Jennifer over at The Lactivist received a ham-fisted Cease & Desist from the National Pork Board last week... because she had a cafe press shirt which read "The Other White Milk".
The best part of the C & D was this: "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."
But what about parody? Hello, world? Would anyone really be confused by such a shirt and believe that the pork industry was suddenly marketing milk?
"A review of trademark parody cases give us no bright line rules. Rather, they appear to be a barometer of both the presiding judge's sense of humor and sense of fairness. As Tom McCarthy puts it, "a non-infringing parody is merely amusing, not confusing."1
Amazingly, the (oh, Christ, I hate this word and can't believe I'm about to use it) Blogosphere went up to eleven in response, and within hours a formal apology had been issued to Jennifer from Steve Murphy, pigco CEO.
Well played, interwebs. Well played.
1Trademark Fair Use: An article by Baila H. Celedonia of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C.