(american beak junglewire - seattle) - The Toucans Steel Drum Band has been involved in a trademark dispute with the Battle Creek cereal giant Kellogg's since late 1993. The dispute arose over the band's attempt to register their name as a trademark, a move which Kellogg's lawyers attempted to obstruct, and characterized as "likely to confuse customers". Not many people fell for it, but the "tony tigers of steel" were instantly embroiled in a lengthy (and expensive) trademark dispute which attracted nation-wide attention.
Despite no reports of people attempting to eat the Toucans' CD's for breakfast, it has taken a full six years of work on the part of the band to successfully register their trademark application. On Monday, May 22, 2000, the band received notice from the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) that their application has been approved!
The Toucans would like to thank everyone for their kind and widespread support over the past six years; it's really meant a lot to us, and we hope to be able to repay you all with lots more great steel drum music for years to come!
Check out the official full-length version of this press release!
Top 10 Questions people are asking the Toucans!
An often humorous overview of the first deposition
Read the front page article that started it all! (Also, Part II)
More highlights of the band member's depositions
The first public press release about this case
A point-by-point rebuttal of Kellogg's misleading net posting
Recent trademark rulings & current Toucan events
A point-by-point rebuttal of Kellogg's misleading consumer information
Are the Toucans ready to reach a
settlement with Kellogg's?!?
Information about where to call, write, and
generally make your voice heard.
Stay tuned to this space for more updates, including previously secret negotiation documents between the Toucans and Kelloggs' lawyers, letters and emails to both parties, and a comprehensive timeline of the entire sordid affair.
Peter Boyko of Toucan Golf has been battling the Battle Creek Juggernaut with some success! Find out more on his site.
If you're interested in the specifics of trademark law, or in some related cases, here are a few links for you to check out. The first is the US Patent & Trademark Office's basic facts about what exactly a trademark is. You can find a lot of great intellectual property resources on Yahoo, too.
You may have also heard about a trademark infringement case brought against Henson Productions by Hormel Foods, the makers of Spam canned whatever. They took offense at the name of a wild boar, Spa'am, a character in Henson's new movie, Muppet Treasure Island. Here's one of the better news articles about the case, and here is the legal opinion from the case, written by judge Kimba Wood. It's great! and contains lots of pertinent, though somewhat legal, information about some of the salient issues of the case. A fantastic introduction to the niceties of trademark law.