Amphibious-tour operators in S.F. battle over “quacking devices”

Ride the Ducks says it has been inviting customers to toot on kazoos for a decade as part of its water-land tours in various cities. Now it is suing competitor Bay Quackers, which pioneered the duck tour concept in San Francisco (and was more recently joined there as a competitor by Ride the Ducks) for infringing its “sound mark”, an “auditory equivalent of a trademark”. [New York Times] [Corrected 2:30 p.m. after reader Kim S. pointed out that I hadn’t correctly conveyed the details of which company operated where and when.]


  • Whatever happened to “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”? With a lawsuit you can’t have a funny advertisement with a “we did it first” flavor or a coke v pepsi-type sound off. Could have been a lot of fun for SF tours and tourists.

  • Wasn’t there a patent filed by Harley-Davidson about the “Harley Sound”? I had heard that they were trying to get royalties out of the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.

  • I could say something like “this isn’t all it’s quacked up to be”, but then I’d be accused of ducking the issue [groan]!