The Colonel Surrenders

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The annals of ridiculous intellectual property lawsuits are a little thinner today.

An American fast food giant has backed down in a row with a North Yorkshire country inn amid claims the pub is using one of its trademark phrases.

The Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in England, had been told by Kentucky Fried Chicken to remove the words "family feast" from its menu.

KFC's lawyers said the company owned the copyright to the wording.

But hours later the American firm's lawyers decided not to pursue the issue of the pub's meal description.

Something to consider if you're ever tempted to describe your last repast as finger-lickin'.

NEXT: Purdue Pharma's Crushing Defeat

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  1. “It’s an unusual situation that has been blown out of all proportion.”

    It’s a junior lawyer confused because IP lawyers routinely issue the most asinine demands claiming to own everything regardless of whether the law supports them. Way too many IP lawyers are engineers with no social awareness or common sense. It’s math to them.

  2. I think the Tan Hill Inn should probably change anyway as to avoid any association with the vile greasepit known as KFC.

  3. “finger lickin'” – so many jokes, so little time.

  4. Copyright in a slogan? I hope they meant trademark, or they may need a new line of work. Slogans and mottoes rarely receive copyright protection. Think about it, if they had a copyright, then they could argue that any similar phrase is a “derivative work”. Like “clan gorging”. The whole idea-expression dichotomy gets twisted up into knots if you protect short phrases (there are exceptions, of course, like with everything else in the law).

    Dan T.,

    What do you have against grease, anyway?

  5. Dan T.,

    What do you have against grease, anyway?

    Frankly, I’m a former addict of the stuff.

  6. I haven’t forgotten you, Colonel Sanders. You shall soon taste my wrath. (Which tastes even better with a little seasoning)

  7. Auntie Beeb seems a bit confused about this. KFC wasn’t complaining about copyright. That would be ridiculous. “Family feast” is a common English phrase in the public domain. I’d hate to think how many times it occurs in Dickens’s work, for example. The Colonel’s solicitors were making a trademark claim, as The Times reported.

    A spokesman for the company said: ” ‘Family Feast’ is a registered trademark of Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Limited. KFC devotes significant resources to promoting and protecting its trademarks.”

    That the UK’s trademark office allowed such a common term to be registered seems odd to me. The Colonel’s Family Feast? Sure. Family Feast using a unique typeface or logo? OK. But claiming sole use of those two words for restaurant meals was ludicrous.

    Kevin

  8. Family feast…

    What a pithy, sublime alliteration. It works on so many levels. No two people could have come up with this genius prose independently.

  9. Lamar,
    Speaking as an engineer, I can tell you that there is no overlap between the laws of man and the laws of nature. Please do not offend my profession like that.

  10. Dan T.,

    Ah, fair enough. I lusted for sausage gravy and biscuits in my heart this morning. Not that I’m an addict–I can take it or leave it.

    I wonder if “Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag” would be infringing?

  11. What vevrob said

  12. KFC is a vile greasepit.

    Dan T. is right on the money twice in one day. Urkobold might not be pleased.

  13. three words, and I still can’t type correctly . . .

    What kevrob said . .

    KFC trademark claims are only slightly less stupid than the actions of whichever authority allowed them to trademark a common phrase.

  14. What’s in those mashed potatoes they serve, anyway?

  15. Warren, I wish engineering paid more so that y’all stopped going to law school and mucking up the law!!

  16. Copyright in a slogan? I hope they meant trademark, or they may need a new line of work. Slogans and mottoes rarely receive copyright protection.

    The BBC article says both “trademark” and “copyright.” Sloppy journalism by the BBC, and Weigel should really take care to quote a better article, too. I don’t think you should have to be an intellectual property lawyer to know the difference between copyrights and trademarks. It is almost seems like willful ignorance to me sometimes when journalists don’t accurately distinguish patents, copyrights and trademarks.

    Also, don’t forget to check out my patent blog (at the sig link).

  17. oh, yeah, I also wrote about this kind of case this morning at another board. here is the cross-post:

    I used to write these kind of letters when I did trademark litigation. Here is how it works, at least in the US:

    1. Chain Restaurants Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum are competitors and have lots of money.

    2. Chain Restaurant Tweedle-Dee gets some dumb trademark like “Family Feast” (I don’t think that all trademarks are dumb, but it is the dumb ones that cause most of the problems).

    3. Having no ideas of its own, Competitor Chain Tweedle-Dum then decides to do an advertising blitz using the phrase “Family Food Feast.”

    4. Of course, at this point Tweedle-Dee sues Tweedle-Dum for trademark infringement (and dilution and unfair competition and copyright infringement and trade libel and a whole host of other causes).

    5. Instead of just changing its ripped-off slogan, Tweedle-Dum decides to fight the lawsuit. Their lawyers advise them that one way to defend is if some other restaurant was using “Family Feast” before Tweedle-Dee’s trademark application. Their lawyers further advise them that another way to defend is if Tweedle-Dee has not been enforcing its trademark against other restaurants, no matter how small or non-competitive, who used the slogan after Tweedle-Dee filed its trademark application.

    6. After reflecting on these defenses, Tweedle-Dum instructs its lawyers to find every restaurant that used or uses the “Family Feast” slogan either before or after Tweedle-Dee filed its trademark application. All these restaurants can help Tweedle-Dum establish its legal defenses per point 5. The more of them there are, the better defenses Tweedle-Dum will have.

    7. So, Tweedle-Dum’s lawyers search low and high for other restaurants using the slogan. They search higher than the crows fly because they are paid by the tenth of an hour for the search. They find quite a few restaurants using the slogan because people, especially restauranteurs, are pathetically uncreative with their slogans and they are tend to converge on a few dumb phrases and names.

    8. Tweedle-Dum’s lawyers then take the list of “infringing” restaurants and writes up a legal brief, defending against Tweedle-Dee’s legal claims.

    9. Once Tweedle-Dee gets a copy of the brief they immediately have their lawyers send threatening letters to everybody on the list, no matter how small. Tweedle-Dee hopes that all the restaurants on the list started using the phrase “Family Feast” after their trademark application was filed, but often there is no way of knowing for sure. As you may have figured out, the reason Tweedle-Dee has its lawyers do this is so that they can come back to court and show the court that they are enforcing their trademark promptly upon finding out about each and every infringement, no matter how small or inconsequential. Tweedle-Dee hopes that this will impress the court to the extent that the court will not think Tweedle-Dee has been “sleeping on its trademark rights” and sending out the signal to the world that its trademark is abandoned by the disuse of non-enforcement.

    10. The smaller restaurants on the list, like the “Tan Hill Inn” in this story then receive the threatening letters. Sadly, it often means that they have to change their slogan, and maybe even buy a new banner from the local print shop. Happily, the small restaurant can often take the story to the local media and get a little “news” story printed up, which news story casts the small restaurant in a sympathetic light.

    11. After the news story, the small restaurant notices a burst of increased business, which, in turn, increases profit. Maybe not much, but usually enough to offset the cost of thinking of a new slogan and purchasing a new banner from the local printshop. (banners are not that expensive, and thinking of dumb new slogans even less so)

    12. Meanwhile, back at the Tweedle-Dee versus Tweedle-Dum trademark lawsuit, the judge’s clerk gets around to reading all the briefs. Chances are, the clerk thinks the stuff about the small restaurants “infringing” is silly because those restaurants are economically inconsequential compared to the Tweedle-Dee chain and the Tweedle-Dum chain. So, all that work and all those arguments are ignored, and the case is decided on more sensible grounds — usually by amicable settlement between Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. These settlements tend to happen once the first couple rounds of legal bills come in to the accounting departments of the respective chains.

    My comment: yes, it is quite surreal, SnoweyUK.

  18. I understand that engineers uften mix vit der Physiker. Hmmm.

  19. Dave W.

    Thanks! Now I understand why Starbucks fights so hard against everyone who screws with them: They could literally lose the right to their own trademark, in all practicality.

  20. For more TM sillyness, believe it or not, Three-peat is trademarked

    Three-peat

    Also

  21. The requirement to defend marks to avoid abandonment claims can force relatively nice companies into asinine positions. And, of course, overreaching being the vogue thing these days, that just makes this whole area of the law all the more painful. So companies end up sending cease and desist letters to kids painting murals.

  22. Urkobold recommends registering your trademark.
    Urkobold took the idea from Taktix? when it became clear that others would attempt to use Urkobold’s terrifying name.

    Especially be careful around Physicists. They will try to steal everything from you, then claim it was entropy.

  23. I heard about “three-peat”. That should’ve never been granted, and I’m highly dubious that Riley could enforce it.

    He must be a Physicist or something.

  24. Hanna-Babera once set a highly-threatening letter to a daycare facility because the facility had painted Hanna-Babera’s trademarked characters on their walls. When pressed by the media, Hanna-Babera responded that the legal system enforced a use-it or lose-it paradigm on trademark holders.

  25. Thanks! Now I understand why Starbucks fights so hard against everyone who screws with them: They could literally lose the right to their own trademark, in all practicality.

    Then again, sometimes the importance of the defense of trademark abandonment is overblown by attorneys looking to make a buck. *rolls eyes toward the Heavens, whistles a tuneless tune*

  26. For more TM sillyness, believe it or not, Three-peat is trademarked

    I haven’t checked the link yet, but I was under the impression that Pat Riley owned “Three-peat”, no??

  27. Dave W.: I didn’t see the “generic” defense, i.e., “family feast” is generic for a restaurant promotion where families get together and feast.

  28. The best piece of trademark insanity I know of was when McDonald’s went after a family restaurant of that name in Scotland.

    Didna play weel in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

  29. The best piece of trademark insanity I know of was when McDonald’s went after a family restaurant of that name in Scotland.

    MacD’s backed off when the rightful heir to the Mac Donald’s clan name threaten to sue Mac D for violating his state-sanctioned control over the name in Scottland.

  30. Lamar,
    You’re telling me that engineers are becoming lawyers in significant numbers? I had no idea. It’s not for the money though. Every engineer I know got paid more on their first job (with significantly less student loan debt) than the few lawyers I know. And they worked way fewer hours. There’s plenty of money to be made in engineering, but you have to go into management. Still it’s a lot easier than becoming a lawyer and trying to make partner. If there are engineers switching to law in significant numbers, I’m sure it’s because they couldn’t hack it as engineers.

  31. Warren, there’s big money to be made as patent attorney. Just ask Dave W.

  32. Instead of threatening to sue people who use a supposedly trademarked word, why can’t the trademark owner just send a letter to the purported infringer – “Dear X, Having considered your use of the phrase ‘have a nice day’ [or whatever], we hereby license and permit you to use that phrase in your business so long as you pay us a license fee of $5.00 [or some other really low number].” That would show that they’re asserting their trademark, so no-one can say they’re abandoning their right of enforcement in case they want to sue an infringer in the future.

  33. Mad Max,

    Paying that $5.00 could be construed against you as an admission that you were infringing Overbearing Ogre Corp.’s rights.

    Because a trademark is supposed to be a brand identifier, even licensing it too much could probably get you into some trouble. I’ve been out of pure IP for too long, so no idea if there’s any caselaw on this issue.

  34. Did the NFL ever get its trademark on “Big Game” approved?

  35. Warren,

    According to payscale.com, starting salaries for lawyers are higher than for all engineering disciplines (although EE and CE are within a few thousand).

    As for working fewer hours, you obviously don’t know anyone in a silicon valley startup.

  36. Dave W.: I didn’t see the “generic” defense, i.e., “family feast” is generic for a restaurant promotion where families get together and feast.

    Well, I must re-iterate that I don’t know anything about UK trademark law. But, some further comments:

    DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER

    However, in the US you can make the “genericness” defense (phrase doesn’t function as a trademark, even without other businesses using it. In fact, in the US, I am not even sure that trademark-type use by third parties is helpful to establish “genericness” because if the third party businesses are using the phrase as one would use a trademark (eg, on a big banner in big letters) then that would seem to argue that that third party believed the words were something other than generic. For example, on the McDonald’s sign, the word “McDonald’s” appears in a considerably larger font than “hamburgers.” Ultimately, I don’t think third party business use is considered probative of either genericness or distinctiveness.

    Moving to the merits on the “distinctive character” issue, as you may know, the US has five categories: (1) fanciful / inherently distinctive ; (2) arbitrary trademark; (3) suggestive; (4) descriptive; and (5) generic. Above, I called the trademark here “dumb” because it is either “descriptive” or “generic,” and is therefore, under US law it would be invalid (at worst) or exceedingly weak (at best). Perhaps the reason they allow generic and borderline generic registrations in the UK is that they know that the generic and borderline generic marks are not going to provide much leverage in commerce as a practical matter. This case, and its speedy, favorable (to the little guy) resolution may indeed be a good example of that dynamic in action.

    OTHER DEFENSES

    Rather, I was thinking that subsequent use by third party businesses was being used (or was of concern to forward-thinking KFC counsel) because of trademark abandonment and/or prior use. Now, assuming they had an actual registration here, I am not sure how much concern there would be about abandonment. I don’t know how contestable, or on what grounds, a trademark registration is in the UK. So trademark abandonment may or may not have been a real, potential concern here.

    Most likely what was going on here is that KFC was concerned about prior use, and wanted to quietly scare prior users into abandoning. My guess is that prior use can cause problems in the UK, even for a registered trademark. However, if the prior use quietly disappears, without a trace in tangible media, before any “real” litigation starts, then the prior use is not a problem.

  37. …although your point about less college loan debt is an important mitigating factor.

  38. If there are engineers switching to law in significant numbers, I’m sure it’s because they couldn’t hack it as engineers

    That’s not the comment. The comment is that they are “engineers” in that they are paying attention to only numbers and lack people skills.

    There are some engineers that become attorneys. Personally, I couldn’t figure out how to not have a job through law school. Then again, I wouldn’t feel so inclined as to engage in the above silliness that causes Dave W to whistle and roll the eyes.

  39. Warren, there’s big money to be made as patent attorney.

    I used to make a lot of money. Now I don’t.

  40. Next I think KFC should sue the TV series Family Feud, because that sounds a lot like “family food” which has practically the same meaning as “family feast.”

  41. Because a trademark is supposed to be a brand identifier, even licensing it too much could probably get you into some trouble. I’ve been out of pure IP for too long, so no idea if there’s any caselaw on this issue.

    This used to be more of a concern than it is now, but I think that is more of a shift in practice than actual law.

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22naked+license%22&btnG=Search&meta=

  42. I’ve been calling for an end to copyright for a while now. I use to say that TM law was fine and dandy, didn’t need any overhauling. Now I’m coming to the opinion that we’d be better off doing away with the whole concept of IP altogether. Pharmaceuticals being the primary thing that keeps me from going completely over that cliff.

  43. “However, in the US you can make the “genericness” defense (phrase doesn’t function as a trademark, even without other businesses using it.”

    Should have been:

    –In the US you can make a “no distinctive character” (or “genericness”) defense, even without any evidence of other businesses using it.–

    (trying to cram to much in this afternoon.)

  44. I’ve been calling for an end to copyright for a while now. I use to say that TM law was fine and dandy, didn’t need any overhauling. Now I’m coming to the opinion that we’d be better off doing away with the whole concept of IP altogether. Pharmaceuticals being the primary thing that keeps me from going completely over that cliff.

    I dunno, I kind of like the idea that I can know what’s in a package based on the brand name and logo printed on it.

    I know, I know, I’m a big-government statist.

  45. If I made a movie where a character described some despicable behavior as a “family feast”, could KFC sue? Similarly, if one character told another to “just do it”, does Nike call the lawyers?

  46. “I kind of like the idea that I can know what’s in a package based on the brand name and logo printed on it.”

    This used to be the basis for trademark, but in today’s environment, trademark law is based much more on protecting pseudo-property than avoiding consumer confusion.

  47. I’ve been calling for an end to copyright for a while now. I use to say that TM law was fine and dandy

    One time when you were gnashing your teeth about copyright, i asked you to consider that it was a copyrighted article that caused you to there gnash your teeth about copyright.

    Now that you are wailing about trademark, I would ask you to consider that this publicity only benefits “The Tan Hill Inn” because customers interested in the Tan Hill Inn’s fare (as described in the article) can seek out The Tan Hill Inn by name, and not be concerned that some other North Yorkshire restaurant is calling itself The Tan Hill Inn. the reason that this is not a concern for these new, hungry customers is trademark law.

  48. Lawyers in NYC can start at $165,000. I don’t know any engineers that make that kind of lube their first year out of school, not even phd’s in biomed. But Other Matt is correct, my point was that engineers tend to see the world in more objective terms than is appropriate for trademark and copyright.

  49. GBMD,
    You may have a point there. I don’t know anyone involved in a startup (silicone valley or otherwise). Getting a new business off the ground is way hard and the cheapest thing you’ve got is your own labor. I myself am a EE most of the engineers I know are EEs and MEs. We all found good paying jobs straight out of college. All in corporations with well paved career paths.

    On the other hand. I half a dozen or so lawyers. Most of them had to take non-lawyer work for a time even after they passed the bar. When they did get their first real lawyer jobs they all worked like dogs, and were treated the same by their firms. After ten years or so, they all started doing much better.

    All the lawyers are climbing the ladder, whereas only half the engineers are (I myself have no desire to go beyond Senior Engineer). But none of us ever had to live in those inner-city 600 sqft apartments that the lawyers I know rented the first five years out of law school.

  50. Lamar,
    I don’t know any engineer that made that much out of the shoot either. But neither do I know any lawyers that did. My guess is that to get hired as a newly minted lawyer in NYC, you had to be #1 in your class.

  51. Now that you are wailing about trademark, I would ask you to consider that this publicity only benefits “The Tan Hill Inn” because customers interested in the Tan Hill Inn’s fare (as described in the article) can seek out The Tan Hill Inn by name, and not be concerned that some other North Yorkshire restaurant is calling itself The Tan Hill Inn. the reason that this is not a concern for these new, hungry customers is trademark law.

    I contend that a free market could adapt and deal with this problem without the protection of TM

  52. I’m pretty confident that there’s a much bigger spread in lawyers’ salaries than there is for engineers’. In law, those who went to top schools and/or were at the top of their classes are the ones who get the really big starting salaries (and along with that a shot at a highly lucrative partnernership slot). The majority of grads have to hustle to find jobs that range from decent pay to pay near the poverty level. An unlucky few never do find jobs as lawyers and become paralegals, LEXIS reps, etc.

  53. I rather like intellectual property protection, but of a reasonable scope, not what we have today. Ditto trademark (which is not really IP).

    I’d like to stick it to the various hyper-IP lobbies by amending the Constitution to further clarify the whole limited times, etc. language.

  54. Also, engineers, while they may not reach the dollar peaks that lawyers do, on average, are members of a much more valuable profession than we lawyer types. At least, I think so.

    I’ve forbidden my step children and my womb-occupying daughter to ever consider the practice of law. As for where my encouragement does lie, well, let’s just say that we watch a lot of Mythbusters.

  55. I contend that a free market could adapt and deal with this problem without the protection of TM

    I contend that a free market can contend with over-aggressive IP lawyers.

    As a matter of fact, I contend that that is exactly what happened in the KFC versus Tan Hill Inn case we are now commenting on.

  56. I rather like intellectual property protection, but of a reasonable scope, not what we have today.

    Check out my patent blog, then. I just finished an entry on the latest case where the patent on an electronic reading toy was found both not infringed and obvious (both at district court and now on appeal).

    Earlier this week I had an entry on a case where the jury found a patent on genetically engineered corn invalid for obviousness. Also affirmed on appeal.

    There may be more good stuff happening than you realize, but you ain’t gonna find it above the fold here.

  57. Lamar,
    To address your point directly, many engineers have excellent people skills. Many of us don’t. I myself (while much better than my younger self) am godawful in dealing with people. I’m much better with machinery. Machines always obey the laws of nature. If you think about it long and hard enough you can always solve a machine problem.

    People on the other hand, are infinitely complex. They obey laws that are far far beyond my understanding. No matter how long you study them you still can’t figure them out.

    It will come as no surprise therefore, that I find the notion that the law should be applied subjectively abhorrent.

  58. Warren,

    No doubt the relative salaries change with supply and demand. When I got out of college in the late eighties, engineers had a tough time finding work and lawyers were in high demand. But law schools were at all time records for students (because of the success of the TV show LA Law), your friends must have been in this cohort, because that is when it was tough for lawyers to find work. Now with all them ferriners taking our engineering jobs, the balance has no doubt shifted back to lawyers.

  59. engineers, while they may not reach the dollar peaks that lawyers do, on average, are members of a much more valuable profession than we lawyer types

    Not to mention the teachers. And the heroes in the police and fire departments. And the young men and women who are risking their lives for our country. And brave journalists. And Ralph Nader.

    😛

  60. “I’m pretty confident that there’s a much bigger spread in lawyers’ salaries than there is for engineers’.”

    There’s some truth there.

  61. And, for the record, I was making a sweeping generalization. I know some incredibly people saavy (not to mention sexy) engineers.

    I’m surprised nobody made a joke about the people who drive trains, you know, engineers.

  62. I have a number of close relatives who are engineers (structural, electrical, software). And I’ve met quite a few of their friends and colleagues.

    I have never met a sexy engineer.

    Now, of course, absence of proof is not proof of absence, but . . . .

  63. “I don’t think you should have to be an intellectual property lawyer to know the difference between copyrights and trademarks.”

    Oooh…I’m so stowin’ that to use at a later date!

  64. It looks like the NFL owns a lot of trademarks, including “one for the thumb,” “the big game,” “run to daylight,” and others. Of course, these appear to be specific use trademarks (like on merchandise related to football).

    Riley’s “three-peat” looks to be limited to apparel.

    The USPTO website is pretty cool.

  65. And the prostitutes.

  66. Ack. My post got truncated. Let’s try again, shall we?

    Not to mention the teachers. And the heroes in the police and fire departments. And the young men and women who are risking their lives for our country. And brave journalists. And Ralph Nader.

    😛

    jp,

    And the prostitutes.

  67. Darn, I was all excited about checking out the USPTO website to see the prostitutes.

  68. jp,

    Oh, they’re there. Just keep looking. I believe the commissioner is one, as are a number of examiners.

  69. Somewhat ironic that Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC due to a trademark action by the state of Kentucky…

    http://www.snopes.com/lost/kfc.htm

  70. ProLib gets post #69 on the greasy chicken thread!

  71. Apropos, Stevo, apropos.

  72. Just be careful you don’t get pecked in the taint.

  73. Is that like being “tickled pink”?

  74. @Bob: Somewhat ironic that Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC due to a trademark action by the state of Kentucky…

    http://www.snopes.com/lost/kfc.htm

    Gotta call BS on Bob. Given that KFC trademarked the phrase Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1950 and has vigorously protected same trademark (see above) there’s no way the Commonwealth could claim their trademark was infringed by the PRIOR registered trademark. Even a Kentucky court wouldn’t fall for that one. Don’t believe everything you see on the web. Or can I sell you my collection of Jessica Alba Noodes. Only $5 a month man.

  75. scandalrag,

    Considering the rest of the article, I’d call BS too.

    Kentucky Fried Chicken were not the only ones who bravely refused to knuckle under. The name of the most famous horse race in North America, held every year at Churchill Downs, was changed from the “Kentucky Derby” to “The Run for the Roses” for similar reasons; many seed and nursery outfits that had previously offered Kentucky Bluegrass switched to a product known as “Shenendoah Bluegrass” instead; and Neil Diamond’s song “Kentucky Woman” was dropped from radio playlists at his request, as the licensing fees he was obligated to pay the Commonwealth of Kentucky exceeded the peformance royalties he was receiving for the airplay.

  76. scandalrag is so right.

    Snopes has some pages designed to demonstrate False Authority Syndrome.

    Also, George Bernard Shaw did not pen a poorly-attended play called “Closed For Remodeling.”

    Click the link for more info at the bottom of the Snopes page. I’ll bet Bob knew he was putting us on.

  77. Been a while since I knew anything about trademarks (about 9 years, in fact) but doesn’t the trademark also have to resonate with the public, so as to identify its holder to a critical mass of viewers/readers/hearers? So that even if it’s registered, if nobody actually associates the TM with the source, then it’s not really a TM anymore?

    Is that still/was it ever true?

    Because, I have lived in this country all my life, seen umpteen hours of KFC commercials, seen hundreds, if not thousands, of KFC’s during my travels, and yet, I have never, never, never, ever, have I heard, thought of, or had float through my transom the phrase “Family Feast” while in proximity of a KFC. Granted, I stopped eating that unmitigated garbage as soon as I gained emancipation, but even today I stopped at a combo KFc/Taco Bell on the interstate, and ate the Taco Bell food, and even being inside one of their stores, STILL didn’t see anything connected to KFC regarding this “Family Feast” business.

    If that IS protectible, it is about a weak-ass trademark if ever I’ve heard of one. Not exactly the NBC Peacock.

  78. I’ve been calling for an end to copyright for a while now. I use to say that TM law was fine and dandy, didn’t need any overhauling. Now I’m coming to the opinion that we’d be better off doing away with the whole concept of IP altogether. Pharmaceuticals being the primary thing that keeps me from going completely over that cliff.

    Glad you’ve still got that, otherwise I’d invite you down to Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana, to have the, um, “carne asada”, which may be rat turds or donkey tits at the “Taco Bell”, then stop by the Farmacia on your way home for some, ah, “Pepto Bismol” which may be kool aid, battery acid, and/or rat poison. But it’s ok because there’s no intellectual property protection there! **

    ** Unless ip-rights holders have kept up their grease payments to the Federales, in which case there will be an occasional IP raid… of which all bribe-paying street-merchants will receive advance warning.

  79. Well guys, as a recovering engineer, mostly because I can’t stand working with the vast majority (sorry Warren, but at least you are aware of the social ineptitude), I can attest that there are, in fact, a few sexy engineers running around. And not just the ones looking for a Mrs. degree. I have zero to contribute to the actual law discussion in the background here, but I can verify that relative salaries follow a cyclic pattern over time, depending on what year you graduated with which degree. Hi Lamar, hugs and kisses.

  80. [blushing]

  81. What the fuck was that?!

  82. [Spying the elusive URKOBOLD, Lamar positions himself for a stealthy escape]

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