Spamhaus Chief Information Officer Richard Cox … [informed] me that Hormel, makers of SPAM (the tinned meat product), recently (and graciously) allowed Spamhaus to trademark their name. That’s quite a breakthrough for the spam-fighting non-profit, and certainly a first for Hormel. The company awoke one day and found itself the owner of a household name — for all the wrong reasons.
Graciously? Or had they just had enough of the kind of nonsense and expense they’ve put SpamArrest through for no good reason? There’s been no resolution of the SpamArrest case, though Mike Atkins has a great rundown of the oral argument before the TTAB in February. Worst violation of the smell test is this exhange:
On likelihood of confusion, Judge Seeherman asked: Don’t we have two different meanings for the marks?
Hormel: Not really. The brand SPAM when used on all things still carries a meaning quite apart from canned meat. There’s an iconic statement about it. I don’t want to limit the meaning to canned meat.
Judge Seeherman: When the defendant uses SPAM for a product that filters unwanted email?
Hormel: That’s defendant’s intended meaning. But if someone sees SPAM ARREST, the likelihood is that people will think there is some sponsorship or affiliation with Hormel.
Sure. Hormel. Top of our minds, every stinking day of our lives, each time someone tries to sell us Cialis or refinancing via email and McAffee labels it “spam.” Right — we assume it came from the tinned meat company.
Is there really nothing we won’t say for a fee?