Hormel Spoils Spam King Clothing Plans

Meat conglomerate Hormel has canned self-proclaimed spam king Scott Richter’s plans for a Spam King clothing line, sending the president of OptInRealBig.com a cease-and-desist letter saying it owns the rights to the name Spam.

Richter, who launched his Spam King clothing line in May, said he stopped selling the merchandise after receiving the cease and desist letter from Hormel.

According to Richter, the first batch of his retail clothing line “sold out in stores within three days.” Though he has abandoned selling the line at present, Richter said he might decide to pursue it in future. If so, he said he will fight Hormel “using the same approach Spam Arrest used.”

Spam Arrest, which provides software and services to eliminate spam, filed a legal brief on May 28 to end Hormel’s federal trademark action against it. Last year, Hormel filed a petition against Spam Arrest in an effort to cancel the Spam Arrest trademark registration and stop Spam Arrest’s use of the mark. (Richter has not been sued by Hormel, he said.)

“‘Spam’ has become generic for unsolicited commercial email (UCE). Our client’s use of it was in such a way that anyone would recognize that our client was describing UCE and not Hormel’s canned meat,” said Derek Newman, attorney for Spam Arrest.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, along with Microsoft, filed a lawsuit for a combined amount of $38 million in December 2003 against a New York-based spam ring allegedly led by Richter. The spam network allegedly sent more than 250 million junk emails daily.

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