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EU Rejects Spam Maker's Trademark Bid 231

Posted by timothy
from the how-the-mighty-have-fallen dept.
kog777 writes "The producer of the canned pork product Spam has lost a bid to claim the word as a trademark for unsolicited e-mails. EU trademark officials rejected Hormel Foods Corp.'s appeal, dealing the company another setback in its struggle to prevent software companies from using the word 'spam' in their products, a practice it argued was diluting its brand name. The European Office of Trade Marks and Designs, noting that the vast majority of the hits yielded by a Google search for the word made no reference to the food, said that 'the most evident meaning of the term SPAM for the consumers ... will certainly be unsolicited, usually commercial e-mail, rather than a designation for canned spicy ham.'"
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EU Rejects Spam Maker's Trademark Bid

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  • Well.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by diersing (679767) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:05AM (#16408619)
    Are we really using Google to decide such matters? What else could Google decide for us?
    • Re:Well.... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Sqwubbsy (723014) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:09AM (#16408687) Homepage Journal
      Presidential elections? [googlefight.com]
    • Which meat product is more popular [googlefight.com]?
    • Re:Well.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by seanadams.com (463190) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:13AM (#16408751) Homepage

      indeed, what an obviously self-selected sample set. Asking the _internet_ to tell you what spam is?

      I reealize this was a European court and Spam is not popular over there, but imagine what you'd get if you asked, say 100 people as they walked through the canned meats section of a supermarket.

      That's about as ridiculous as asking google to tell you what it means on the internet. It's all about context.

      I don't think anyone would confuse spam with just email if you invited them over for a nice spam casserole. They'd just tell you they'd rather eat cat feces, which smells the same but tastes slightly better.
      • Re:Well.... (Score:5, Funny)

        by jimicus (737525) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:20AM (#16408853)
        they'd rather eat cat feces, which smells the same but tastes slightly better.

        How do you know?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lonewolf666 (259450)

        indeed, what an obviously self-selected sample set. Asking the _internet_ to tell you what spam is?

        I reealize this was a European court and Spam is not popular over there, but imagine what you'd get if you asked, say 100 people as they walked through the canned meats section of a supermarket.

        In an European supermarket?
        Of course you would meet many people that way who are not familiar with internet spam, but the "Hormel spam" is not very well known over here. I guess the definition of spam as unsolicited bul

        • by ePhil_One (634771)
          Of course you would meet many people that way who are not familiar with internet spam, but the "Hormel spam" is not very well known over here.

          Which is surprising, since the name came from a Monty Python sketch that was itself an homage to the English love of the canned meat product, developed during WWII and after when it was the only reliable and healty way to ship meat to the Europeans.

          Unfortunatly, almost all canned meat became known as "Spam" to GI's, even if it was awful war profiteering product tha

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        True, but I honestly had never heard of a canned meat named spam until a year and a half ago when I decide to find out where the name of SPAM (unsollicited e-mail) came from. Most of the people I know who never used the net, didn't know what SPAM was period.
        • by kimvette (919543)
          You have a lower user number than I, and you have never heard of Spam? WTF kind of slashdotter are you? Have you not watched Monty Python, per /. requirements? You have obviously failed to memorize the Spam skit.

          I believe I speak for all present here when I declare that it is time for you to turn in your geek card. Sorry, no more slashdot for you.

          Seriously though, given the frequent Monty Python references here indicating its vast popularity, I'm surprised there are folks here who haven't heard of Hormel Sp
    • by Skreems (598317)
      That did strike me as a bit odd. It's sort of cherry picking your sample to do an internet search. Of course most web sites are going to use the junk email definition. A better question is, of the large number of people who don't have an internet connection, or even own a computer, how many would use the old definition and how many the new? Get away from the specialized audience and I bet your answer changes significantly.
    • Christopher Walken for President 2008 is the first campaign website for a search on 2008 us president, so I think the selection by Google is a great idea. Instead of the State of Union address, he could do a dance, and we could FINALLY out crazy eyes North Korea's leader.
    • Well, maybe whether "to google" is a word...
    • In fairness, I've increased the sample to include results from Altavista which of course the judge should have done.
      http://www.altavista.com/web/results?itag=ody&q=sp am&kgs=1&kls=0 [altavista.com]

      2 of the top 3 results that weren't paid advertisments were for the meat. Seems the judge opened a can of worms, err spam.

      Yes I know my sample is silly, that's the point.
  • Number One (Score:5, Informative)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <.ten.enilnotpo. .ta. .rehtorgw.> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:08AM (#16408679) Journal
    The European Office of Trade Marks and Designs, noting that the vast majority of the hits yielded by a Google search for the word made no reference to the food...

    SPAM search [google.com]

    And what is the first item listed, you ask? Why WWW.SPAM.COM - From Hormel Foods Corporation. Includes history, fan club, and facts. [spam.com] I'm pretty sure Hormel has had to fork over a lot of money to keep them at the top of any search for SPAM, to keep the trademark from being wiped away.

    • Re:Number One (Score:5, Insightful)

      by k98sven (324383) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:15AM (#16408791) Journal
      Seems to me that would be a bad call for Hormel and the EU court, although I suspect the quote here has probably been taken out of context and given undue weight.

      Thing is, I see no reason at all for how a trademark could become genericized merely by becoming a common word for something completely different. (Python reference intended)

      The point, as I learned it, was that a trademark becomes generic when it becomes the generic term for that product. E.g. "Cola" is a generic term for a certain type of soft drink, but "Coca-Cola" is not.

      "Yo-yo" used to be a trademark for a specific kind of spinning toy, but they lost it when it became the generic term for that kind of toy.

      "Windows" is a generic term to begin with. But it wasn't (and still isn't) a generic term for operating system software.

      Now "Spam" is indeed threatened as a trademark, since people indeed are referring canned corned beef in general as "Spam". But I can't see any relevance in whether people use the same term to refer to unsolicited email or not. It's not like there is any risk the two 'products' would ever be confused.
      • Re:Number One (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:57AM (#16409445) Homepage
        That's not what they were after.

        Hormel already have the tradmark for spam the meat product. They wanted the trademark for spam as unsolicited email as well.. The EU courts said no, which seems reasonable to me - that meaning of spam is part of the common language.

        It's the same as Microsoft asking a court to give them the trademark to 'Windows' meaning 'pieces of glass in the side of a house'. They wouldn't get it either (well, maybe in a US court, but not in an independent one).
      • Now "Spam" is indeed threatened as a trademark, since people indeed are referring canned corned beef in general as "Spam". But I can't see any relevance in whether people use the same term to refer to unsolicited email or not. It's not like there is any risk the two 'products' would ever be confused.

        ... any publicity supposed to be good publicity? I suppose you could have your self a good little argument about that. Speaking for myself I only found out about Hormel and it's products in the first place whe

    • Seems to me that Hormel has an unquestioned trademark in the realm of canned ham. What they need to do is expand into the realm of unsolicted email such that only their brand of UCE can be referred to as spam. It's a longshot, sure. The other thing they could do is to solve the problem of unsolicited email thus removing spam from the marketplace. Don't ask me how they can solve that problem. If I knew, I'd be rich and popular.
  • by marmoset (3738) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:09AM (#16408691) Homepage Journal
    The next time someone bitches about Apple protecting their iPod trademark, I'm just going to forward them a link to this article.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oliverthered (187439)
      Their not trying to protect iPod their trying to to protect pod. Apple shouldn't have picked a common word to trademark in the first place.
      • by Buran (150348)
        Apple does not have a trademark on the word "Pod". Their going after anyone who has "pod" in the name of a product is unwarranted and unfair. A "pod" has long been a term for a container that contains something else -- dictionary.com includes "protective container" as a definition.

        Yet Apple went after (and forced a name change of) a product that was just a laptop slipcase that protected the enclosed laptop from damage -- even though the name was just the dictionary definition of the item's function!
    • by Banner (17158)
      I have to wonder how much of this Hormel really wants to do (going to court and all that) and how much they just think they're obligied to do by the law to protect their trademark in other areas. They had to know going in to this that they didn't have a chance of winning it.

      So I have to suspect that they were only there out of fear of what might happen to their brand name in other legal area's if they didn't at least try.
  • by revery (456516) <charles.cac2@net> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:11AM (#16408727) Homepage
    the most evident meaning of the term SPAM for the consumers ... will certainly be unsolicited, usually commercial e-mail, rather than a designation for canned spicy ham.

    I just want to know how to order breakfast correctly. The last time I asked for Spam spam spam spam spam spam ham eggs spam spam spam bacon and spam, I got 6 advertisements for Viagra and Cialis, 3 pleas for extraditing Nigerian capital, an offer to augment my anatomy and blueberry pancakes served with Raspberry syrup and 2 raw quail eggs.

    Please help!!

    Sincerely,

    A Sad Spam Solicitor
  • This leads to the question of whether a company should continue to be allowed to claim a trademark word that everyone on the planet uses for something entirely unrelated to that company or its product.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      I suspect Xerox(tm) and Kleenex(tm) would have something to say about it. For more information, try this little piece from Media Literacy Review [uoregon.edu]

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      This leads to the question of whether a company should continue to be allowed to claim a trademark word that everyone on the planet uses for something entirely unrelated to that company or its product.

      Absolutely. In the field of business in which they operate and no other. That is well established.

      Microsoft can't ask glaziers to stop advertising the service of installing new glass in your Windows(tm), or stop someone from selling fishing .NET(tm)s

      You're still allowed to play Dodge(tm) ball, or to Ford(tm)

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:12AM (#16408745) Homepage
    "Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, 'Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?'"

    These would be the same people that will ask why makers of glass-that-fits-into-buildings-to-allow-people-to- see-into-other-areas chose to name their product after Microsoft's Operating System?

    Get a grip, Hormel.
    • by El Torico (732160) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:33AM (#16409039)
      Here's another one, "Mercedes, that's an odd name. Why would anyone name their daughter after a car?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lazarian (906722)
      I kinda think that even though they lost the suit, it still might have inadvertantly been a way to promote Spam(TM). I cant remember the last time I've ever seen a commercial about it.

      It's odd that one of the company's most famous products never seems to get advertised on tv.

      (Obviously it'd be useless to get 180Solutions to help them promote it, although it'd be funny if they tried.)
    • Spam is a product name, not a general term for something almost every single person has in their home. It's MUCH more common to refer to windows as the glass thing than the software thing. The opposite is true for spam. When was the last time that the spiced meat product usage came up in one of your conversations? When was the last time that the unwanted email usage came up in conversation? I don't eat the spiced meat product, and I don't know anyone that does. Nearly everyone that has an email addre
      • If Hormel was smart, they'd see this as a product opportunity. Use the fact that people are always thinking of your product name. Have a weird ad campaign that associates the two in some funny way.

        They have billboards in Minnesota (where SPAM is manufactured and the SPAM museum is located) which are humerous in nature. Last trip through the god-forsaken state (I'm from Wisconsin), one of them made a reference to the "other" spam...
      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        Spam the meat really isn't bad.
        Hormel I am afraid is going to regret not fighting this sooner. They where pretty reasonable about their trademark and now they are getting nailed.
        Frankly I think this is a bad ruling. They just wanted to stop the commercial use of the the word Spam for junk email blockers and such. This seems reasonable to me.
        • You're confused about trademarks: they don't give you exclusive use of the word in all ares of life, only in a particular one. So since spicy ham in a can is unlike unwated email, they'd never be able to stop this usage anyway.

          It doesn't matter how reasonable their wish is. Trademarks just don't work like that.

          As an example of this overall idea, consider Apple vs. the Beatles company Apple, which had trademarked "Apple". Apple was OK using Apple to describe computers, as long as they didn't do music.
  • by BlabberMouth (672282) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:15AM (#16408785)
    that most people do not associate the term spam with the spicy canned meat? I think we are still far away from that actually occurring. They may have a point internationally. However, the term "spam" is still strongly associated with both unsolicited email and the ham product in most English speaking person's minds. That google has more hits for uncolicited email is irrelevant. Nevertheless, I do not think Hormel's mark has been diluted because this use is so completely different that has no real affect on its product.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by j00r0m4nc3r (959816)
      I thought trademarks were sort of industry-specific anyway. Like how there could be a cartoon called Thunderbirds, and a car called a Thunderbird. Maybe I just don't understand trademarks...
    • by MrMr (219533)
      is still strongly associated with both unsolicited email and the ham product in most English speaking person's minds
      But that would be about 10% of the population of the EU. For the 90% living outside Britain I would guess that only Monty Python fans will be aware that there is another meaning for the word spam besides unsollicitated bulk email.
    • by GroeFaZ (850443)
      I feel a little uneasy pointing out the bleedingly obvious, but the vast majority of the EU does not speak native English and does not live in England which, according to wiki, is the main consument of spam in the EU. Or do you think it's coincidence that Monty Python, being British, invented the spam sketch? What the online "community" thinks about spam is made evident by a simple google search, and the result here seems very relevant because spam got its new meaning there.
    • Maybe in the US Spam=Can of food. Here we use "Corned Beef", "Canned ham" or suchlike. I never heard in my whole life in the 2 EU country I lived and 6 different placed, that spam=canned food. Only until recently I was taught the other meaning....Here on slashdot.
    • by deinol (210478)
      However, the term "spam" is still strongly associated with both unsolicited email and the ham product in most English speaking person's minds.

      The point of Trademark is that they are for specific contexts. Like it wasn't a problem for Apple to sell computers and that other Apple company to sell Beatles records until Apple started selling music.

      So the judgement is reasonable in that they correctly ruled that a software package that claims to "prevent spam" is not going to make consumers think it will prevent
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:17AM (#16408817) Journal
    Based on the judge's comments from the article, the reason Hormel is being denied its claim of trademark dilution is that their trademark is diluted?
  • Ugh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Hormal Foods created this word in 1937. This would be like telling Xerox that their name can be used somewhere else. While Xerox may be commonly used for any copy machine, Xerox still owns the trademark and other companies cannot put Xerox on their product. The same goes for Kleenex, Coca-Cola (in fact coke invented the word cola, and only lost the trademark due to failing to defend it). This is a crappy ruling.
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      No it's like telling xerox that they can't stop someone creating a canned meat product called Xerox.

      Trade marks are specific to the trade in which they are used. Otherwise the double glazing salesmen wouldn't be able to sell me windows, and the mcdonalds fish and chip shop down the road would be in real trouble.

      Hormel do not product unsolicited commercial email (we hope). They definately weren't the first to do it, and the term is in the common language. They have no rights to a trademark for that use of
    • by ebcdic (39948)
      "This would be like telling Xerox that their name can be used somewhere else."

      Some day soon, human cloning will be possible. Unscrupulous companies will send round armies of cloned celebrities to try and sell you their products. People will call them xeroxes. Other companies will sell anti-xerox products that detect xeroxes as they come to your door (probably by consulting databases of known-cloned DNA) and hit them with hammers. Xerox will sue these companies, and lose, because no-one would confuse a c
    • I understand that "Aspirin" has become dilluted in the US; everywhere else, it is a trademark describing ASA made by Bayer.

      And, once upon a time, Xerox's name was used for another product: warez!

      Yes, it's true! What delicious irony! Get it? Copies? Ho-ho!

      Oh, wait, that was on ftp.xerox.com.... So, let's see.. is that trademark subversion, or not? *head exploding*
  • Well I guess the Coca-Cola Corp now know where they stand should they wish to persue a line in "other" products called coke....
    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      It's the other way around. The product sold in cans, called 'coke' was originally called coke because it had cocaine in it.

      So techinically, the Cocaine producers should be able to sue Coca-cola for stepping on their trademark 'coke'.

      Although I guess coal processors could sue both of them for using the same word that originally meant "solid carbonaceous residue derived from low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal"

  • since when did Spam become spicy? i've always been aware of its' tempting ham/chicken/various pork products goodness...and who can deny the succulent self juices that the log o' love is wallowing in? i'll never forget that summer when me and young becky atkins had our first taste of the forbidden half-ham/half-buffalo/half-emu pork product...the slimy, meat jello sliding down our chins in the summer sun... but i regress... spam is not spicy, unless you dress it up in something hot and sexy!
    • Spiced != spicy. (Spam = Spiced ham)

      Spices include other flavor additives including oregano, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and many many others.

      Spicy, on the other hand, implies something that is made with peppers having a non-zero Scoville [wikipedia.org] rating.
    • since when did Spam become spicy?

      Never. It's original name was "Spiced Ham," but the "spice" it refers to is salt.

  • Actually I think that this is inline with trademark law. Hormel did not act on the use of the word SPAM by the online community until well after the new meaning had become well established. One has to protect trademarks or show significant effort to do so, or the trademark may become public domain. One can argue that "Coke" or "McDonalds" or even "Mickey Mouse" may have more meanings than denoted by trademark, but I believe that these companies have more vigorously protected their trademarks.

    Most telling

    • by camusflage (65105)
      What is unfortunate in this is that it punishes the company that "does the right thing", in allowing usage of the term to flourish as long as it was all lower case and in no way disparaged the fine products of the Hormel company. Now, they're at risk for losing their trademark for not "defending" it. This will simply encourage companies to go after Mike Rowe Soft, folks using keywords for PPC campaigns, and anything with the word "pod" in it. If you were Apple, and you saw this going down on Hormel, what wo
    • Most telling from Hormel's spam site [spam.com]

      We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE [Unsolicited Commercial Email), 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.

      Hormel has chosen not to fight this as agressively as perhaps they should

  • RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tygt (792974) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:30AM (#16408991)
    I haven't seen a properly relevant posting here yet. From TFA:
    "has lost a bid to claim the word as a trademark for unsolicited e-mails ... We do not object to use of this slang term to describe (unsolicited commercial e-mail)," the company said on its Web site, "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."
    They don't like the idea of anyone else having "spam" in a trademarked name; they were trying to assert trademark for unsolicited email (and thus be able to protect such a trademark). No doubt, they have a trademark for the (not-so) Spiced Ham, and the EU isn't questioning that. They just denied Spam's request for trademark over spam emails.
  • My New Software (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SafariShane (560870)
    I'm coding a gateway for bill payments. Once ubiquitous, someone we all know might be forced to change his name. I'm calling it, "Bills Gate".
  • I suggest that your product, no matter how you may percieve it has NEVER been a favorite. Why do you think that the term for unsolicited e-mail uses the "SPAM" name? BECAUSE NO ONE REALLY LIKES SPAM (both the canned meat product and the unsolicited e-mail) TO BEGIN WITH!!!! I would suggest that you consider renaming your product. Do some market studies and find out just how you can rethink things. Hell. Call Steve Jobs! He "thinks different", he could probably help you out of this scrape with insigni
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      "I suggest that your product, no matter how you may percieve it has NEVER been a favorite."

      eno2001, may I introduce you to the states of Alaska and Hawaii? AK and HI, this is eno2001.

      Just becuase you and six people you know don't like the stuff doesn't mean there aren't enough people out there that keep buying the stuff for it to continue to be quite profitable. Why would Hormel care about their trademark so much if their food product wasn't profitable enough to justify the expense of these legal actions?
    • Why do you think that the term for unsolicited e-mail uses the "SPAM" name? BECAUSE NO ONE REALLY LIKES SPAM (both the canned meat product and the unsolicited e-mail) TO BEGIN WITH!!!!

      BZZZT!!!!! And thank you for playing. Here's [sjgames.com] your lovely parting gift.

      UBE is known as "spam" because of the Monty Python sketch, wherein a group of vikings kept singing the phrase "Spam", until it drowned out all other conversation, much as junk email does with your (unfiltered) inbox.
      • by eno2001 (527078)
        Re-read what I wrote. Maybe you will gain a new appreciation for what it says if you THINK.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Banner (17158)
      I like Spam (the product not the email). Have you ever tried it? It's actually not bad. The term 'spam' for email has absolutely nothing to do with the taste of the product and whether or not people like it, (and from the number of sales and length of time on the market it is apparent that many people do like SPAM).

      It has to everything do with the Monty Python skit however. They're the ones (if anyone can be blamed) most responsible for the coining of the phrase. When I first heard the comment 'Spam Email'
  • Trademarks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by debrain (29228) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:39AM (#16409133) Journal
    Trademarks are a form of consumer protection. They allow you to buy Kellogg's Corn Flakes and get the product you are expecting, from the maker you presume to make it. The only real corporate protection is relatively incidental, being that it prevents competing and equivalent products from imitating the genuine article. So you have two purposes at work: consumer protection from confusion, and corporate protection from unfair competition arising from imitation.

    Does SPAM referring to "unsolicited email" confuse consumers, or misrepresent the corporate's product to unfairly compete? In this case the SPAM trademark applies to a canned meat product. The term is also in general use to refer to unsolicited email. They are separate industries, and consumers are unlikely to confuse unsolicited email with a canned meat product. Similarly, there are no concerns over unfair competition by imitation. Thus there is little harm to the consumer, nor a real concern to the corporation.

    Further, the SPAM trademark owners let the term become diluted over the years to the point where it is commonly accepted; had they intervened a decade ago, their arguments would have been stronger. They are likely statutorily obligated to actively protect their trademark rights. Even if not a statutory obligation, failing to protect their rights is prejudicial in the eyes of most courts.
    • by Todd Knarr (15451) *

      Actually Hormel has been pretty consistent in trying to enforce their trademark. They started back when spam was first becoming a popular term for unsolicited bulk e-mail. It's just that most of their efforts have failed on exactly your point: that the public's not likely to confuse e-mail with a processed meat product.

  • Whether or not the Spam brand name is being diluted, everything I see [hormel.com] says that sales of SPAM and other Hormel products are up, up, up. Surely name recognition has increased in the last five years, arguably because the word "spam" has become so commonplace.

    The Specialty Foods and All Other segments continued their strong performance from the first quarter and the Grocery Products segment reported impressive growth in microwave tray items, HORMEL bacon bits and the SPAM family of products....

    The All Other s
  • by Irvu (248207) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:44AM (#16409231)
    Hormel has made a point of suing many of the great defamers of their meat(ish) product. My personal favorite is when they sued Jim Henson for the character Spa'am leader of the Pig Pirates. The judge dismissed the case saying: "The American public can tell the difference between a puppet and a lunchmeat." (see Spam Bobbleheads [wikipedia.org], Spam Costumes [spamgift.com] and Spam Shorts [spamgift.com]. Spam Underwear has also been sold on occasion but I have yet to find any online.

    You can understand why the company puts in so much effort to protect the good name though. After all Spam (Scattered Parts of Anonymous Mammals) is important to many people. Both Hawaii and Alaska [flybynightclub.com] love Spam. As has been noted about Alaska:
    Spam® is like Alaska's only Congressman Don Young. Everyone makes fun of him, but he always wins by a landslide even though no one will ever admit voting for him. That's the story with Spam®. Nobody will admit eating it, but somebody is out there buying over 2,000 cans a day in Alaska.


    For more tasty info on the Simulated Pieces of Appalling Mutants see The Amazing and Fabulous Spam Site [modernsurf.com] which includes a 300 DPI Scan of SPAM [modernsurf.com]

    a href="

      It's funny to see how much effort the company puts into targeting the brand given that Spam is so important to
    • That's the story with Spam®. Nobody will admit eating it, but somebody is out there buying over 2,000 cans a day in Alaska.

      Darn! I knew I shouldn't have used my supermarket club card when buying all that SPAM®!!! Now they know it's me.
  • "SPAM" is junk meat. "Spam" or "spam" is junk email.
  • ...a lot less persons would know about their product.
  • You know, this whole issue might be avoided if Hormel were to have ventured into the IT industry years ago. They could have pioneered a junk email filtering service like Postini or Cloudmark.

    Then they could have successfully argued that they own the trademark "SPAM" in both industries (food and IT) and start protecting their trademark accordingly.

    And, who wouldn't buy Anti-Spam(R) from the people who invented SPAM(R) in the first place?
  • Usually, when people go to court over names, it's that someone tries to use the "good" name of a product to sell his own product. Or that someone wants to sell a product in a new area where another company holds the name rights. In general, though, both companies want a "good" name and people feeling "good" about the name, so they buy it.

    With Spam, it's reverse. Spam, in the meaning of junk email, is something nobody wants. It has a bad reputation and my guess is the fear that this bad name might bleed over
  • I exchenged email with Hormel about spam years ago. At that time they wee fine with it. As a matter of fact, they used to say on their website that is was ok, depending on the case.
  • There's no such thing as bad publicity. Hormel really needs to get smart and leverage the mindshare that spam has to sell some real SPAM. Yeah, nobody likes the email variety, but everyone knows the name now, so use it to sell some meat!

If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.

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