Bonobos Issues 'Cease & Insist' To Katy Perry After It Promised To Sell Left Shark Suits
from the legal-marketing dept
So the saga of the Left Shark and Katy Perry’s lawyers keeps getting more and more strange. We’ve already covered the legal threat from Perry’s lawyers to the guy who was offering a 3D printed figurine of the Left Shark, followed by the response explaining to Perry’s lawyers that there is no copyright in left shark, leading to Perry’s lawyers to issue a uh huh there is… while also using the figurine maker’s own photo of his 3D printed shark in their (now abandoned) trademark application.
So, what could make this situation stranger? Bonobos. You know, the hip and trendy pants company? Right, so back during the Superbowl, their social media folks tried to get in on some of that sweet sweet free Super Bowl advertising, and tweeted, asking if they should crowdfund a project to start selling a Katy Perry shark costume:
NOTICE to Cease listening to your lawyers and Insist you let Bonobos make the shark suit.
Dear Katy Perry:
We’re impressed. Like, really impressed. First, you tamed a creepy lion-robot thing, and then you conquered Marine Biology. Neither Jacques Cousteau nor Taylor Swift ever discovered a sea creature as adorable as Left Shark! In the history of pop music and oceanic sciences, this is a first. And maybe a last. Sigh.
Look, Katy. We have a problem. Our marketing team got amped up on Skittles and did something reckless. During a popular Sunday football game we promised the Internet shark suits, because duh. But then came Monday morning, and our lawyers gave us the shame stare. You know, the “we’er not angry, just disappointed.” Except they were also angry. Mostly angry, actually.
Apparently, we cannot sell shark costumes without your permission. In addition to being an esteemed marine biologist, you are also, it appears, a legal guardian for sharks. With that in mind, this is our humble offer: allow us to sell shark suits, and we’ll donate all profits to the charity of your choice. You have 10 days to respond, or we’ll wait longer.
Of course, while the letter is a mocking advertisement more than any actual legally sound statements, the claim that Perry has any legal claim over the shark costume is highly questionable, though it is entirely possible that in a fit of liability avoidance that Bonobos lawyers legitimately said the company should try to get permission — even if none is actually needed.
Either way, what Perry should do is exactly what lawyer Chris Sprigman originally suggested in his letter to her lawyers over the 3D printed Left Shark: just let it go. The Left Shark is an internet meme, and Perry should celebrate it, not try to claim made up intellectual property claims over it.