Unicorns, Crunchberries, and butt hole meat: the five dumbest food-related legal tiffs of all time
Here's a primer, if not: About a week ago, the Pork Board sent a cease and desist letter, via Denver's Faegre-Benson legal team, to ThinkGeek. The letter claimed the online gag shop had infringed on a trademark in marketing Canned Unicorn Meat. Apparently, ThinkGeek had the gall to use the phrase "The New White Meat" to sell meat from pretend animals that frolic around and "poop rainbows and marshmallows." The most baffling thing about the threatening letter, though, is that it pertains to a product that's not real. Canned Unicorn Meat was nothing more than an April Fools' Day joke, a fake item posted on the website for a few cheap laughs. So cease and desist what, exactly?
Everyone loves a lawsuit, and that one probably enters the top five dumbest food-related legal claims of all time. Rounding out that list:
Fruitless: In 2009, Janine Sugawara filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo, claiming she'd ignorantly eaten Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries for four years because she'd been aggressively led to believe the cereal contained real fruit. The case was dropped after a judge determined that a reasonable consumer would understand that the teal, purple and red nuggets depicted on the front of the box do not, in fact, come from some magical tree in nature--and that Sugawara should have realized at some point during the four years in which she consumed the cereal that she was eating starch. Like maybe the first time she opened the box.
The offending box
Tits and ass are trade secrets: In 2003, Hooters sued a similar sex-laden concept, Kers WingHouse Bar and Grill, for stealing trade secrets and, thus, profit. We're not talking onion rings, though. Hooters took issue with the Kers uniform: booty shorts and tight cleavage-enhancing shirts. Because no one else in the history of the world has ever come up with the groundbreaking concept of using tits and ass to sell stuff. A jury threw out the case on the grounds that the uniforms at Ker were functional.
The secret power of cleavage
But baby, this Bud's for you: Richard Harris just wanted a little lovin' from the ladies when he cracked open a beer made by Anheuser-Busch in 1991. He believed that the beer would increase his sex appeal and make hot chicks come out of nowhere, just like they did in the ads the brewer was running at the time. When he was sorely disappointed by the lack of willing women, he sued Anheuser-Busch for false advertising resulting in emotional damages. Forget the beer: This guy sounds like a total catch.
Don't be an anus: In 2007, Jack in the Box ran an ad that made fun of Carl's Jr. source of beef, with a clever little play on words exchanging "anus" for "Angus." Carl's Jr. wasn't amused, and the company sued Jack in the Box for misleading customers into thinking Carl's burgers came from a cow's butt hole. In the proceedings, the plaintiff provided survey evidence that proved about a third of the population thinks Angus beef comes from ass meat, research the burger-monger probably should have done before plastering the word "Angus" all over its marketing.The justice system, thankfully, sided with Jack in the Box, displaying faith that American consumers are not, on the whole, so stupid they'd miss the dropped letter "g."
The butt hole burger