Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unicorn meat - the other white meat?

On April 1, Geeknet announced a new product. Canned Unicorn Meat. According to the site, unicorn meat tastes like rotisserie chicken, but with a hint of marshmallow sweetness. Sounds delicious. Geeknet included the following text in trying to promote this delectable product

Pâté is passé. Unicorn - the new white meat.

Excellent source of sparkles!

Unicorns, as we all know, frolic all over the world, pooping rainbows and marshmallows wherever they go. What you don't know is that when unicorns reach the end of their lifespan, they are drawn to County Meath, Ireland. The Sisters at Radiant Farms have dedicated their lives to nursing these elegant creatures through their final days. Taking a cue from the Kobe beef industry, they massage each unicorn's coat with Guinness daily and fatten them on a diet comprised entirely of candy corn.

About a month later, the National Pork Board send Geeknet a cease-and-desist letter:
We are writing to you in connection with your activities at the website www.thinkgeek.com, wherein you have been marketing a product called "Radiant Farms Canned Unicorn Meat" using the slogan "Unicorn - the new white meat."
NPB said this ran afoul of its "The Other White Meat" line of marks. (It's not clear if they claimed a likelihood of confusion, dilution, or some other theory).

As you likely know, trademarks are associated with certain goods and services. NPB identified 3 U.S. trademarks (at least on the only page of the cease-and-desist letter I've seen) with the following goods and services:

"Cookbooks, brochures about pork, pens, pencils, crayons, bumperstickers, and stickers"
"Shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons, jackets, and hats"
"Providing an internet web site featuring food preparation/cooking information regarding pork and accompanying recipes"

"Promoting the interests of the members of the pork industry"
"Providing an internet web site featuring information about cooking and accompanying recipes"
"Association services namely, promoting the interests of members of the pork industry"

In response to the letter, Geeknet has apologized
"It was never our intention to cause a national crisis and misguide American citizens regarding the differences between the pig and the unicorn," said Scott Kauffman, President and CEO of Geeknet. "In fact, ThinkGeek's canned unicorn meat is sparkly, a bit red, and not approved by any government entity."
Geeknet describes the incident fully here. NPR discussed it this morning as well. As you might image, lots of others are writing about this too. Enjoy.

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