Maddog was over rummaging through the Instapundit odds and ends drawer, when we came upon this story of Quaker Oats, and the Quakers
Instapundit » Blog Archive » I CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE DISLIKE LAWYERS: Quaker Oats sends cease/desist to actual Quakers….
Maddog usually finds attorney tease/desist letters amusing, and occasionally hilarious. This was closer to the latter.
There is so much more!
The letters are below, because they are simply too good to miss:
"Dear Mr. William Lovett:
I am the attorney at the Quaker Oats Company responsible for trademark matters. As you probably know, our company manufactures numerous food products, the most famous of which is oatmeal. In addition to having used the Quaker Oats name as our company name for close to 100 years, we have registered the Quaker name as a trademark.
It was therefore quite a surprise to discover that you are operating a business under the name "Quaker Oats Christmas Tree Farm." Your use of our trademark is likely to mislead consumers into believing that your business is associated with the Quaker Oats Company. It is also likely to weaken our very strong trademark. In light of the foregoing, we hereby demand that you immediately stop all use of the "Quaker Oats" name … While we would like to settle this matter amicably, we will take all steps which are necessary and appropriate to protect our name.
Janet L. Silverberg, counsel
Dear Janet Silverberg:
My breakfast this morning—rolled oats by the way—was interrupted by the arrival of your letter via FedEx, which was delivered to us despite the fact that you have misspelled our company name which is Quaker OAKS Christmas Tree Farm. Our farm was so named because religious services were held outdoors on this farm under a great oak tree until about ten years ago when we were able to move into our new Meetinghouse on another corner of our farm.
Our business is 100% owned and operated by Quakers. I suspect that your firm employs considerably fewer, if any, Quakers. We trace our Quaker ancestors back 320 years and they were mostly farmers, but I don’t know how many of them grew oats for your company. My guess is that you may be selling far more Lutheran oats, Methodist oats, or maybe atheist oats. Could your company be guilty of product source misrepresentation?
We don’t know why you choose to associate your commercial products with our faith, but we supposed you feel there is some marketing value from it. If you were selling machine guns, roulette wheels or some other product offensive to our Quaker faith, we would be upset by the association, but since we find your products wholesome and enjoyable, we consider your use of our name a compliment. We invite you to visit our farm to verify that we are indeed Quaker Oaks Christmas Tree Farm. If you come in December, we’d be happy to sell you a tree!
William Lovett, Visalia, California"
Thus endth the lesson.
We once had a managing partner who went off on a lunatic email ramble about how spelling and syntactical mistakes in minor letters, and memos to the file were the equivalent of a pilot making an error which crashed an aircraft. We cornered the managing partner in the Attorney Lounge, yes, it was one of those law firms, and asked if he really did not understand the difference between a minor spelling error and an existential error, resulting in an aircraft crash (mic drop), and left. A year later, Zippy the Pinhead was still managing partner, and we decided the reason was he was well liked but incapable of actual legal work. He was to put it delicately, an idiot hire.
We only lasted a few years at the firm, mostly because the entire senior echelon was attempting to back into retirement without reducing their income levels. We were of the opinion that the firm income was on a line which would vanish to zero within the next decade. Which is pretty much what happened. Greener pastures beckoned.
Leaving was liberating.
The point being that too many lawyers focus only on the trees, not on the forest. Maddog likes nothing so much as the resulting comeuppance, which should be celebrated with a fete . . . requiring hats, of course.