Idaho Potato Commission As Trademark Trolls

from the go-eat-a-non-Idaho-potato dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in various versions of this story about how the Idaho Potato Commission owns the trademark on the use of the word "Idaho" in conjunction with any potato products, and has forced The Idaho Fry Company to change its name. Lawyers pointed out that The Idaho Fry Company could fight back -- and likely win -- but that it was a lot more costly than just changing its name, so the owners went with the latter option and caved in to the Idaho Potato Commission. The Potato Commission explained "we have to protect the name." Of course, the spokesperson left out the fact that you can't hold a trademark on a descriptive phrase -- and it would seem like Idaho being used to accurate name the state in which something was made is descriptive.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous of Toronto, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 3:19am

    What more are these gonna become

    My god, first it's internet trolls, now it's trademark trolls?

    Dam, I must REALLY be behind all this crappic BS.

    Fuck Idaho potato commission, i'll use that name as much as I want :D

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 3:40am

    Actually, it is pretty common to see this happen. In many countries, you cannot use the name of a region or a type of grape (in wine production) unless you are producing in the correct area with the correct grape.

    I don't think this one is trolling - they have the trademark, it is valid, and the trademark is in fact a good and reasonable one (otherwise some idiot would import potatoes on the cheap from Canada, call them Idaho potatos, and confuse the market).

    Oh, before anyone asks, yes, there is a difference in potato types.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:52am

      Re:

      @ AC#2
      Yeah, but in this case,
      a) it's a restaurant, not a competing potato producing state
      b) it's a restaurant in Idaho
      c) it's a restaurant in Idaho that uses Idaho potatoes.

      The place is called Idaho Fry Company - in no way do I personally mistake it for the Idaho Potato Commission.

       

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        Sean T Henry (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:16am

        Re: Re:

        I think that it is BS and I hope that The Idaho Fry Company fights back. Like by placing a large sign that reads

        Due to a law suite from Idaho Potatoes we were forced to change our name to "This State Fry Company" and will no longer be serving Idaho Potatoes. We hope you will do the same.

         

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          Jason, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 11:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          DON'T BLAME THE POTATOES. Idaho potatoes are noble tubers with an effervescent soul. Don't stop serving these fine taters just because some dumb commission acts dumb. Hell, that's what dumb commissions DO!!

           

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      Idaho Potato Commisioner, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:15am

      Re:

      Jesus you're an idiot.

       

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    Blatant Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 3:55am

    This just in...

    Thousands of "Unregistered Sex workers" are now suing Idaho for use of their descriptive phrase, "I da Ho."

    More on this as it develops, back to you Mike.

     

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    Mike Borella, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:15am

    You can hold a trademark on a descriptive phrase in the US so long as the phrase has acquired meaning that identifies you as the source.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:45am

      Re:

      No you are wrong. This is Mike. He is never wrong. He is right, because his other blogs say he is right.

       

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      ChrisB (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:58am

      Re:

      "In the United States, designations that are geographically descriptive, namely a geographical location that consumers would interpret as descriptive of the geographic origin of the goods or services, cannot be protected as trademarks unless they have acquired distinctiveness, or secondary meaning, through use."

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:14am

        Re: Re:

        "...unless they have acquired distinctiveness, or secondary meaning, through use."

        Frankly, I think Idaho Potatoes would fall under that category. When I think of the "Idaho" in Idaho Potatoes, I'm not thinking of the state, or even the origin of the vegetable. I'm thinking almost solely of the brand. Could just be me and my Irish love of starchy land turds.

         

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          Idaho Potato Commisioner, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Jesus, you're and idiot too.

          when you think of Idaho, you don't think of the state? I can see that.

          When I hear Irish i don't think of the country I think of the brand that represents an bunch of drunk leprechauns beating up gays in NYC

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "When I hear Irish i don't think of the country I think of the brand that represents an bunch of drunk leprechauns beating up gays in NYC"

            To be fair, our leprechauns beat up everyone when they're drunk, not just the gays.

             

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    John Duncan Yoyo (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    This just in

    Idaho is now suing Frank Herbert to change the name of Duncan Idaho from his classic novel Dune.

    Mister Herbert has been dead since 1986 and is unavailable for comment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Kentucky Fried Chicken vs KFC

    Why do you think the name changed to KFC. The State wanted cash for KFC to use the name Kentucky.

     

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      Jason, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 11:23am

      Re: Kentucky Fried Chicken vs KFC

      No, the truth is much more stupid than that. Someone in their marketing department told them that "Fried" sent bad messages to a health conscious demographic.

      So first they tried these ridiculous hipster commercials trying to rebrand as Kountry Fresh Chicken, and when everyone thought that was stupid, they just shut up and quietly shifted everything to just plain KFC.

      Nevermind that people who go to KFC go because they want deep fried breaded chicken pieces, fat laden biscuits, and lots of mashed potatoes and gravy. They would have done better to get rid of cole slaw than give up ownership of the word FRIED.

       

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