(Full Press Release)
May 23, 2000
Toucans Win 6-Year Trademark
Battle With Cereal Giant!
Since 1993, the Seattle-based Toucans
Steel Drum Band has been embroiled in a lengthy trademark dispute
with the Kellogg Company. On Monday, May 22, after seven frustrating
years of legal negotiations, the Toucans received the certificate
of registration for their band's name from the US Patent &
Trademark Office (USPTO) .
"We knew we could win, we just didn't realize how long
it would take," said Toucan Rob, who started the band at
the Evergreen State College in the 1980's.
The dispute arose over the band's attempt to register their
name as a trademark in class 9 (which includes sound recordings),
a move which Kellogg's lawyers attempted to obstruct, and characterized
as "likely to confuse customers". The cereal giant
maintained that their 1980 release of "Toucan Sam's Safari
Adventure" (a free record pasted to the inside of a box
of Froot Loops) established Toucan Sam as a recording artist,
and demanded that the Toucans immediately withdraw their registration.
The band spent thousands of dollars, and sent lawyers across
the country in an attempt to reach an equitable settlement with
Kellogg's, but the cereal company's restrictive terms made it
impossible to reach an agreement. Despite absolutely no reports
of consumer confusion between breakfast cereal and steel drum
music, the Battle Creek corporation continued to assert that
"damages to Kellogg's have resulted" and continued
to press their opposition.
Faced with a mountain of legal obstruction, the Toucans reapplied
for their trademark in class 41 (entertainment services) on advice
of their counsel, Neil Sussman. Kellogg's, apparently withdrawing
from their vigorous opposition due to public pressure, did not
oppose this last registration, which was granted to the Toucans
by the USPTO just a few days ago.
"It seems like the cereal company is too busy tangling
with the Exxon tiger to worry about a bunch of Toucans,"
said band member Toucan Pete, referencing the current trademark
dispute between Kellogg's and Exxon over a similar animal mascot.
Toucan Rob is relieved with the outcome. "Now I can
tell my mom to stop thinking up other band names for us."
Steel Drums - They're Not Just
For Breakfast Anymore!
Remember to call Kellogg's Consumer Affairs Department
1-800-962-1413 (or email to email@example.com)
with your opinions!
Here's a black
& white version of the graphic (for reprint use).
this page and all contents are ©2000 Toucans
all right reserved