Unicorn-Meat Slogan Draws Cease-and-Desist Letter From Pork Board

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According to the people at the ThinkGeek blog, they got a cease-and-desist letter recently from lawyers telling them they would have to stop using the phrase "the new white meat" in connection with one of their products, because it could be confused with the trademark "The Other White Meat" that is owned by the National Pork Board.

ThinkGeek was quite pleased with this, because they had used the phrase in advertisements for "canned unicorn meat," a product they said they had launched on April Fool's Day:

The Other Other White Meat

The letter from the National Pork Board's lawyers, Faegre & Benson, was reportedly 12 pages long, utterly humorless, and demanded that the blog stop using the phrase "the new white meat" because of the danger of infringement and possible dilution of trademark rights owned by the NPB.  For some reason, the blog posted only the first page of the letter, so it is impossible to confirm whether the rest of it contains any indication at all that the firm realized the product is fictional and/or had a sense of humor about the unicorn-meat product.

Some of the rest of the letter's contents can be inferred from a similar letter Faegre sent in 2007 to a website called "The Lactivist," which supports breastfeeding and at that time was selling T-shirts with the slogan "The Other White Milk."  There, at least, there was a real product (or products) for sale and so some likelihood of confusion out in the marketplace.  Even though companies have to be aggressive about protecting trademarks lest they be found to have abandoned them, you'd think that even in the course of a standard cease-and-desist letter in this case there would be some indication that they actually got the joke, but just needed to be on record as objecting to the use of the similar slogan.  But apparently no one felt compelled to include such a thing.

This is somewhat similar to one of my favorite consumer-protection stories, the one in which Welsh bureaucrats demanded that a company change the label of its "Welsh Dragon Sausage" product in order to make clear that the product did not contain real dragon.  Coincidentally, that case turned out to involve pork, too.

Link: ThinkGeek