The “Got Milk” ads are cute, and because milk is considered wholesome stuff, lots of big names are onboard to promote them.
But watch out, ’cause the “Got Milk” people are no less evil than any other major conglomeration.
In at least two cases of people printing “Got Breast milk?” on shirts, onesies, and such, the “Got Milk” people sent cease and desist letters, claiming trademark infringement.
The basic idea of trademark infringement is that it could cause confusion between two products (Ray Bans vs. Ray Bins). As if people are going to go to the store and buy breast milk because they’re confused about which kind of milk is the official “Got Milk” kind.
As one of the women receiving a letter said:
“How can you get confused between a boob and a bottle of milk from the store? They’re two different kind of jugs.”
IP law is funny stuff. AIUI, a demonstrable failure to vigorously defend IP rights at *any* point reduces the strength of those IP rights. IOW, if Coca Cola Co. can be shown to have known about, and failed to sue over, an unrelated company using the name “Coke Fuels”, it’s harder for them to win in the future against “Coke Menswear”, “Coke Water”, etc. FWIW, I don’t see much point in protecting “Got Milk”, but apparently they do.
You’re talking about a name, like Coke or Kleenex. I’m talking about a campaign, like “Got Milk” or “The pause that refreshes.”
Anyway, I bet they don’t go to court.
There are differences among the various kinds of IP (copyright, trademark, etc.), but AIUI the principle of diligent defense is common to them. I’m trying to think of another example from current commercials, but drawing a blank. Yay for .