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Douglas Panzer
March 6, 2015

Hall & Oates Go All Maneater on Haulin’ Oats Cereal Maker Over Trademark

Posted By Douglas Panzer @ 11:56 am
Filed under: Music,Offbeat,Trademarks

Lawyers on behalf of Darryl Hall and John Oates filed a complaint in federal district court in New York on Wednesday alleging trademark and service mark infringement, as well as unfair competition against Brooklyn, NY company Early Bird Foods & Co., LLC, based on the latter’s marketing and sale of (exorbitantly expensive) granola under the brand name “Haulin’ Oats.” One interesting part in all of this is that Hall and Oates aren’t just suing Early Bird because the company came up with a (semi-)creative, but unauthorized play on the singers names. No, Hall and Oates’ business entity, Whole Oates Enterprises, actually owns a federally registered trademark in the phrase “Haulin’ Oats” (U.S. Reg. No. 4345444). “This mark was assigned to Whole Oats in 2014 by a Monterey, California/Nashville, Tennessee cereal entrepreneur who appears to have been the first to go to market with the witty breakfast brand. According to the complaint against Early Bird, Whole Oats “entered into a business relationship [in 2014] whereby Haulin’ Oats assigned to Whole Oats its trademark and service mark rights in and to the mark HAULIN’ OATS (including the United States Trademark and Service Mark Registration identified above) and [Whole Oats] granted a royalty-based license back to Haulin’ Oats.”

So, everybody thought this was just about Hall & Oates protecting their music-related brand. Nope – they actually are in the cereal business. Who knew?!

I almost forgot to throw in the musical puns:

Hall & Oates say “I can’t go for that” over competing cereal brand…

Hall & Oates hope you say “your grits are on my list”…

Cereal maker trying to trade off the Hall & Oates name - say it isn’t so…

Read the complaint here: Whole Oats v Early Bird Complaint

June 13, 2013

The Silly Things Only Lawyers Notice

Posted By Douglas Panzer @ 12:59 pm
Filed under: News,Offbeat

According to an article from today’s Wall Street Journal, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen is planning to give away dollar bills on Capitol Hill stamped with messages aimed at urging campaign finance reform. Others can handle that story. The thing that struck me was a statement in the article that Cohen “says the bills will still be legal tender as well.”

Of course the dollars will still be legal tender, right?! So why state the obvious. It seems to this constantly curious lawyer that Mr. Cohen’s attorney reviewed Cohen’s plan and press release before this thing went live. Why? Well, because we lawyers, for a living, see things that others consider paranoia. To wit…what if a politician who likes his corporate campaign donations got miffed and decided to come after Mr. Cohen? It seems defacing 8000 dollar bills would be a good area to consider for attack.

Well, sorry vengeful politician. 18 USC 333 provides that currency is only defaced if it is altered “with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued.” If Mr. Cohen states his intention for the currency to remain in circulation, surely it must be fit for reissue. Problem solved. Vengeful politician stymied. And, I suspect, all non-lawyers shaking their heads at the whole thought.

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