Gene Weingarten says he heard from trademark lawyers after writing about Stetson’s demand that all future references to its name include the registered trademark symbol (Stetson®). He wrote on Sunday:
Okay. Done, and done.
Stetson® hats suck.
Sure, that’s nasty and very likely unfair, but I am feeling a little prickly. We journalists receive harrumphy corporate letters like yours from time to time, and they really annoy us.
Weingarten says in today’s chat that the lawyers pointed out to him that Stetson® isn’t expecting him to apologize, or to get newspapers to start printing little ® signs. “What they are doing is more complicated and dorkier than that.” Stetson will lose its trademark if it doesn’t seem to care whether people genericize its product.
The Post columnist continues in his chat:
My column trashing their product was probably the very best thing I could have done for them. Years from now they can show that they were so determined to protect their trademark that they sent a stupid letter to a satirist, leading with their chin, resulting in his writing “Stetson® hats suck!” Not once but twice. Three times, actually. Stetson® hats suck.