Once Again, Hormel's Trademark On Spam Does Not Apply To Email

from the meat-like-substance dept

I thought we had gone through this a few years ago when Hormel lost a trademark lawsuit against an anti-spam company. Hormel, of course, is the maker of SPAM, the meat-like substance. It's had something of a love-hate affair with the use of the word "spam" for email, originally hating it, but later growing to kind of accept it. However, every once in a while it throws up a random trademark lawsuit. Once again, though, a judge has ruled that Hormel's trademark "does not extend to computer software for filtering spam." One would have thought that was obvious from way back when, and especially after it started losing cases on that point -- but, apparently it just couldn't resist the salty taste of yet another failed lawsuit.

Filed Under: spam, trademarks
Companies: hormel, spam arrest


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  • icon
    shanoboy (profile), 30 Nov 2007 @ 1:25pm

    Next thing you know Google will be trying to sue people for using the term "Googling".

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

  • identicon
    Jackoknight, 30 Nov 2007 @ 1:27pm

    Mmm spam

    This is like the second weird thing I saw on the web today. The other is that Ebay is selling the answer to the question "what is the meaning of life".

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260188815381

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

  • icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), 30 Nov 2007 @ 2:41pm

    "Meat-like substance"?? C'mon Mike...

    Ahh...Flexing our culinary snobbery muscles, are we Mike??

    Love the Spam(TM).

    C'mon everyone, post your favorite Spam(TM) recipes for Mike to try out!

    I'll start:

    PIG COOKIES
    Slice Spam(TM) 1/8th inch thick. Lay on bed of paper towels. Microwave to death (Crisp and Brown). Allow to cool. If they are still chewey, cook longer.

    Alan

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

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 30 Nov 2007 @ 2:47pm

    (1) spam vs SPAM and (2) Spam Arrest

    1. This is why the slang term "spam" (which is usually used in place of the canonical definition, "unsolicited bulk email") is never spelled "SPAM": it's not an acronym. Hormel have been very good about this over the years, considering that we co-opted the name of one of their products.

    2. Spam Arrest are....wait for it...spammers. That's right, a supposedly anti-spam company that has spammed to promote its products. They therefore join spamstrike, and spamfighter, and fortinet, and others who have no problem making the spam problem worse...as long as they profit.

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

  • identicon
    Shun, 30 Nov 2007 @ 4:51pm

    Does Hormel need a Kleenex or a Band-Aid?

    Face it. Spam has entered the American Lexicon as a generic. There is no such thing as just "SPAM" -- the stuff that Hormel makes. You now have to distinguish between unsolicited e-mail and canned meat.

    Usually, you can tell what a person is talking about by the context of his/her sentence. Of course, if you are Hormel, or Hormel's lawyers, you do not have this gift of common sense.

    My advice to Hormel is: use the word to promote your products. Instead of hating, embrace. Stick to what you're good at. Fire your current crop of lawyers, while you're at it. They obviously know nothing about trademark law.

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

  • identicon
    Brian Hayes, 30 Nov 2007 @ 5:00pm

    Between a rock and the Bench

    I agree entirely that both stupid and capricious lawsuits are too common. Techdirt's reporting and its commentary are superbly keeping us informed and warning us to be alert.

    Yet to own property under our law, we must show we own it and that we are maintaining our ownership. Unless we have a record showing we want to keep our property, it's easy to lose it. This applies to providing a shortcut over our property that might become public and applies to intellectual property.

    Hormel's lawsuit that seeks to retrieve rights is also a legal record of the effort to keep rights. Are there other methods that stop dilution?

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

    • identicon
      Matthew Stianr, 1 Dec 2007 @ 4:05pm

      Re: Between a rock and the Bench

      Yes, US trademark law states that if you don't defend your trademark you will lose it. I believe what they were really trying to prevent was some company selling canned meat from defending their use of the name Spam by arguing that Hormel never sued anybody else for using the name. This way, they could show the judge that they had been protecting their trademark and the judge would rule in their favor because the Spam trademark applies to canned meat.

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

  • identicon
    niftyswell, 30 Nov 2007 @ 5:03pm

    that would be a great commercial

    I could imagine a great commercial where people are looking at their PC's and saying - SPAM! at first it looks like they are upset and then when the camera pans around it shows a youtube video of a can of spam being opened and served and then it shows that the people looking at the pc are actually salivating over it.

    It ties in the modern negative association and counters it with a positive older association.

    I like spam...the oven roasted turkey spam is the best!

    what do you think?

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

  • identicon
    rEdEyEz, 30 Nov 2007 @ 6:53pm

    Unsavory...

    ...is it the meat product or the e-mail?

    If it's the meat product, waterboard, fire, and sue the "dickens-out-of" your chefs. How can a meat product be unsavory?

    Case closed.

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

  • identicon
    skyrider, 1 Dec 2007 @ 8:13am

    SPAM is an acronym

    Scientifically Produced Animal Matter - Produced when a bunch of road kills are placed at the target end of a linear accelerator.

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

  • identicon
    JustMe, 1 Dec 2007 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Meaning of life

    WTH? The seller has zero feedback. I think someone is gonna loose a few bucks on this painfully obvious scam.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2007 @ 8:54pm

    Like it or not, SPAM is meat, not a "meat-like substance".

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

  • identicon
    JimW, 2 Dec 2007 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Mmm spam

    "What is 6 times 9?" is the question which resulted from the Golgafrincham's interference with the program. The real question remains a mystery. GIGO

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

    • identicon
      Celes, 3 Dec 2007 @ 6:54pm

      Re: Re: Re: Mmm spam

      Thank you! I haven't read the books in so many years that I forgot why that may not have been the real question.

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

  • identicon
    Boris Jacobsen, 2 Dec 2007 @ 8:42pm

    6 x 9 = 42

    6 x 9 = 42

    I suspect Douglas Adams was merely expressing a preference for base 13, in which the above equation is true.

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


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