by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 6th 2009 3:05pm
ChurchHatesTucker alerts us to the news that Pez, makers of the famous candy that comes in dispensers with the breakaway heads, is suing a Pez Memorabilia museum. The original article says it's for copyright violations, but I believe that's wrong. The lawsuit appears to be about trademark. The museum itself is not affiliated with the company that makes the candy (and, in the past, the museum changed its name to highlight the fact that it's Pez Memorabilia, to clarify that it wasn't associated with the actual candy company. However, at issue here is the giant (working) 7-foot mock Pez-like dispenser that is on display at the museum. The candy company seems particularly miffed that the Guinness folks declared it the "world's largest Pez dispenser" recently, with the candy company claiming this is false, since without a license, it's not really a Pez dispenser. Now, the trademark lawyers will rush to say that a company such as Pez needs to defend its trademark, lest it become generic. And that's true. But there are ways that such things can be handled without the company demanding the monument to Pez be destroyed. It's difficult to see what "harm" this 7-foot dispenser is doing to the Pez brand. In fact, just the opposite is likely. So why not just grant the museum a license and embrace the fact that there are fans so into your candy that they'd want to build a 7-foot monument to it? Otherwise you just look like a bunch of bullies.
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