For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Naked cowboy in win-win situation

Various readers have drawn the IPKat's attention to a Reuters news item concerning New York City street performer Robert Burck, alias "The Naked Cowboy", who is suing Mars Inc for $6 million for misappropriating the use of his trade mark appearance: white underwear, cowboy boots and a hat. The alleged infringement has been performed by a blue M&M confection on a Times Square billboard. Burck objects to the portrayal of a scantily-clad blue M&M with a guitar alongside views of New York, including street scenes and the Statue of Liberty.

The IPKat admires the manner in which publicity-conscious Americans play the intellectual property system for their own benefit. Burck drums up plenty of coverage, enhances his already substantial public profile and even stands to gain a small pay-out in settlement; M&M hog the headlines at the expense of their competitors and gain considerable public sympathy for being subjected to the indignity of litigation in response to their good-humoured parody. Even the lawyers get something to bill for. Merpel adds, I hope it goes to court so we can read the arguments of the respective parties: it would be a pity if the resolution of this little spat was the subject of a cover-up ...

Naked cowboy here
Naked cowgirl here

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