Companies vs. their fans: Pez sues Pez museum

by Walter Olson on July 7, 2009

The famous maker of candies and candy-dispensers is suing the owners of the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia in Northern California, claiming that its venture into Pez homage, which includes a Guinness-record largest replica of a Pez dispenser, infringe the firm’s trademarks and “deceive the public into thinking that the museum is operating under the authority of Pez.” [San Mateo County Times via Doctor Popular/Laughing Squid and BoingBoing] On Pez’s jealousy of its name, see this 1999 post; more on fans-as-infringers here.

More: Ron Coleman is being disrespectful (“You can’t handle a real Pez museum”); Brian Baxter, AmLaw Daily.

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1 Amy Alkon 07.07.09 at 10:38 am

Losers. Why don’t they just thank the museum instead of suing them?

2 Litigiator 07.07.09 at 12:13 pm

I have never understood why companies get all itchy about trademarks in situations like this.

Wouldn’t it be quite simple for the nice folks at Pez to simply send the Pez Museum a letter saying “we hereby grant you a licence to use the Pez trademark for the following museum purposes: . . . .”

Trademark is defended, because there’s a licence. And the people who are putting their hearts and souls into promoting Pez are made to feel loved and valued.

Win, win.

I’ve always thought problems like this are the result of blinkered lawyers who can’t think outside the attack mode. “Must-stop-infringers” chant the zombie lawyers. “Must-stop-infringers.”

3 Shtetl G 07.07.09 at 12:33 pm

Do they sell Pez at the Pez Museum? Is the Pez real Pez? If the answer to both these questions is yes, I think there might be some common ground to work this out.

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