Report submission edits

A number of people report dog fouling through FixMyStreet, using slightly more… colloquial language. A number of councils have strict obscenity filters, blocking anything containing swearing. As I’m a pragmatist and not that interested in campaigning against councils blocking legitimate emails from their citizens (feel free!), FixMyStreet simply changes any “dog shit” reference to “dog poo”. This works well for everyone.

Recently, the infamous Intellectual Property Manager from Portakabinâ„¢ Limited got in touch to complain about a couple of reports on FixMyStreet containing the words “portacabin” or “portaloo”. Again, as a pragmatist, I’m not really interested in whether users using trade marks or trade mark variants in a generic way on a problem report actually constitutes trade mark infringment (actually, I’d guess not), I just want legal people to go away and not waste our precious resources. So from now on, any report containing portakabin or similar will become [portable cabin], and portaloo will become [portable loo].

For anyone who’s interested, this is accomplished through a simple regular expression, that looks for porta followed by 0 or more spaces, then cabin, kabin, or loo, and sticks “ble” in the middle.


  1. Portakabin is a trademark. portacabin isn’t (and was denied to the manufacturers of PK’s as long ago as 1963 on the grounds that it was already in generic use). Don’t let these idiots bully you.

  2. As I said in the post, it’s quite possibly not infringement to even use the trade mark, let alone for variants; but I don’t really care and don’t want to spend time on legal arguments that could be better spent elsewhere. Not being bullied, just pragmatism.