Friday, January 29, 2010

Two More Reasons to Dislike the Legal System

I'm not someone who distrusts law and order.  I like it.  I like that it has a firm place in our society.  Three television shows sometimes seems a bit much, but I don't mind.  The basic tenets are excellent.

Still...

Case 1:  A meteorite crashes into a doctors' office (Examining Room #2, Williamsburg Square Family Practice, Lorton, Virginia).  Doctors Frank Ciampi and Marc Gallini donate the meteorite to the Smithsonian.  The Smithsonian thanks them very much and announces they will give the doctors $5,000.  Ciampi and Gallini announce that they will donate the money to Haitian relief efforts.

And then the landlords of the Williamsburg Square Family Practice step in and declare that the meteorite belongs to them.  They demand the Smithsonian return it.  And maybe there is a precedent, like they claim. The doctors have already lawyered in preparation.

Arguing over who "owns" a rock that just fell from space?

Let's move on.

Case 2:  The National Football League is ordering New Orleans shops to stop selling Saints shirts with "Who Dat" on them, claiming a trademark violation.  Let's get judicial!  Here's the key part of the controversy, from the article by Jaquetta White of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Louisiana Saints Limited Partnership registered the mark "Who Dat" with the secretary of state's office in April 1988, claiming that it had first used the phrase in November 1983. There are no details about how the Saints first used the term on file with the office, because that information is not required for registration.
The following month, the Saints Limited Partnership registered the mark "Who Dat" when used in conjunction with "fleur-de-lis design" with the secretary of state's office. The combination of elements was first used by the Saints organization on May 1, 1988, according to records, though again there is no specific example of such.
Both registrations are Class 35, which governs advertising and business.
However, Steve Monistere, according to records, registered the trademark five years earlier, in 1983. Monistere recorded the Who Dat that appears over the song "When the Saints Go Marching In" at his First Take studios in 1983 and created a company, Who Dat Inc., to market and sell the phrase on T-shirts soon after. According to the Louisiana secretary of state, Monistere requested a trademark on the phrase for use on records, tapes, T-shirts and bumper stickers. In his request for registration Monistere claims to have first used the phrase in commerce on Oct. 14, 1983.

I enjoy Senator David Vitter's response, printing up shirts saying "WHO DAT say we can't print Who Dat!"  That's easy money right there.  Only way to get easier money is, say, to have a meteorite fall through your roof.

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