Comic Strips and Peanut Butter: Two Great Tastes That Generate Legal Action


Trademark watch: the daughter of classic comic strip artist Percy Crosby fails to get the Supreme Court to bite on her challenge to the peanut butter company who have been–illegally and fraudulently, she claims–using the name of dad's Skippy character for its peanutty sandwich spread.

By the account contained in her court filings, the various peanut butter corporations using the name have blatantly lied along the way. However, I can't see any claim in justice–as opposed to trademark law, a very different thing–to someone being prohibited from calling a peanut butter "Skippy" just because someone was already using that name for a comic strip character, any more than sellers of peanuts should have been able to enjoin Charles Schulz's syndicate from naming his brilliant strip "Peanuts" (a name Schulz always despised, by the way).

NEXT: Clarke's Shadow

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  1. Or Spike Lee commandeering “Spike,” or Fox News commandeering “Fair and balanced.” There are idiots on all sides of the spectrum.

  2. I always called it “Charlie Brown.”

    Does that count as projecting my own agency onto the medium, Tim? 😉

  3. Jen and Joe, sittin’ in a tree,

  4. If he hated it so much, why did he name it Peanuts?

  5. Shouldn’t Bill Kean be suing Garbage for trademark infringement?

    Or did someone actually call that trash “Family Circus”?

  6. He meant to call it “Penis.”
    What they had there was a failure to communicate.

  7. The strip was named “Peanuts” because United Feature Syndicate required the name as a condition of publication. Schulz said it “lacked dignity.”

  8. I read smewhere that when the comic first came out, there was a kid’s show with live kiddies in the audience. The kids were called the Peanut Gallery, Peanuts for short, and somehow that name drifted onto Schulz’ cartoon.

    I like the early early Peanuts cartoons, back when Schulz was an actual cartoonist rather than a greeting-card mogul.

  9. I read somewhere that when the comic first came out there was some kids’ show (maybe Howdy Doody?) filmed before a live studio audience of kids. These kids were known as the Peanut Gallery, and I guess for awhile little kids in general were being referred to as peanuts.

    I always thought the really early Peanuts were the coolest, before Schulz abandoned cartooning for a profitable career in merchandising.

  10. Oh, what the hell is this? I write the first post, check back several minutes later, nothing is there, I rewrite and repost and. . .well, you see.

  11. Honey, I know a lot of you teachers tend to be technologically challenged, so here goes…

    Just hit the post button. Wait 5-10 seconds, then close the window. Reopen the window, see your wise and wonderful words posted.

    Works for me, anyway.

  12. See?

  13. EX-teacher, dear. My high opinion of teaching had been ebbing for a long time, and then a couple weeks ago, when those learning-disabled students sued Alaska on the grounds that a kid who can’t read or write shouldn’t have to fail the reading and writing tests, I realized once and for all that the Harrison Bergeron universe of teaching is not for me. I now make an honest living buying the property of dead people and selling it on eBay.

  14. Would they be able to call canned kangaroo meat “Skippy?”

  15. Wow, THAT really killed the conversation, didn’t it? I’m as abashed as a kid who just farted in church.

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