Monday, September 24, 2007

What would Jesus wear?

It's Kerusso day in the trademark blogosphere (blogomarble? blogopea? smallish, anyway), and here are my entries:
Because it holds out the prospect of a more even PR battle than the one between the Red Cross and Johnson & Johnson.

Because my daughter is right now wearing a very similar onesie with a happy bunny that says "I'm cute. I get it. Now put me down." (Side note: what does Apple think of this Happy Bunny product, the iPod bunny?) I think the "critique" argument is much more powerful here than it is for some of the other shirts; this Kerusso shirt is deliberately opposed to the irony and snark of the original. People like me have asked whether it is possible to parody the postmodern, parodic, ironic sensibility that produced The Simpsons and Happy Bunny; perhaps the answer is that these things can be parodied with sincerity.

Because it raises one of my favorite problems: use as a mark. Linguistically, the sentence on the shirt is a classic descriptive use. But add in the font and the size of "my space," and matters differ a bit.

Because I miss Reese's Peanut Butter cups, and because there's already been litigation over the fame of the trade dress, though matters are more favorable for Reese's here given the use of the font and the crinkle-edged block of brown that traditionally signals the presence of delicious chocolate and peanut butter candy.

Because Claire Bennet returns tonight!

Final note: the John Deere/John 3 T-shirt featured in Marty Schwimmer's post seems to have been removed from the Kerusso site already, perhaps at the behest of a John Deere lawyer. John Deere has been willing to litigate dilution before. Claiming religious freedom might not be enough to deter every trademark owner whose marks Kerusso borrows.

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