from the it's-just-business dept
Before I started paying attention to trademark issues as a part-time living, I’m pretty sure I would have thought that it would take quite a bit to get a big company’s lawyers firing off threat letters and legal actions. You know, like an actual threat, or a violation of trademark that had been brought to the company’s attention by confused members of the public. Instead, it too often appears that the lawyers for large companies scour the world for any-might-be-possible trademark issue that can be acted upon, like a schizophrenic pouring over the newspapers in search of that secret code the government is using to control our minds.
How else do you explain when Paramount Pictures decides to fire off a cease and desist letter to The Codfather Takeaways fish and chips restaurant in New Zealand because their sign includes a cartoon fish that resembles Marlon Brando?
As part of its signage, The Codfather Takeaways has adopted Brando’s Don Corleone character in the style of a fish. Paramount, owner of the trademark The Godfather, is not impressed and through lawyers has instructed the shop to stop. But Danielle Stuart, co-owner of The Codfather, reckons Paramount is being mean spirited and says both the name and insignia are staying. Stuart was in the final stages of registering The Codfather trademark when she received a letter from Paramount Pictures’ lawyers opposing the application and also asking them to stop using “The Godfather stylisation”.
You can see the signage in the background of this picture of the owners.
When asked, the owners admit to the inspiration the film provided for the name and the signage, but say they’re confused why Paramount is targeting them because they sell goddamn fish and not movies.
Stuart said she could understand Paramount being grumpy if she was planning to open a world-wide chain of Codfather Takeaways, but she was not.
“We are just a little fish and chip shop in a small corner of the world.”
Not small enough, my dear, because the beautiful minds at Paramount are always searching for any violation. Now, there are a couple issues here. First, nobody anywhere at any time is going to think a New Zealand fish and chips shop is somehow affiliated with a Hollywood movie studio. Sorry, ain’t gonna happen. Second, I defy anyone to draw a fish without it looking like Marlon Brando. It can’t be done.
And finally, why the hell is Paramount bothering with this to begin with? There are any number of restaurants and chains called “The Codfather.” A fish that looks like Brando really makes this one a priority?