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Hormel Back on The Spam Offensive

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the more-like-human-than-ever dept.

Spam 305

Anonymous Howard writes "After an xapparent setback in litigation, Hormel Foods is again pursuing actions against entities and organizations over the 'spam' trademark. According to the web site of DSPAM, an open-source statistical anti-spam filter, "Anti-spam software manufacturers may be in for a rude awakening. Hormel Foods Corporation and Hormel Foods LLC have recently filed for extensions to oppose or to cancel many new and existing spam-related trademarks and are even filing a few technology trademarks of their own. The DSPAM project, a popular open source and freely available spam filtering application, has already received two such notices of opposition from the trademark trial and appeal board. The complete history can be viewed here. This came about a year after the software's user community scrounged up the fee to file for a trademark...""

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Spam (5, Funny)

nucal (561664) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604402)

Anyone out there actually eat spam on a regular basis?

Re:Spam (2, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604414)

Actually my Chinese roommates love it, they eat it about 2 times a week.

Re:Spam (2, Interesting)

Supertroll (210165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604427)

Actually, "turkey spam" isn't that bad.

Re:Spam (2, Interesting)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604455)

I often grab a SPAM musubi and a couple of manapua(a pork and a duck or a curry chicken and a duck) for lunch.

Eeeeewwwww! (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604458)


Good question, but a disgusting one. Anyone ever eat Hormel Foods Spam at all? My understanding is that Spam is just a way of selling the fat and scraps that are left after processing other kinds of meat products. That's how spam email got its name; spam email is the least desirable kind of email; Spam meat is the least desirable kind of meat. Whoever named unwanted email "spam" was a communication genius; he gained instant comprehension.

Hormel Foods might want to think again about involving hundreds of thousands of logically minded people in thinking about their trademark and products. Any company that sells a product like Spam should want to avoid being featured on Slashdot.

Anyhow, it is too late. The word spam is far more associated now with unwanted email than it is with a meat byproduct. Hormel should have protested more strongly 10 years ago.

Re:Eeeeewwwww! (4, Informative)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604500)

Actually, SPAM (the food) stands for Spiced Pork and Ham. Spam (the email) became associated with SPAM after a Monty Python sketch with a load of Vikings chanting SPAM repeatedly. Lots of SPAM = pointless and unwanted = spam.

Re:Eeeeewwwww! (1)

levell (538346) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604629)

Shouldn't it be SPAH then? Would have sounded more appropriate after being re-appropriated anyway...
"Spah! Not more Viagra email".

Re:Eeeeewwwww! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604501)

Wrong on two points. Hormel's "Potted Meat Product" (not kidding, I own a can) is the parts that are leftover from other processing. SPAM is actually pretty decent meat -- pork and ham -- and leftovers from SPAM go into other products.

Second, Hormel has always allowed the use of "spam" to refer to email. They are only trying to protect the use of "SPAM," which is their trademark and which they have worked to protect for many years.

Re:Eeeeewwwww! (5, Informative)

operagost (62405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604518)

That's how spam email got its name; spam email is the least desirable kind of email; Spam meat is the least desirable kind of meat.
It's pretty well established that "spam" got its name from a Monty Python bit. I hereby revoke your geek card.

It's also not "by products," if you will. It's pork shoulder, which is a perfectly good part of the pig. Or bad, depending on your opinion of pork.

Important question: Why was the term popular? (3, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604662)


I think that in this case, "pretty well established" is probably a correct term, but I also think it is a mistake.

The question is not why unwanted email was originally named "spam". The question is why the term was immediately adopted and enthusiastically used by so many people.

The people who named it "spam" and the people who adopted the term so easily and with such popularity were probably older people, not teenagers or people in their early twenties. I say that because I believe the formula for Hormel Foods SPAM has changed. I tried SPAM in the 50's. Even as a child I was disgusted by the fat in SPAM then. So, when I first heard the word "spam" associated with unwanted email, I completely understood and agreed wtih the reference.

If unwanted email had been named "foot stomp", I might have recognized the reference to the Monty Python TV show, but I would not have adopted the term myself.

I remember trying a bite of Hormel Foods SPAM several years ago, and I was surprised that it was not disgusting. That's why I think that the formula was changed.

Someone, please look on a can of Hormel Foods SPAM and post a comment with the total calories per serving and the number of fat calories per serviing.

Funny official statement from Hormel Foods [spam.com] : Let's face it. Today's teens and young adults are more computer savvy than ever, and the next generations will be even more so. Children will be exposed to the slang term "spam" to describe UCE well before being exposed to our famous product SPAM. Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, "Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?"

Re:Eeeeewwwww! (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604522)

I used to when I was a great deal younger.

Not sure if it is supposed to be a breakfast food, but that's primarily how it was served (on bread). Semi-tasty stuff when you are younger with a stomache of iron.

Now, it's just too greasy for me, but that doesn't say I won't touch it again. (Just fairly rare to eat it now)

Funny observation (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604547)


Funny observation from a link [topsecretrecipes.com] in a comment below:

"Does Spam taste corpsy? Of course it tastes corpsy -- it's meat. We're just arguing about the identity of the deceased."

Also: "... the name Spam is derived from the words "spicy ham, ..."

It seems to me that islanders liked Hormel SPAM because it was the cheapest form of meat product and because they accepted high fat food because they ate coconut.

Re:Eeeeewwwww! (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604670)

That's how spam email got its name; spam email is the least desirable kind of email; Spam meat is the least desirable kind of meat.

I thought junk email got named spam because it's always filling up your mailbox, just like spam the meat product. (you guys do have large quantities of processed meat products put in your mailbox daily, don't you?)

I think SPAM is actually pretty good if you fry the hell out of it and then throw it on an English muffin with cheese and a fried egg. I call this the "aorta-buster".

Re:Spam (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604503)

I heard from someone who lived on Oahu that Hawaiians consume a disproportionate amount of the US spam intake.
I've heard of a spam variation on this gastrointestinal atrocity^W delight [whatscookingamerica.net] , which is still better than balut, I suppose...

Re:Spam (2, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604548)

McDonald's are trialling a new breakfast meal made of Spam in their restaurants in Hawaii. [ananova.com] (Story dated 2002.) In that case, Spam would definitely be an increase in the food quality.

Re:Spam (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604623)

McDonald's are trialling a new breakfast meal made of Spam in their restaurants in Hawaii. (Story dated 2002.) In that case, Spam would definitely be an increase in the food quality.

Spam eggs sausage and spam anybody?

Re:Spam (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604567)

Spam is great! You can keep a can of it in the back of the cupboard for years. Every time you're stuck for something to cook for lunch or supper, you can look in the cupboard and say "Well, there's always the Spam", and you'll be able think of something else to prepare almost immediately.

It's a lot like Discworld dwarven bread.

timothy, do some actual editing (0, Troll)

James A. Y. Joyce (877365) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604406)

The third word in that person's writeup begins with a floating letter 'x'. Get rid of it. Also, in my Tor story, change the eff.tor.org link to tor.eff.org. Jeez, do your job.

Telling the truth is not trolling (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604416)

That "x" error is so obvious that timothy must've been blinded by Roland's semen in his eyes not to see it.

(Okay, now that's a troll!)

Re:Telling the truth is not trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604504)

(trolling on the floor, laughing)

Sounds like (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604407)

It's time to hire a Spam Assassissin to take out a few Hormel lawyers.

Tough case (5, Insightful)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604412)

I understand why Hormel wants to do this. Normally you don't want your product associated with such a negative thing.

But Spam? Of the people that actually enjoy eating it, would anything dissuade them from doing so? I mean, they're eating gelatinous pig parts. They don't seem like very discerning consumers to me.

Re:Tough case (5, Funny)

Supertroll (210165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604440)

SPAM(tm) is the "Baywatch" of foods. Nobody admits to liking it but Hormell has been selling a metric assload of it for 60 years.

Re:Tough case (5, Funny)

jvollmer (456588) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604550)

Hormell has been selling a metric assload of it for 60 years.

Shhh! You're giving away the recipe!

You're stupid then (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604451)

First Spam is made from beef, not pork.

And it is high quality meat.

Third Spam has played nice with all the spam stuff, and they've been generous about their trademark. They've been great to the community

Give them a break. Either use a different word, or pay hormel to use the word. Simple.

Leave the gov't out in the cold?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604490)

Hmmm.... That'll never fly. Spammers would be forced to pay Hormel royalties for sending out mail. The government doesn't like competition!

Re:You're stupid then (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604506)

Hormel have a trademark on spam, a meat byproduct. Hormel do not have a trademark on spam as unsolicited commercial email.

If they can't protect their trademark, they lose it. All you have to do is point me towards where the anti-spam vendors are using the word in conjunction with the food industry and I'm right with you.

Re:You're stupid then (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604527)

Not that simple.
Bulk email was called spam by geeks.
Geeks are fans of Monty Python.
Python referenced spam in a lot of skits.
Hormel are getting a lot of free awareness of their product.
This lawsuit further raises the visibility of spam.
Go, convergence of legal system and advertising!
How about some suggesting alternative names?
'Potted electronic mail product', for example.

Re:You're stupid then (4, Informative)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604539)

First Spam is made from beef, not pork.

Quoted from the can... "Ingredients: Pork with Ham, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Nitrite." See picture [deskpicture.com] .

Re:You're stupid then (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604596)

Ahh, the infamous Anonymous Coward. Declares "You're stupid" in their subject line, spouts falsehoods as facts [google.com] and oversimplifies the entire discussion.

Where would Slashdot be without you, Anonymous Coward?

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604542)

It's a clear trademark infringement. Don't make this out to be more than it is.

Re:Duh (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604592)

It is?

Hormel cans unsolicited email?
Usolicited e-mail is an edible meat product?

Wow, it's really easy to get those two things confused.

Re:Duh (1)

srleffler (721400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604606)

Actually, it's not. IANAL, but I believe trademarks are normally only effective within a particular area of business. A company with a trademarked name for a food product cannot necessarily prevent other companies from trademarking the same name for another type of product. The key is that the products need to be different enough that consumers would not be confused into thinking the two companies are related. There is an exception in the U.S. for 'famous' brands. Trademarks like McDonald's or Ford automatically cover all areas of business.

Re:Tough case (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604563)

I understand why Hormel wants to do this. Normally you don't want your product associated with such a negative thing.

Yeah, I've felt a little bad for Hormel with the association. But I've never associated or heard other people associate SPAM with a quality product. I've only eaten it once when camping when I was in 6th grade. Honestly, I don't remember it being bad. For me, the only caned meat products that I eat is tuna.

Also, if they are going to the US government for help in this matter, maybe they should reconsider http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspa m.htm [ftc.gov] . Because it does not appear as though the government recognizes or respects their brand name either.

Re:Tough case (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604581)

For me, the only caned meat products that I eat is tuna.

Mmmm, dolphin on toast!

Lets see... (2, Insightful)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604417)

Spam Meat [google.com] gives back 701.000 results, whereas

Spam Mail [google.com] gives back 52 million 200.000 results.

I think it is clear who loses this case - it's a numbers game...

Re:Lets see... (4, Interesting)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604431)

Yeah, I'm not sure the infamous "Googlefight logic" neccessarily stands up in court.

Eh, but it worked against kleenex so who knows.

Re:Lets see... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604462)

Especially since the word spam as it relates to email came from the product (via Monty Python).

Re:Lets see... (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604468)

Googlefight. Legally binding in 49 states. If Hormel is able to prove that the Monty Python skit actually did lead to UCE becoming known as 'spam' then maybe they have a case since they'd be able to show their trademark was co-opted.

Re:Lets see... (2, Funny)

Viceice (462967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604520)

Maybe because SPAM (The product) isn't exactly a meat?

Miscategorized Article? (3, Interesting)

Crimson Dragon (809806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604418)

I am curious why this article wasn't filed as "Your Rights Online". Maybe I am missing the boat here, but this seems to be an IP-related discussion and not a technical issue.

Re:Miscategorized Article? (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604426)

How about the right to use our own language?!

Re:Miscategorized Article? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604634)

You're free to use your own language as you see fit. But the second you start naming a commercial entity or product the same thing as a pre-existing commercial entity or product, you're outside of your rights.

Re:Miscategorized Article? (5, Funny)

tukkayoot (528280) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604466)

No, it's labeled correctly, here's an example [slashdot.org] of what a YRO article should look like.

Re:Miscategorized Article? (1)

Crimson Dragon (809806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604517)

Well we are talking about a company's right to assert a trademark. This is a rights-based discussion.... it affects our rights in the sense of how names can be trademarked and whether a body seeking to claim a "trademark" which has been in common vernacular for a number of years has the right to assert the aforementioned ownership to that name....

How is this not a rights issue?

Re:Miscategorized Article? (1)

gibson_81 (135261) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604519)

come on mods, click the link ... this is funny, not informative .... =)

Re:Miscategorized Article? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604619)

Actually, it's Hormel's rights, not yours.

WTF! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604424)

WTF

SPAM vs spam (4, Informative)

kill-hup (120930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604428)

I seem to recall Hormel being somewhat okay with the use of the word "spam" sans caps. IIRC, "SPAM" is a trademark but "spam" is not.

'DSPAM', as a company name, would seem to be a perfect example of what Hormel has *not* tolerated...

Re:SPAM vs spam (3, Informative)

kill-hup (120930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604433)

(replying to myself)

Quick Google search found Hormel's "SPAM and the Internet" [spam.com] page.

Re:SPAM vs spam (1)

quintiusc (878597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604551)

This wouldn't be the first time that a company got stripped of a trademark because it got incorporated into common language. This happened to both frisbee and hola hoop. It will be interseting to see if the fact they are only trying to stop use of the all caps use makes a difference.

Of course, DSPAM can easily become Dspam and Hormel would have to drop their suit based on the fact that they have said that they don't object to the all lowercase usage.

Re:SPAM vs spam (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604561)

And attempting to trademark DSPAM would seem to be flicking a wet towel at a bovine's love tackle. Hormel has to take action now. This should come as a surprise to no one.

Trademarks (4, Informative)

Tristandh (723519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604430)

Aren't trademarks only there to protect a certain brand from being used by others in similar types of industry? Fighting off unwanted commercial e-mail and selling pig's intestines as food are way different playing fields, so I don't see how Hormel has a case...
Of course, IANAL, so correct me if I'm wrong...

Re:Trademarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604449)

You are totally right. At least in the UK, you only need to worry about this sort of thing if your product is within the same business stream. I mean, come on, lawyers, use your fcuking heads man! jeeeeez

I wanna know if these guys are suing all other SPAM manufactures (i.e. the actual other meat manufactures out there) cos I can guarantee that these guys wern't the first to think of the name. Wasn't it a british firm who came up with it as a WWII food?

Re:Trademarks (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604502)

Wasn't it a british firm who came up with it as a WWII food?

No, it was shipped to Britain in large quantities during WWII. And Hormel did invent the name.

Re:Trademarks (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604454)

SPAM or spam, it's all a bunch of tripe!

Re:Trademarks (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604523)

You are correct, however, things get a bit more complicated when a company takes the trouble to invent a unique word to be their mark.

Exxon, Lexus, Infiniti, etc.

Coining a new word makes the mark stronger, because it begins its life innately attached to the company/product; and nothing else, as opposed to, say, "Bob's Garage."

Standard Oil even went to considerable trouble and expense to make sure their Exxon mark didn't have negative conotations anywhere in the world.

If you look down you'll find that Hormel is actually being rather reasonable about the whole thing, given the situation. They're defending their mark, as they must if they don't wish to loose it, but they really just aren't being dickheads about it. They accept that their mark, a word they invented just to be associated with their product, now has a new and second meaning.

But their concerns that in future people might wonder why they named their potted meat product after junk email are perfectly valid.

KFG

Re:Trademarks (3, Interesting)

Tristandh (723519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604594)

I agree that they are quite reasonable in the whole matter. In fact, they explicitly state

We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE.

But OTOH, they say

Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, "Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?"

Which kind of conflicts with the former quote. Everyone knows about spam-email. Everyone has to deal with it. Seems to me they're fighting a lost case, and they know it.

Nice Classification and famous marks (4, Informative)

Christian Engstrom (633834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604554)

Aren't trademarks only there to protect a certain brand from being used by others in similar types of industry?
Yes, that's correct.Trademarks are divided into 45 different classes of goods and services. The system is called the "Nice Classification [wipo.int] ", since the original version of it was agreed on at some conference in Nice, France. This system is nowadays used in almost all countries in the world.

Under normal circumstances, marks in different classes are allowed to co-exists even if they are identical. For marks that are not entirely identical but merely very similar, like "Spam" vs. "SpamArrest", even more so.

For really well known marks, like Coca-Cola or IBM, there is an exception to this rule, which is called "Kodak protection" after the landmark case that is considered to have established the principle.

But in this case, where the original "Spam" trademark is so strongly tied to just one very specific product, I'd be very surprised if a court would find the "Spam" should enjoy Kodak protection. It's also quite debatable if "Spam" was ever that famous.

And even if there was a time when it could perhaps be argued that "Spam" was more frequently used to denote the "food" product, nowadays the meaning "junk email" is so widely established that I can't see how the owners of the origial "Spam" trademark could hope to be successful in their claims.

But perhaps they have some reasons for trying to pursue what to me looks like a very weak case indeed.

IANATML, but I've worked in the trademarks business for 25 years developing phonetic trademark search systems.

Their official stance (5, Informative)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604435)


from: http://spam.com/ci/ci_in.htm [spam.com]


SPAM and the Internet

You've probably seen, heard or even used the term "spamming" to refer to the act of sending unsolicited commercial email (UCE), or "spam" to refer to the UCE itself. Following is our position on the relationship between UCE and our trademark SPAM.

Use of the term "spam" was adopted as a result of the Monty Python skit in which our SPAM meat product was featured. In this skit, a group of Vikings sang a chorus of "spam, spam, spam . . . " in an increasing crescendo, drowning out other conversation. Hence, the analogy applied because UCE was drowning out normal discourse on the Internet.

We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE, although we do object to the use of the word "spam" as a trademark and to the use of our product image in association with that term. Also, if the term is to be used, it should be used in all lower-case letters to distinguish it from our trademark SPAM, which should be used with all uppercase letters.

This slang term, which generically describes UCE, does not affect the strength of our trademark SPAM. In a Federal District Court case involving the famous trademark STAR WARS owned by Lucasfilm Ltd., the Court ruled that the slang term used to refer to the Strategic Defense Initiative did not weaken the trademark and the Court refused to stop its use as a slang term. Other examples of famous trademarks having a different slang meaning include MICKEY MOUSE, to describe something as unsophisticated and CADILLAC, used to denote something as being high quality. It is only when someone attempts to trademark the word "spam" that we object to such use, in order to protect our rights in our famous trademark SPAM. We coined this term in 1937 and it has become a famous trademark. Thus, we don't appreciate it when someone else tries to make money on the goodwill that we created in our trademark or product image, or takes away from the unique and distinctive nature of our famous trademark SPAM. Let's face it. Today's teens and young adults are more computer savvy than ever, and the next generations will be even more so. Children will be exposed to the slang term "spam" to describe UCE well before being exposed to our famous product SPAM. Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, "Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?"

Position Statement on "Spamming"

We oppose the act of "spamming" or sending UCE. We have never engaged in this practice, although we have been victimized by it. If you have been one of those who has received UCE with a return address using our website address of SPAM.com, it wasn't us. It's easy and commonplace for somebody sending UCE to simply adopt a fake header ID, which disguises the true source of the UCE and makes it appear that it is coming from someone else. If you have or do receive UCE with this header ID, please understand that it didn't come from us.

Other "spam" Websites

This is the one and only official SPAM Website, brought to you by the makers of the SPAM Family of products. All of the others have been created by somebody else. We are not associated with those other websites and are not responsible for their content. As a Company, we are opposed to content that is obscene, vulgar or otherwise not "family friendly." We support positive family values and you can count on us for "safe surfing" by your children.



Also, from their Legal and Copyright page:


4. Enforceability. If any of the above terms are unlawful, unenforceable, or void, such term(s) will be deemed severable and will not affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining terms.

5. Trademark Information. The following trademarks used or which are planned to be used in this site, whether registered or unregistered, are owned by Hormel Foods: SPAM; HORMEL; SPAMBURGER; SPAMTASTIC and any other SPAM-derived terms.

Proper Trademark Use Guidelines.

Please Do:
# Always put the trademark SPAM in all capital letters.
# Follow SPAM with "Luncheon Meat" or other descriptor. Remember, a trademark is a formal adjective and as such, should a
lways be followed by a noun.



Seems reasonable to me. I remember slashdot had a can of spam as the spam icon back in 2000ish timeframes. They replaced that. Seems to me, as long as you're not using SPAM in ALL CAPS (read: DSPAM), and you're not using it to describe an edible product, you should be ok.

Re:Their official stance (1)

Supertroll (210165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604467)

In a Federal District Court case involving the famous trademark STAR WARS owned by Lucasfilm Ltd., the Court ruled that the slang term used to refer to the Strategic Defense Initiative did not weaken the trademark and the Court refused to stop its use as a slang term.

And just how could a court stop the use of a trademark as a "slang term" if they wanted to, send a C&D to everybody in the country?

Re:Their official stance (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604595)

'And just how could a court stop the use of a trademark as a "slang term" if they wanted to, send a C&D to everybody in the country?'

No, just prevent it's use in print and broadcast; journalists would have had to coin a new term which would probably have reduced 'Star Wars' as slang for SDI to an uninteresting historical footnote.

Re:Their official stance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604470)

Seems to me, as long as you're not using SPAM [..] to describe an edible product, you should be ok.

Does SPAM itself qualify as an "edible product"?

Re:Their official stance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604524)

So all DSPAM has to do is call themselves DUCE! Like: "We DUCE on SPAM so you don't have to!" or "What the DUCE?!"

Oh, as if! (1)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604546)

the famous trademark STAR WARS owned by Lucasfilm Ltd., the Court ruled that the slang term used to refer to the Strategic Defense Initiative did not weaken the trademark and the Court refused to stop its use as a slang term

As if they could stop its use as a slang term, or as if that's even a legal action for a company or court to undertake. Trademarks are about advertising, or reference to a product. No one can stop you from merely reusing the words of a trademark.

Companies that get bent out of shape when their product becomes a metaphor need to adjust their attitude. A product such as Hormel's SPAM luncheon meat, with its, er, distinctive physical characteristics, is ripe for similization.

But of course, Hormel doesn't want to lose their trademark to common use. Then, someone could start making generic spam meat. Oh, the horror!

Re:Oh, as if! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604618)

Believe it or not. There are companies that make cheap "knock off" spamlike meat products. If you the the original is bad......

SPAM is yummy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604452)

SPAM is tasty, not the most healthy thing you can eat, but bacon isn't very low fat either.

The low fat spam is the best tasting, the Turkey spam is an interesting variation on a theme.

The Hormel company should protect the name of their product.

If it was called getting 'McDonalded' junk e-mail,
you betcha McDonald's company would be sueing everybody in sight for misusing their product name...

Re:SPAM is yummy. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604509)

And maybe the spammers (mcdonalders?) would sue for defamation?

Horse is out of the barn (1, Insightful)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604453)

This is worse than a case of trying to close the barn door after the horse has run out.

This is trying to close the barn door after the horse has run out, gone to the airport, and flown to Australia to play dijeridu in a punk band.

No way is Hormel ever going to successfully use litigation to stop the popular use of the name of its product to describe UCE. As long as the print media keeps putting quotes around it, all the lawyers in the world won't stop it.

Re:Horse is out of the barn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604614)

that's not what they're trying to do you fucking moron. they're trying to stop people from trademarking their names with 'spam' in them because it's their word they fucking made up, shitface

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604657)

Yes, but Hormel wants to hang that horse out to dry; hung like a horse, if you will. Some people thinks that's radical, to which Hormel responds with Hormel's horse radish. To get the news out, they'll race to distribute the news of their new product across the globe faster than the pony express, in morse code fashion. Hormel wants to trot out their old label and brand this communication stallion, using their old hag of a label, SPAM. So you see, eveyone has to cease and desist using SPAM to refer to blind mass mailing since it's Hormel's term for blind mass mailing and they had it first. They'll be using horse-face Kerry to make their rights into law. Yippie-kay-aye.

The Department of Redundancy Department (1)

PtrToNull (742886) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604456)

"According to the web site of DSPAM, an open-source statistical anti-spam filter"

"The DSPAM project, a popular open source and freely available spam filtering application"

What's DSPAM for again?

Re:The Department of Redundancy Department (1)

Heem (448667) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604497)

i think it has to do with a meat product.

If Hormel wants... (3, Funny)

dyfet (154716) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604471)

If Hormel wants to exclusivily "own" all the spam, I would be very happy to send them all mine!

Re:If Hormel wants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604620)

I'm sure they would welcome all those tips on how to increase the size of their meat.

entire corepirate nazi life0cide to be bullamed (1, Troll)

already_gone (848753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604472)

on newsweak? eye gas that's possible?

however, it's not as though most of US really do not know what's going on?

beware the illusionary smoke&mirrors.con

all is not lost/forgotten.

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vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

we still haven't read (here) about the 2/3'rds of you kids who are investigating/pursuing a spiritual/conscience/concious re-awakening, in amongst the 'stuff that matters'? another big surprise?

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

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"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I love you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604526)

I know we've broken up and all, but call me.

At least (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604483)

... they're not suing Monty Python

Trademark dilution and despoilment... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604487)

I can see their point. They've spent 68 years promoting their product and it's trademark and now some young whippersnappers have come along and linked it to something one wishes to avoid. I'd be pissed too.

They are also being quite reasonable in requesting that their trademark not be incorporated into other trademarks for association with something one wishes to avoid. It's not the same as Tiger which falls into the category of 'wordmarks'. SPAM was never a word so their argument is much stronger. DSPAM using SPAM is akin to taking someones custom artwork and adding a 'D' in front of it and calling it a different trademark.

Re:Trademark dilution and despoilment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604583)

DSPAM using SPAM is akin to taking someones custom artwork and adding a 'D' in front of it and calling it a different trademark.

It's not that simple. The creators of DSPAM didn't look at SPAM and say, "Hmm, I rather like this name, I think I'll steal it." I'm sure processed meat was one of the last things on their minds. They were using "SPAM" to mean "unwanted emails," which is very different from meat jello.

I don't see how SPAM has a case here. It seems similar to how there was an Apple record company and Apple computer company at the same time with no trouble. I thought the idea behind trademarks was to protect their name only within their "trade".

Spam Urban Legend (1)

jhsiao (525216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604494)

Hmm, you'd think Hormel would be just as aggressive in spiking any mention of this urban legend [topsecretrecipes.com] .

Perhaps they would find it distasteful to say "No--it doesn't taste like human, it tastes like the delicious pig lips and anus that it has always been."

Re:Spam Urban Legend (1)

Mahou (873114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604639)

when you buy pork or ham at the store what does the meat look like? yeah, slices and slabs of meat. now, please tell me when the last pig you saw was a geometric shape capable of being cut into those slabs without wasting perfectly good meat. SPAM is just taking all the meat that can't be cut into slabs and cutting them into little pieces off the bones then smushing them together. geez dont you people watch the history channel like me??

Isn't going to work (0)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604553)

Everyone already equates junk email to "spam" their efforts will be futile. This will have as much success as MS trying to rebrand searching from "googling" something to "msning" something. it simply won't happen under the direction of the company wishing it so. all the IP lawyers in the world aren't going to change the minds of the entire population of computer users.

they are wasting their money.

Spam, Velveeta and onions (1, Interesting)

yelvington (8169) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604559)

If you're one of those poor souls who can't appreciate the pure joy of two slices of spam with cheap yellow mustard on white bread, here's an alternative that you should try:

1 small onion
1 can Spam
2 inches cut from the end of a block of Velveeta

Peel the onion and chop it in a food processor. Add the Velveeta and chop for a short burst. Then add the Spam and chop only long enough to blend the results -- you're don't want to turn it into a paste, you want to leave the Spam somewhat chunky.

Spread the result thickly on a hamburger bun or English muffin, and place Spam-side-up on a tray under the broiler until the cheese melts.

Re:Spam, Velveeta and onions (2, Funny)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604588)

*on a tray under the broiler until the cheese melts.*

Cheese? I see no cheese in this recipe!?

Re:Spam, Velveeta and onions (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604661)

Try changing Velveeta to Government Cheese.

Re:Spam, Velveeta and onions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604664)

Oh, to have mod points.... Truely, velveta is to cheese as sitting in a chair and playing with yourself is to sex.

Re:Spam, Velveeta and onions (0, Offtopic)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604677)

I'm guessing velveeta is a kind of cheese. Not one I've heard of though (google says it's made by kraft, but not what it actually is).

Re:Spam, Velveeta and onions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604672)

You just made me throw up.

Give Hormel a break (4, Insightful)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604560)

I've always been impressed with the lighthearted (in a legal sense, I'm sure pirvately they're quite pissed about the whole thing) Hormel has been with the use of their product name in such a negative light. I don't think many companies would take such a view. I mean, Microsoft won't even let you market a product whose name SOUNDS like 'Windows.' I think that Hormel's stand in this case is reasonable.
/hates both spam and SPAM.

Re:Give Hormel a break (2, Interesting)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604617)

I wouldn't be so sure that they're privately pissed.

The whole thing has brought a lot of attention to their canned meat product, and as another poster mentioned, they may actually be doing this as much from a marketing standpoint as for real trademark protection.

They've certainly started pushing the product more over the past couple years-- a few years ago I went to reach for the tuna in my local grocery, and the shelf of chunk white had been replaced by SPAM in all varieties, with the tuna moved below it. I'm sure they paid the grocery some $$$ to do that, but it's a sign that they're definitely pushing SPAM (an in southern California).

By accepting that they aren't going to change the email meaning of it, and instead focusing on "spam=bad thing, SPAM=good thing" they get what might be a low cost, long term ad campaign that keeps both senses of spam on everyones lips and gets people who otherwise wouldn't even think about it to at least try it.

Fight spammers (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604577)

He should sue the spammers for giving his product a bad name ;)

Time wasting issues like this are why... (2, Insightful)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604580)

...historians and/or visiting alien species visiting us in the future after things fall apart for humankind will, when researching the downfall of our species, probably conclude a huge amount of our intellectual, fiscal and human capital/resources were wasted on silly matters such as this and others that seem to make up and take up a lot of people's time in the USA and more so now in the UK. Goddamit, can Hormel just get a life? Sooner individual Americans start to know how to laugh at themselves the better for all of us. It's called self-depreciation.

How about CAN-SPAM (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604582)

They're going to have a hard time suing someone for using SPAM in upper-case since they didn't gripe about the CAN-SPAM act of 2003. I guess suing congress would be a bit difficult.

Re:How about CAN-SPAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604612)

SPAM comes in cans and CAN-SPAM should be CANT-SPAM. I'm going use spam to market my forthcoming film about this fictional trademark dispute, it premiers next year at cannes.

Hormel's point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604589)

They're SPAMmers.

Meanwhile, in China.... (2, Funny)

furasato (715764) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604598)

Meanwhile, in China, a small boat building company is preparing to launch an all out legal offensive on any company wishing to use the junk (ie; junk mail) in thier products instead of spam.

Hormel have lost (2, Insightful)

philkerr (180450) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604669)

Hormel have lost this battle. First email is in no way associated with the food product they sell. Then they tacitly gave the ok for people to use the term.

Can't have it both ways.

I've been targeted for a trademark dispute. Funny thing was the MIDI Manufacturers Association didn't own the trademark they said I breached.

Take this posturing with a pinch of salt, they have nothing and it is common practice for companies to try it on.

Re:Hormel have lost (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12604683)

Then they tacitly gave the ok for people to use the term.

It doesn't have anything to do with using the word. It has to do with commerical products using their name.

I've just invented this new kind of anal douche that helps clear out unwanted fecal matter and semen and blood. I'm calling it "Linux". Hope nobody minds.

so...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12604674)

...will they be sueing congress for CAN-SPAN? And more importantly, why not?
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