, etc.... Some surgeons have even had enough gumption to send cease & desist letters claiming intellectual property violations for surgeons performing these procedures. They were actually asking for royalties to do these operations.

The "Lifestyle Lift", a minor variation of the "short scar" facelift procedures has been commercialized by a chain of clinics and is advertised heavily in print and media. There have been an inordinate number of complaints (see here) among patients with these clincs which may represent who is doing the surgery (often not plastic surgeons at these clinics) rather then some inherant flaw in the technique. You can get OK results in very modestly aged faces with these procedures, but I get the impression it's being used on people that need "real" facelifts. A popular variation (and one I like), the MACS lifts, is a little more powerful tool for trying to get by with shorter scars on some of these patients.

This practice goes against a long history of our profession disseminating ideas & innovations around the world. Cosmetic surgery is probably one of the only industries where businesses publish and lecture on their trade craft for free! In addition, many of these "new" surgeries have been described many times before if you know where to look. John McGraw, the father of modern reconstructive surgery, has quipped "If you think you've invented some new operation in Plastic Surgery, you probably haven't looked in German surgery journals from the 1920's!"

Rob

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