Hit & Run

The End of Intellectual Property (Rated PG-13)

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Reader Russ Dewey sends word that Hooters, the leading "brestaurant" chain in this sweet land of liberty, with annual revenues of $750 million, is suing upstart competitor WingHouse for "trade dress infringement"--essentially for stealing the concept of scantily clad waitresses in a family sports bar atmosphere.

This is what happens when John Ashcroft steps down as attorney general: Mere anarchy is loosed.

From the Chicago Tribune:

"The evidence will show WingHouse has copied the Hooter girl almost from head to toe," [Hooters'] lead lawyer Steve Hill told the jury of five women and three men. "For want of a better expression, the Hooter girl is our Ronald McDonald….

"We believe we are defending the integrity of our intellectual property rights," [Hooters' VP Steve] McNeil said outside the courtroom Wednesday."

Counters the WingHouse chain, which was founded by former NFL player Crawford Ker:

"Hooters wants to use the court system to accomplish what it can't do in the marketplace. It's going to ask you to create a monopoly," Ker's lead lawyer Don Conwell said in opening comments. "They're a 25-year-old chain. There's new blood coming into town and they're not up to the competiton."

The most interesting part of the story? The unmotivated shout-out to one-legged cartoonist extraordinaire Al Capp, last seen kicking John Lennon and Yoko Ono's metaphorical ass in a pint-sized battle of the wits with the "famous freaks" during their 1969 Montreal "bed-in":

The case took more than 18 months to come to trial and involved more than 200 motions and orders. Nothing in the case file gives any credit to long-dead cartoonist Al Capp, whose Li'l Abner strip popularized the fantasy of scantly clad Southern women fawning over bumbling young men.

Whole thing here.