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.

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Companies: idaho fry company, idaho potato commission

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Comments on “Idaho Potato Commission As Trademark Trolls”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Jason says:

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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