The Miss Piggy item has become the most linked-to and viewed Trademark Blog item ever. Sex sells, even if made of terry cloth.
Discussion continues around the blog world, such as this post from CalBlog, which argues that the Cat Is Not In The Hat case was wrongly decided. Although CalBlog takes issue with the legal test itself, namely determining whether defendant’s parody (lawfully) comments on plaintiff’s work, or merely appropriates plaintiff’s style in order to comment about a third party subject, CalBlog also argues in effect that in that case, the finding was wrong. Can it be argued that while certainly The Cat Is Not In The Hat commented about the OJ case, doesn’t the work comment on the limitations of a Dr. Suess worldview as well? When ‘juvenile’ style is juxtaposed with an adult topic, do style and subject comment on each other?
Also, the next time you see a Weird Al Yankovic parody, you’ll notice that not only do his (licensed) parodies comment upon the primary work referred to, but also about an unlimited number of his other obsessions, including himself, the Amish, and food.
For further discussion of the parody defense in a trademark context, see Timbers and Huston, “The ‘Artistic Relevance Test’ Just Became Relevant: The Increasing Strength of the First Amendment as a Defense to Trademark Infringement and Dilution,’ 93 The Trademark Reporter 1278 (Nov-Dec 2003).