“LOL, no.”

Nothing else required

As Techdirt reports, the Los Angeles Police Foundation, which says it is “one of two exclusive holders” of intellectual property rights relating to the Los Angeles Police Department, including the right to “the word ‘LAPD’ as an acronym/abbreviation,” sent a nastygram on April 11 to a company selling a T-shirt that read “F*CK the LAPD.” The letter began as follows:

RE: Request to Remove Infringing Material From www.thecolacorporation.com
Dear Sir/Madam:

I am writing on behalf of IMG Worldwide, LLC (“IMG”). IMG is the authorized representative of Los Angeles Police Foundation (“LAPF”). LAPF is one of two exclusive holders of intellectual property rights pertaining to trademarks, copyrights and other licensed indicia for (a) the Los Angeles Police Department Badge; (b) the Los Angeles Police Department Uniform; (c) the LAPD motto “To Protect and Serve”; and (d) the word “LAPD” as an acronym/abbreviation for the Los Angeles Police Department (collectively, the “LAPD IP”). Through extensive advertising, promotion and the substantial sale of a full range of licensed products embodying and pertaining to the LAPD IP, the LAPD IP has become famous throughout the world; and as such, carries immeasurable value to LAPF.

We are writing to you regarding an unauthorized use of the LAPD IP on products being sold on your website, www.thecolacorporation.com (the “Infringing Product”).

Now, this lawyer can take credit for the most important step in any legal document: carefully defining any and all abbreviations that may be used in the rest of the document even if there is no chance whatsoever that even the dumbest reader might misunderstand. For example, he has clarified that any use of the term “IMG” should thereinafter be interpreted to mean the immediately aforementioned “IMG Worldwide, LLC,” even though no other “IMG” entity is mentioned; and, similarly, that “LAPF” will henceforth mean the previously fully named “Los Angeles Police Foundation.” Definitely begin every document with this implied suggestion that your reader is a complete and utter dolt. They absolutely love that.

On the other hand, the lawyer does not yet seem to have mastered certain other skills, such as researching arguably relevant questions like “can a government agency trademark or copyright its name”?

The target’s lawyer, Mike Dunford, does know the answer to that question, which he expressed in just two words as shown above. He could have cut one of them, but in this case less would not have been more.

As Techdirt points out, of course, IMG/LAPF’s lawyer probably does know that a government agency can’t trademark or copyright its name, and also that his target’s use of “LAPD” in this way would be protected by the fair-use doctrine (and the First Amendment), so the letter is likely just an attempt to suppress a message the client doesn’t like. As it happens, I couldn’t find the Infringing Product on Cola’s website, but Techdirt says that’s because it sold out, which is the far more likely explanation.