Super Bowl

The End of Intellectual Property (Rated PG-13)


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.

NEXT: Yesterday's Perjuries Today

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  1. Let's not forget Daisy Duke. 🙂

  2. Comedy gold. I especially like Hooters caliming the Hooter babes are its "inteleckshul proppity."

  3. My comment is on the Richard Clark perjury thread. Search for it. It'll do you good.

    I'll just add: Is Al Capp the Reasonoid Rodney Dangerfield? He's still my hero!

  4. Does anybody know what happened to the suit by the man who wanted to wait tables at Hooters? A lawyer told me that since a Hooters ad said "family restaurant", it was harder for them to argue in court that female anatomy was an essential job qualification. (I know, I know, job qualifications shouldn't have to be justified in court, but since that's what the law requires, that's what they had to argue against.)

    Did that guy get any money?

    Oh, and how is the Hooters airline doing?

  5. Even if the idea of using scantily-clad women to sell stuff to guys COULD be copyrighted, I imagine the copyright expired thousands of years ago.

  6. The name "WingHouse" just screams copycat. What els do people go to Hooters for? Oh, right, the women......d'oh!

  7. Given his positions on intellectual property rights, I'll be most eager to find out what Orrin Hatch thinks about this!

  8. I lived in the ancestral home land of Hooters, Clearwater Florida, before they went nationwide. At the time Hooters was just one of several mammary/genitalia themed "family" joints. Their competition was, Mugs & Jugs, Melons and my personal favorite Clam Jammers.

    I don't really have a point.

    I just wanted to type, Clam Jammers.

    Get it?

    Clam Jammers?

    *snicker snicker*

    Florida is such a glorious cesspool.

  9. WingHouse is an obvious steal of the Hooter's mark, their famous goggle-eyed owl.

    Y'all did know that "Hooters" refers to owls, right? 🙂

    What gall, to claim that they invented the B-girl!


  10. If Wendy's never sued Judy's (remember Judy's? A blatant rip-off.) then how could Hooters be suing Wings?

    Wait... could wings be referring to this joke?:

    What did the feminine napkin say to the fart?
    You are the wind beneath my Wings.

  11. Can Spearmint Rhino sue Scores? Or the other way around? I forget which came first. Either way, the trademark naked girl bilking hapless saps out of their $20's should be protected, and only one mega-nudie bar should be allowed. It could be like Wal-Mart, featuring discount lapdances and one-stop shopping.

    "Candy really likes me, she always comes right over to me everytime I walk into Scores"
    -- A conversation overheard in Hooters, at any given point in time.

    I'd like to see Domino's sue Papa John's, on the basis that "sh*tty pizza, sh*tty price" was their trademark first.

  12. "For want of a better expression, the Hooter girl is our Ronald McDonald...."

    That is one seriously weird analogy.

    As for the Hooters airline, it went bust.

  13. The Emperor's New Clothes are now copyrighted.

  14. Is anyone else sick of Nick Gillespie's endless, compulsive bashing of the Beatles? I?ll admit that, for whatever reasons, this is more of an issue with me than it probably is with most Reason readers (I declined to renew my longstanding subscription after his ridiculous article on the group a few years ago). Still, by any rational standards, he?s certainly reached Ahab-like levels of obsession on the subject. I mean, does Capp?s minor encounter with John and Yoko really the most relevant and pertinent thing to interject in this piece?

    Gillespie obviously has an opinion on the Beatles to which he is entitled. It?s a minority opinion, one that ignores the overwhelming consensus of the artistic and music-buying communities, and that?s fine. But, Nick, we get it already. What you need to get is that (1) very few people agree with you on this, (2) nobody gives a shit what you think on this particular subject, and (3) gratuitous citations like this distract from the impact rest of your work.

  15. My favorite thing about Nick Gillespie is his endless, compulsive bashing of the Beatles. It's good to know there are kindred spirits out there.

  16. His endless, compulsive bashing of Al Capp kinda bugs me, but I'm trying to adjust.

  17. shit, beatle-bashing is why i renewed in the first place.

  18. Wasn't Al Capp for it before he was against it?

  19. I don't understand how anyone could waste time bashing the Beatles while Bruce Springsteen is still alive.

  20. Wasn't Al Capp for it before he was against it?

    You're thinking of Senator Jack S. Phogbound.

  21. If WingHouse can just gimme a weekly trivia game without rampant cheating, I'm there.

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