Tag Archives: Coca Cola

Making a trademark claim memorable and fun

Usually when I write about intellectual property, it concerns technology and/or science disputes but this particular response to an alleged trademark violation amuses me greatly, swipes at a few Canadian stereotypes, and could act as a model for anyone who wants to lodge such protests. Before getting to the video, here are some details bout the dispute from a July 13, 2017 posting by Mike Masnick for Techdirt,

… — a few years ago, there was a virally popular rap song and video, by Brendan “B.Rich” Richmond, called Out for a Rip, spoofing Canadian culture/stereotypes. It got over 12 million views, and has become a bit of an anthem.

So, yeah. Coca Cola is using the phrase “out for a rip” on its Coke bottles and Richmond and his lawyer Kittredge decided the best way to respond was to write a song calling out Coca Cola on this and then recording a whole video. At the end of the video there’s an actual letter (part of which is dictated in the song itself) which is also pretty damn amusing:

Dear Coke,

I represent Brendan (B.Rich) Richmond (a.k.a. Friggin’ Buddy). You jacked his catchphrase, but you already know that.

Buddy owns the registered trademark “OUT FOR A RIP” in Canada (TMA934277). The music video for buddy’s original composition “OUT FOR A RIP” has been viewed more than 12 million times. Canadians associate the phrase “OUT FOR A RIP” with him.

Personally, I’m pretty psyched about this once-in-a-career opportunity to send a demand letter in the form of a rap video. Nonetheless, unlicensed use of OUT FOR A RIP violates my client’s rights. From what I understand, you guys do fairly well for yourselves – at least in comparison to most other multinational corporations, the GDP of most countries, or, say, the average musician, right? No room in your budget to clear IP rights?

Contact me no later than August 1, 2017 to discuss settlement of this matter. If you do not wish to discuss settlement, we require that you immediately cease using the OUT FOR A RIP mark, recall all OUT FOR A RIP bottles, and take immediate steps to preserve all relevant evidence in anticipation of possible litigation.

Rob Kittredege


Here’s the ‘cease and desist’ video,


Nano and food: don’t ask, don’t tell

Michael Berger’s Nanowerk Spotlight Feb. 2,2012 articleWhat’s happening with nanofoods?‘ answers a question I’ve been asking myself lately. As he points out (I have removed the links, please visit Berger’s article to pursue them),

Back in the early 2000’s, food nanotechnology seemed to be a very hot topic and large industrial food companies were eager to explore new opportunities offered by nanotechnology applications. Then, as critical voices from NGOs (see for instance FoE’s report: “Out of the laboratory and on to our plates: Nanotechnology in food and agriculture”) and regulators (UK House of Lords report: “Nanotechnologies and Food”) appeared, the food industry went into silent mode (see our Nanowerk Spotlight: “Food nanotechnology – how the industry is blowing it”). But that doesn’t mean that food nanotechnologies aren’t being researched and developed in labs around the world.

He goes on to describe the state of nanofood research on an application by application basis (culled from an article inTrends in Food Science & TechnologyFood applications of nanotechnologies: An overview of opportunities and challenges for developing countries” [behind a paywall]). Here’s my excerpt from Berger’s article,

Application Status
Processed nanostructured or -textured food (e.g. less use of fat and emulsifiers, better taste) A number of nanostructured food ingredients and additives understood to be in the R&D pipeline; eg. mayonnaise
Nanocarrier systems for delivery of nutrients and supplements in the form of liposomes or biopolymer-based nanoencapsulated substances A number are commercially available in some countries and over the internet
Organic nanosized additives for food, supplements and animal feed Materials range from colors, preservatives, flavorings to supplements and antimicrobials
Inorganic nanosized additives for food, health food, and animal feed A range of inorganic additives (silver, iron, silica, titanium dioxide, selenium, platinum, calcium, magnesium) is available for supplements, nutraceuticals, and food and feed applications

Berger goes on to enumerate more applications and extends the discussion into the area of public perceptions, industry fears of another ‘Frankenfoods/GM” panic, and corporate social responsibility.

On reading Berger’s article, I was reminded of my Oct. 11, 2011 posting abut a Coca Cola executive’s response to criticisms of corporate secrecy regarding nanofood research and applications from the UK’s House of Lords,

Lord Krebs, chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, scolded the sector over its “reluctance to put its head above the parapet and declare openly what kind of research was going on to develop nanotechnology in food”. The report [Nanotechnologies and Food: Science and Technology Committee Report] backed the introduction of a public register on the nano-research to assuage consumer anxiety.

But Dr Knowles [Dr. Mike Knowles, global scientific and regulatory affairs vice president for Coca-Cola] rejected the criticisms and said it was a failure of the committee to grasp basic commercial realities.

I’m pretty sure that Lord Krebs wasn’t suggesting that food and beverage companies reveal industrial secrets giving away competitive advantages but that they should let the public know what’s cooking in their labs. For anyone who’s interested in the current state of nanofood research, Berger’s recent Spotlight is an excellent place to start.