Companies versus their fans

Walter Olson:

The real thing, God save us.

The real thing, God save us.

The famous maker of candies and candy-dispensers is suing the owners of the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia in Northern California, claiming that its venture into Pez homage, which includes a Guinness-record largest replica of a Pez dispenser, infringe the firm’s trademarks and “deceive the public into thinking that the museum is operating under the authority of Pez.”

You can just imagine how fans feel when they realize this is not true — that the giant Pez dispenser, the whole Pez moment they were sharing with their families was unauthorized…. counterfeit… illicit.

Well, deceived of course!  That’s how they feel.

Ron ColemanYes… they stare stupidly ahead at the interstate the whole ride back home, not knowing whether to feel like the most naive marks ever to be duped into thinking a Pez collection was authorized, or whether they should be securing counsel and begging for peace and no worse than nominal damages and attorneys’ fees — and of course a permanent injunction with molto back-end liquidated damages and then some — for their own sordid part in the whole scummy charade.  For at some point, after all, you have to reckon with wilfull blindness, even on a consumer’s part. And if you press the point, really, think it through…

They knew it, really.  They never really believed, in their hearts of hearts, that this was authorized Pez.  This is never how the Pez people would do it.

But what harried parent could take a stand and turn down the chance to save a few bucks and stretch out a family vacation to include one more tacky “attraction” in lean times… and to hell with Pez, and their decades of hard-earned brand equity, all those licensing fees duly paid to manufacture miniature heads (authorized heads, damn it!) (no, not that kind!) of Popeye and Mickey Mouse and President Kennedy so these beloved friends to all children could effortlessly open their gullets and dispense those delicate light-fruity lozenges of Pezzy pleasure into those tiny, expectant fingers …

And now?  Now what’s the lesson for sad little Timmy and bawling little Judy in the back of the minivan — now that they know what Mom and Dad knew all along:

“Museum of Pez Memorabilia”?  Pez?!  You want a real Pez museum?  …

You can’t HANDLE a real Pez museum!

UPDATE:  From the Pez Museum website, or so it appears to be:

Joint Press Release:
On February 25, 2010, the parties participated in a Court-ordered confidential settlement conference before a federal magistrate judge. At the settlement conference, PEZ Candy Inc. and the Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia reached settlement of the lawsuit and the lawsuit has since been dismissed. The parties have agreed to keep the details of the settlement confidential.


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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

11 Responses to “Companies versus their fans”

  1. July 8, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    Suing your customers to prevent them from saying too loudly that they like your product. Hey, there’s a brilliant marketing ploy!

    Next step: Suing retailers who position your product too prominently on their store shelves.

  2. Frank
    July 13, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    I guess I’m in the 60%.

    What PEZ pun?

    (Being an incorridgable punster myself, I often avoid inccoridging others, but…)


  1. Ron Coleman - July 7, 2009

    LIKELY / CONFUSION Companies versus their fans: Walter Olson:
    The famous maker of candies and ..

  2. The Master of Pun-Fu : The Sundries Shack - July 7, 2009

    […] do I like Ron Coleman so? He is completely unafraid to make a blatant Pez(tm) pun sure to induce a full-body groan in at least 40 percent of the general […]

  3. Companies vs. their fans: Pez sues Pez museum - July 7, 2009

    […] Ron Coleman is being disrespectful (”You can’t handle a real Pez […]

  4. Meg Langley Grainger - July 8, 2009

    @RonColeman is a saucy man: “You want a real Pez museum? You can’t *handle* a real Pez museum.” Tee hee

  5. Blawg Review #220 - July 13, 2009

    […] Finally, I blogged last week about the lawsuit filed by Pez against a Pez museum that some fans had set up in San Mateo, California, but Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion was funnier about it. […]

  6. Randall Hull - December 28, 2010

    RT @roncoleman Best of LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®: Companies versus their fans | Bad behavior Pez, Bad!

  7. The [email protected] Ranch - December 28, 2010

    RT @Randall_Hull: RT @roncoleman Best of LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®: Companies versus their fans | Bad behavior Pez, Bad!

  8. The [email protected] Ranch - June 15, 2012

    Companies versus their fans, or authentic versus authorized | LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®

  9. IP’s Ancien Régime | LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® - April 2, 2014

    […] an IP “owner”‘s IP without authorization.  Often it’s not, as discussed in this post about the Pez Museum.  It does seems that the strategy of hurting the ones you love (i.e., your most enthusiastic […]