Saturday, February 03, 2007

Aggessive trademark protection

I am a criminal defense lawyer- I have represented killers and rapists, thieves and thugs. And none of them are nearly so slimy as IP attorneys.

A stay-at-home-mom in Ohio and breastfeeding activist has gotten a C&D letter from the National Pork Board, because her Cafepress store carried a t-shirt that reads "The Other White Milk." I say carried because it seems that shirt may have been taken down. Oh, and all the sales go directly to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio.

I understand that they have to protect their trademark, but this paragraph actually infuriated me:

In addition, your use of this slogan also tarnishes the good reputation of the National Pork Board's mark in light of your apparent attempt to promote the use of breastmilk beyond merely for infant consumption, such as with the following slogans on your website in close proximity to the slogan "The Other White Milk." "Dairy Diva," "Nursing, Nature's Own Breast Enhancement," "Eat at Mom's, fast-fresh-from the breast," and "My Milk is the Breast.
Your apparent attempt to promote the use of breastmilk beyond merely infant consumption? It would appear that the good people at the National Pork Board have profoundly dirty minds, as well as being utterly humorless prigs, in light of their apparent attempt to be human beings.

That alone is bad enough, but let us not forget that not all hog farmers actually like the slogan- pork becomes white when factory farmed- organic pork, raised on pasture, is actually red. In fact, a majority of hog farmers voted to undo the slogan, only to have been saved by the Bush Administration.

So who benefits from aggressively protecting this trademark? Not the hog farmers, not the public, certainly a stay-at-home-mom in Ohio. So let me ask the Pork Council's lawyer, Jennifer Daniel Collins with Faegre & Benson a question that people ask me, defender of killers and rapists, all the time- how can you sleep at night?


Stephanie Michelle said...

I like this post Charlie. :)