This morning, I read this.
(If you don't want to go over and read Jennifer's blog, here's the gist:
A mom made some hand-lettered onsies that read "Got Breastmilk?" and sold them.
Now the California Milk Processing Board is all up on her case, declaring that
The phrases 'got breastmilk' and 'got milk?' are similar except for the addition of the word 'breast,'" the lawyers wrote. "This difference is not enough to eliminate the likelihood that consumers will be confused about the origin of the products."
I mean, really. How STUPID do they think that we are?!?
Show of hands -- Would you be confused between "milk" and "breastmilk?" Would you think that you could go into the grocery store and buy a gallon or two of breastmilk off the shelf? Would you be upset that you can't? Because, obviously, to the CMPB, milk and breastmilk are too close for simple little people like US to tell the difference.
And what's more, the thing that really is stupid, Stephen J. Byers, acting for the CMPB demand that Barbara Holmes, the craft-making mom in question, to avoid a lawsuit, must "cease all sales and marketing, and ship no later than this week, all the T-shirts, onesies and equipment used to make them, as well as an accounting of any profits, 'to avoid resorting to litigation.'"
Um, what? Her shirts are a parody. Has the CMPB hot ever heard of, say, the FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION?!? (Which protects parodies under the area of Free Speech, by the by.)
So, here's the letter that I have fired off to the Executive Director of the California Milk Processing Board:
I have just learned about California Milk Processing Board's case against Ms. Barbara Holmes.
I must say that I find it ludicrous that your company doubts the intelligence of the American public enough that your company feels that a citizen would be confused between cow's milk and breastmilk.
I hope that you and the California Milk Processing Board will soon realize that this is not an infringement issue. It is a simple parody.
(Unless, of course, the public suddenly demand that you sell cow's milk in the same cute containers that produce human breast milk. If that is the case, then this would be an infringement issue. But, until this is the case, I would then be concerned about the mental capacity of the American public. NOT about the similarities between the word "milk" and "breastmilk.")
Please understand that the American public is not quite so stupid and brainless as the California Milk Processing Board or lawyers thereof obviously believe them to be.
Thanks you for your time and consideration in this matter,
** Oh, imagine that, Mr. Jeff Manning's email isn't working.
**UPADTE: I called the office. Mr. Manning is no longer with the CMPB.
Emails regarding this can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. (And she sounded very nice. So be kind.)
Well, let's hope that there will be enough bad publicity that the CMPB will decide that it's more important for them to instruct the public about what IS and IS NOT "milk" that one can BUY in the STORES than ragging on some poor mom selling some crafts.
But if you want to make a phone call, go to Jennifer's blog. She has some contact information (and the link to the whole story on her site.)
Also funny -- On the comments for the original story, there's quite the discussion. So far 17 for Barbara Holmes, one against.
However, northwestclam brings up a good point:
I wonder if they're going after Barack Obama whose campaign has T-shirts that say -- "Got Hope."
They're not going to get much money out of the craft-mothers that are being targeted (there's another one from Oregon. She was sent a Cease and Desist order. Never heard back from them again.) ... But suing the big Presidential hopeful? There could be some money/notoriety in that.
And if it's just the on-retainer lawyers that CMPB has, just being (to be tactful) overzealous ... well, I think that CMPB should realize that one's employees represent the company. And a company going after work-at-home mothers? ... Well, it's just not the image that a company is really going after, is it?
(Unless your company is, perhaps, enjoying having the Dark Lord, Satan himself instated as CEO. I'm just sayin'.)
So, what do you all think? Would you really be confused in the difference between "milk" (cow's milk, that is) and "breastmilk" (being milk produced by humans ... for nursing small humans)?