Unlovely SPAM

Originally posted 2007-01-08 22:45:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Hormel won’t give up.  And neither will Spam Arrrest, LLC (which makes a great product I’ve used for years). A press release from Spam Arrest reports:

Spam Arrest LLC, which provides the popular web service software to eliminate email spam, hopes to end its four year legal battle against Hormel next month. Spam Arrest is the only company ever, except Hormel Foods Corporation, to secure a trademark including the word “spam” recorded on the principal United States trademark register. For nearly four years, Spam Arrest has defended its trademark against Hormel’s lawsuit seeking to cancel the SPAM ARREST trademark registration….

Spam Arrest has incurred almost $500,000 defending its trademark rights. “We’ve spent years fighting for our trademark, while much larger companies have simply abandoned their trademark applications after threats from Hormel,” said Brian Cartmell, CEO of Spam Arrest. “Not one person confuses our anti-spam service with Hormel’s canned meat — the average American consumer is smarter than that.”

There you have it, canned and virtually inedible.  spamA ridiculous three-and-a-half-year crusade meant to “take back” trademark rights arguably never earned under the guise of trademark dilution, the law that made trademark a right in gross for the privileged few; a claim — quite credible — that many smaller companies have simply folded their tents rather than defend their businesses, the very essence of IP enforcement abuse; an utter absence of LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION; certainly no evidence of damages and every reason to believe that the coinage of “spam” for junk email has done more to build this brand than anything, including Monty Python, could ever do; and a half million dollars donated to America’s most deserving (and, I might add, most handsome) sub-class of learned professionals.

Climbing off my tinned-meat box, here’s some interesting spice for your ham from the press release:

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the federal administrative court charged with overseeing the national trademark office, has decided to hold the final hearing for case number 92042134, Hormell vs. Spam Arrest, before a live audience of trademark lawyers in New York City. The hearing will take place at the Practicing Law Institute in New York on February 23, 2007.

Now that is fascinating. Here’s a link to the schedule for the PLI course featuring this live argument. I’d attend in a second if I had been one of the torchbearers for Spam Arrest’s commitment to principle, freedom and justice. Since I’m not, I’ll have to use the $1,295.00 course tuition and buy things like food. Not Spam, of course. Nothing personal — doctor’s orders.


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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

5 Responses to “Unlovely SPAM”

  1. January 9, 2007 at 2:58 am #

    If Hormel wins a dilution claim here, everything I thought I knew about trademark law is wrong. It seems to me like they can credibly claim to have a famous mark; but as for these causes of action:

    “Blurring”, by which the connection in consumers’ minds between the plaintiff’s mark and the plaintiff’s goods or services is weakened; or
    “Tarnishment”, which means that the defendant’s use is unsavory or unwholesome, or the mark is used in connection with inferior products.

    I’ll concede that both have perhaps happened. I’ll bet that “spam” is now used to refer to junk email more often than to canned meat; and junk email is often unsavory, unwholesome, or inferior. But those connotations evolved through the natural development of the English language, not through any action by Spam Arrest. Dictionary.com lists both definitions from multiple sources. Whether they like it or not, “spam” now means junk email.

  2. January 9, 2007 at 11:13 am #

    I’m pretty inclined to agree. You can’t tarnish silver that’s already black. And the blurring is simply history.


  1. MarkenBlog » Blog Archive » USA: SPAM vs. Spam Arrest - January 16, 2007

    […] Ãœber die aktuelle Entwicklung im mehrjährigen Streit zwischen Hormels und Spam Arrest LLC um die Marke Spam Arrest berichtet LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION. […]

  2. LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION » Blog Archive » Spam a little lovelier? - April 19, 2007

    […] 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. […]

  3. Meg Langley Grainger - September 10, 2009

    Unlovely SPAM: more on Hormel v Spam Arrest LLC http://ow.ly/oIGV RT @RonColeman

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