2
Feb/07

Is The US Government Spending $60 Million On A Pork Trademark?


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After I posted about the THE OTHER WHITE MEAT demand letter below, I was going to pose a question to the readership: what are the risks in sending dilution-based demand letters? In view of the rapid take-up of this story on the web, one answer seems to be: Don’t send a demand letter to a blogger if the subject matter is breasts, as they make for good copy.
However another issue, raised in one of the forums blasting the Pork Board, caught my eye. It seems that the US Government, through the National Pork Board, owns the PORK, THE OTHER WHITE MEAT trademark, and that they are paying $3 million a year for twenty years, to the private pork trade group, which apparently developed the mark.
The National Pork Board appears to be funded by a ‘pork check-off,’ a payment made by pork producers. Which raises more questions:
Is paying $60 million for the trademark a method of refunding the pork check-off to the pork producers?
Who pays for the PORK, THE OTHER WHITE MEAT ad campaign?
Who pays for the demand letter sent to the breast-feeding website?
The slogan “THE OTHER WHITE MEAT” seems, on its face, not to merely encourage an increase in consumption, as the GOT MILK? campaign does. It seems to encourage substitution of pork for other forms of white meat protein, presumably chicken and turkey. Assuming that pork, when eaten in moderation, is as healthful as chicken and turkey (and that might not be a reasonable assumption), should a government agency levy producer taxes to promote product substitution (as opposed to merely promote increased per capita consumption).
I’m not familiar with the use of trademarks for ‘check-off’ programs so more information, resources, views, will be appreciated.

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