Trademark Cluelessness: The Other White Meat

from the morons-in-a-hurry dept

Headbhang was the first of a few of you to send in the news of favorite supplier of all things geeky, Thinkgeek, receiving an incredibly long and detailed cease and desist letter from the National Pork Board, complaining about its use of the phrase "the other white meat" on an April Fool's joke offering for canned unicorn meat. The NPB is somewhat notorious for defending the "the other white meat" trademark, but even its high priced lawyers must know that there's no likelihood of confusion here, and the parody defense would likely win out. Also, since for it to be infringement there needs to be actual "use in commerce" and this is a product that can not and will not ever be sold... does it even qualify? Not only that, but the NPB is looking for a new slogan for pork, so there won't be much need to eliminate the confusion between pork and unicorn products. Even more importantly, did no one think that maybe, just maybe, sending a cease-and-desist over an April Fool's joke might look bad?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    I remember the good old days when trademarks could not be merely descriptive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    I can't remember the good old days anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Actually, they didn't even use "the other white meat",
    they used "the new white meat", but whatever.

    hehe from the link:
    "We'd like to publicly apologize to the NPB for the confusion over unicorn and pork--and for their awkward extended pause on the phone after we had explained our unicorn meat doesn't actually exist"

     

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  4.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    ethics?

    how did a lawyer think it was ethical to advise their client to C&D for this?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    What joke?

    Unicorn tastes great. Can't get enough of that stuff. It is hard to find. Funny too, I always thought of ti as red meat.

     

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  6.  
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    TW Burger (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Lawyers

    The other, other white meat.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    Pigherd Alliance Thinks Unicorns are Real

    They're just still sore over Swine Flu, er, I mean, H1N1.

     

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  8.  
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    sehlat (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    Marketing and public relations are NOT legal issues.

    Which is why utterly boneheaded C&Ds like this get issued. The legal department is not responsible for whatever ill-will or derisive laughter might ensue from their dedicated efforts to make their employers look like greedy idiots.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Jon B., Jun 21st, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Calling pork 'white meat' is a big fat lie in the first place. It's not 'white' when it's raw, and it's not 'white' when it's cooked, either, like chicken breast.

    At best, it's pink or gray.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    IYB, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Suckers

    The NPB is somewhat notorious for defending the "the other white meat" trademark, but even its high priced lawyers must know that there's no likelihood of confusion here, and the parody defense would likely win out.

    But those same lawyers likely told them that they need to take this action and then laughed behind their backs all the way to the bank (followed by another notch on their sucker belts).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re:

    New Slogan for the National Pork Board!
    *** Pork the GREY meat! ***

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Lawyers

    Pork: the other gray meat?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 3:51pm

    Re: ethics?

    how did a lawyer think it was ethical to advise their client to C&D for this?

    Two words: Billable Hours.

     

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  14.  
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    interval (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: ethics?

    "Billable Hours."

    Indeed. I really don't think there's any thought on the part of anyone with half a brain. I think a clueless National Pork Board (a gov. entity, so think "Parks & Recreation") admin. got wind of the parody, probably didn't see or simply didn't care it was an April Fool's Parody, and fired off a memo to the legal team. Legal team saw billable hours and in turn sent off an S&D to ThinkGeek. Clinical, antiseptic, and simply a waste of everyone's time except the legal guys. Oh. And that was OUR tax dollars that were used to make that process happen.

     

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  15.  
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    interval (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 4:03pm

    Re:

    I don't eat pork. Not for religious reasons, its just too damn salty. Not good for old men.

     

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  16.  
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    drkkgt (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    they even say in their CND that "other websites" were using the trademarked phrase not thinkgeek.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 4:59pm

    Is it me, or are some IP lawyers down right stupid?

     

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  18.  
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    Dementia (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Re:

    It isn't you.

     

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  19.  
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    Brian (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 6:55pm

    Re:

    You are no longer allowed to remember "the good old days" as that phrase has now been trademarked. Use of such phrase in any form of communication be it written, verbal, or electronic is a violation of this trademark. Violation of this trademark will result in a lawsuit of up to $350 trillion dollars and up to a 4000 year jail sentence.

    Also all your memories of the past have been copyrighted and the process of recollecting memories patented. You may not use memories, nor recollect them without prior consent from the current holder of the copyright and/or patent. Violation of memory copyright is subject to a fine of up to $47 trillion dollars and up to 9000 years in jail per infringement. Punishment for violating the patent will result in removal of your brain.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 7:54pm

    Re:

    Pork! It's gray when it's cooked! So you won't get trichinosis! That's a food-borne parasite! Failure to treat can result in death!

    Yay for Gray!

    (actually, I recall that when pork is cooked to white it's been turned into an inedible dry piece of compressed sawdust...yes, I'm looking at you, Grandma)

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re:

    The crazed yet too often thoughtless defense of IP verges on stupid too.

    It's an onion of stupid.

     

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  22.  
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    Bzzzzzzzzzzz, Jun 21st, 2010 @ 8:35pm

    Re: Re:

    You forgot to mention the collection agency empowered with compensating those who hold the rights to your memories.

     

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  23.  
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    fairuse (profile), Jun 21st, 2010 @ 10:54pm

    The PDF Press Release is up

    Says ThinkGeek; [Text no links but PDF link is http://is.gd/cYDNb ]
    "UPDATE 6/21 2:50p ET: Due to popular request, and after some interest on
    the intarwebz, you can now download our original press release [PDF]. It was
    unfortunately rejected by the newswires so you won't find it elsewhere--
    kinda like unicorn meat."

    Lawyers + April 1st = 1/0

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Dohn Joe, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 12:55am

    The Letter Was a Joke!

    Did nobody consider that maybe the Cease-and-Desist letter was also an April fool's joke?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 3:27am

    This made me laugh. Being in the UK I'd never heard that advertising slogan before. TBH, if they are stupid enough to have such a shit slogan it really shouldn't be surprising when they send C&D letters to proprietors of 'Unicorn meat'.

    I have never seen white pork in my life. Chicken breast can be described as white meat but the only real white meat is white fish, surely?

    Bizarre

     

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  26.  
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    Drew (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re: The Letter Was a Joke!

    Lol, the April fool's joke......created on the 5th of May....

     

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  27.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: ethics?

    Is the NPB governmental or a trade association made up of industry pork producers?

    Either way, I hope someone makes a big thing out of pointlessly wasting money on lawyers over this.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re:

    That was my thought -- are they trying to tell ThinkGeek to "cease and desist" other websites linking to them with that text? Like, somehow you are responsible for the text someone else uses when they link to you?

    Cluelessness to the next power.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    OC, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:17am

    at least they have humor

    At least the NPB has *some* sense of humor. After all, they came up with the name. National Pork Board. Brilliant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re: What joke?

    Funny too, I always thought of ti as red meat.

    Funny, I always thought of lawyers as "red meat".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    Is it me, or are some IP lawyers down right stupid?

    The stupid ones are their clients.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    e. e. TP, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:56am

    there is more to this story,,,, techduh yadayada uncreative zzzzz

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Carolyn Street, Jun 24th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Pork is not white meat! Unicorn is more white meat than pork is!

    I would love to do a class action suit against the Pork Board for their "Pork, The Other White Meat" ad campaign which is a deliberate attempt to mislead consumers who were told by their doctors to cut down on red meat, which is pork and beef, as opposed to white meat, which is fish and chicken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Carolyn Street, Jun 24th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: ethics?

    I would love to get the Pork Board in court for a class action suit of heart attack victims told by their doctors to cut down on red meat, who were confused by the pork ads saying pork's white meat (as opposed to red meat, which it is.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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