February 5, 2007 | By corynne mcsherry

Pork Board Saves Own Bacon, Apologizes to Blogger for Trademark Misuse

The National Pork Board has apologized for threatening to sue "The Lactivist" blog for using the slogan "the other white milk." This is no joke, though the Board's legal theory was laughable.

After warning blogger Jennifer Laycock that using the slogan on a T-shirt infringed and diluted the Pork Board's trademark on "the other white meat", perhaps the Board expected the blogger to cave immediately. Instead, Laycock took her case to the court of public opinion, blogging about the letter and asking her readers to contact the Pork Board to complain about it. Laycock and her readers were particularly offended by the letter's implication that Laycock was an advocate of adult breastfeeding.

The Pork Board was hit with calls and emails. Doubtless realizing that an entity devoted to marketing a food product should not risk alienating mothers, the Pork Board promptly contacted Ms. Laycock to apologize.

Kudos to the Pork Board for realizing the error of its ways. But it's a shame that it didn't spend a little more time investigating before sending off an improper cease and desist letter. Like ABC, Inc., the Chicago Auto Show, and Landmark Education among others, the Pork Board decided to shoot first and ask questions later. Laycock refused to be intimidated, but other bloggers and parodists may not have the knowledge or resources to fight back to defend non-infringing uses.


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