My name is Bob Cinderella. I own Bob Cinderella’s Shoe Emporium down in Missou, just like my daddy owned it before me, and his daddy owned it before him. My friend Clyde McDonald owns the cafe down the street, McDonald’s Cafe, just like his daddy owned it before him, and his granddaddy before him. My neighbor across the way, Dick Ford, owns the Ford dealership — Ford’s Fords — even though he mostly sells Hyundais these days. And the mailman, Tim Nugent, plays in a honky-tonk band called Live Nugent Girls, which is a big hit with the college crowd up the road a ways.
Last week all of us got letters from some big city lawyer telling us to “cease and desist” our “flagrant infringement of trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights of named plaintiffs herein, etcetera etcetera etcetera.”
Turns out Disneyland claims I can’t use the name Cinderella if I own a store that sells slippers (even if I don’t stock any glass ones). McDonald’s says Clyde has to change the name of his cafe or they’ll make sure his kids can’t afford to go to college. Ford Motor Company doesn’t like that Dick Ford is “trading off their name” — even though it’s his name too, and he’s selling their cars for them. And some hippy rocker is threatening to sue my postman for “trade libel” because, according to him, there “can only be one” Nugent who plays a guitar and has long hair.
Like that’s some accomplishment no one else ever dreamed up, having long hair and playing the guitar.
Is it just me, or has the world gone crazy?
What does Disney care if there’s another Cinderella dancing off in the forest somewhere?
What does McDonald’s care about some small town cafe that was here 30 years before Ray Kroc even started his franchise?
What is Ford getting all high and mighty about after their stock was down so low they went begging after government money?
And what does some old crazy rocker care about, at all? If he needs money he can just go on television with Gary Busey. They can dance around naked for charity while some heavyset fella screams at Michael Jackson in the background.
Is this what the world has come to?
What do you think?
I am a commercial litigator and intellectual property lawyer in Orange County. Although my practice encompasses a wide variety of business disputes, I have a particular fondness for, and am prone to wax philosophical on, the subjects of copyright and trademark infringement in music, literature, art, and film.