Pork Board takes bite out of Unicorn Meat spoof

unicornmeat.jpg The National Pork Board has threatened ThinkGeek with legal action over its Canned Unicorn Meat spoof product.
You have been marketing a product called "Radiant Farms Canned Unicorn Meat" using the slogan "Unicorn - the new white meat." ... National Pork Board is the owner of THE OTHER WHITE MEAT® in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and owns the following federal trademark registrations.
Excellent source of sparkles. The legal rationale in these situations is often that you can't let someone so much as whisper your trademark in vain lest it be genericized or otherwise diluted; thereby implying that the threat is empty, and just to demonstrate active defense of the mark should a 'real' case ever arise. But I'm sure someone got paid for writing that 12-page letter. OFFICIALLY OUR BEST-EVER CEASE AND DESIST [ThinkGeek via @laughingsuid]


  1. Dear God I want to work at the NPB. I want to be able to answer the phones going “national pork board, this is Osmo, how may I help you?”

  2. This C&D is made all the more amusing by the fact that the USDA officially classifies pork as “red meat.”

  3. I thought I heard on last Saturday’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me that the NPB was dropping “the other white meat” slogan because it was out of date.

  4. Maybe they just love unicorns and are trying to get us not to slaughter them? “Eat pork: So the unicorns can live (TM)” — there would be legions of 11yo girls taking down whole pounds of pork rinds.

    What’s next, the National Beef Council threatening to eliminate rainbows?

  5. Makes me wonder what kind of canned meat product the folks at ThinkGeek covered in sparkles to create the product shot. There would be some yummy irony if that was in fact a pork product sparkling there.

  6. Think Geek is part of a big company, and can defend themselves in case of a real litigation.

    Can you imagine how unfair these kind of harassments are for the little guy?

    We desperately need an anti-SLAPP law.

  7. This is actually probably THE best cease and desist letter on the interwebs! Ever.

    Too frickin’ funny!

    1. Maybe the best C&D letter.

      But the best response to a C&D letter is here:



      “Dear Monster Lawyers,

      Let me begin by stating, without equivocation, that I have no interest whatsoever in infringing upon any intellectual property belonging to Monster Cable. Indeed, the less my customers think my products resemble Monster’s, in form or in function, the better.”

  8. So “the new white meat” is an infringement on their “the other white meat” slogan? How close does one have to come to infringe?
    “the other green meat”
    “the other white brick”
    “the new green meat”
    “the other red brick”
    “the new chartreuse aardvark”

    How many words does it have to have in common? Or is it just sentence structure? The word “meat”?

    1. “The New Green Meat”

      I ate the eggs.
      I ate the ham.
      It wasn’t bad.
      It didn’t make me sad or glad.
      It didn’t make me mad or bad.
      It didn’t make me dance and sing.
      It didn’t make me anything.
      That made me sad–it wasn’t good!
      I wanted eggs and ham and meat
      that made me laugh, and want to eat!
      “Sam,” I said, “this ham’s like wood.
      These eggs are dull. This food
      will not do at all.”
      “Well,” Sam said, “I like green eggs
      and ham just fine. But we two cannot agree.
      I will not make you dine with me.”
      We shook. He left.
      I stood alone.
      I picked a bone
      out of my beard.
      I sat to think.
      I thought a lot.
      What did I like? What did I not?
      What looked and smelled good on a plate,
      but when I ate it, did I hate?
      Some other foods I liked looked bad,
      but when I ate them, made me glad.
      “It is about a taste,” I said,
      “that makes my tongue dance
      in my head. I also like
      a look that that’s neat,
      a look that says
      ‘this food’s a treat.'”
      I thought about food’s
      taste and look.
      I thought, “why, I should learn to cook!”
      If I learned to cook, I knew, I’d make
      food look and taste good, too.
      I could make food that tasted good,
      and look good too, like good food should.
      I got some books. I got some pans.
      I got some spoons. I got some cans.
      I talked to friends and family.
      I learned about food’s history.
      I learned about my Uncle Ned
      who only eats food that is red.
      Other friends from near and far
      told me of food where they are.
      They told of food they liked and hated.
      They told of food they celebrated.
      They told of bread, they told of yams.
      They even told of eggs and hams.
      Feeling good, I started cooking.
      But the first meal I did cook
      did not look just like the book.
      Just like Sam’s eggs, it was green.
      Just like Sam’s ham, it was lean.
      “Well,” I said, “this food is new.
      No one has tried this new meat.
      Perhaps it is a tasty treat.”
      I closed my eyes.
      I ate the meat.
      It was not a tasty treat.
      It tasted bad. It made me sad.
      It made me sadder yet to see
      the new green meat waiting for me.
      I’d cooked a lot more than I thought.
      I’d filled every plate and pot.
      I’d filled the kitchen, filled the house.
      I tried to feed some to my mouse.
      He would not eat it. I called Sam.
      “Sam,” I said, “I cooked some meat.
      Will you eat this tasty treat?”
      Sam ate bad eggs, and ham like wood.
      Perhaps he’d think this meat was good!
      He came and ate. He chewed and chewed.
      “This isn’t good or tasty food,” Sam said.
      “But I read about a place
      where no bad food goes to waste.”
      Sam told me about the place.
      We called them up. They bought a lot.
      The only thing that I forgot
      was sparkles, so they put them in.
      Then they put it in a tin.
      They said they’d sell it by the ton
      as a joke, to have some fun.
      They wouldn’t sell it here or there.
      They wouldn’t sell it anywhere.
      No one would eat it. I was glad.
      But unsold meat made someone sad.
      “New Green Meat is ours to say!
      You can’t say it any way!
      Since you did, you’ll have to pay.”
      They saw meat where there was none.
      The joke was two times the fun.
      I hope the place ships them meat.
      They’re in for a tasty treat.

  9. This reminds me of the time Radio Shack sent a SLAPP to Hacker Shack becaue it was too much like their name.

  10. As a law clerk and law student I am almost always happy when there is more meaningless legal work to be billed to clients.

  11. From the “sales” page:

    “Not yet approved by the USDA or FDA, but the nuns have eaten it for centuries and they’re healthy as horses.”

    Brainspore had the awesome response with UNIcorned Beef!

  12. While the April 1 date should have been a clue, ThinkGeek could have been selling an Actual Joke Product, as opposed to just a Joke Product Announcement. Maybe an empty can with that label, or even a can of actual Spam Pork Product with the label, just in case you want to serve canned unicorn at your kid’s birthday party.

    But thanks for an article that has it’s own Unicorn Chaser!

  13. Unicorn meat is full of mercury anyway. At least, it looked like it in the first Harry Potter film.

  14. This is why businesses should stay the heck away from lawyers and law firms. News of this Cease & Desist letter is going viral ALL over the web… so thanks to that law firm, millions of people now think the Pork Board is run by complete dick-heads! Well done Faegre & Benson!
    Of course the SMART thing to have done would be to send an official-looking legal letter along the lines of:
    “We are writing to you in connection to the Thinkgeek.com product Canned Unicorn Meat… AWESOME!”
    This too would have gone viral, and given the Pork Board a few million brownie-points instead of scorn! Too bad law-firms aren’t able to actually HELP businesses…

  15. Gah! What is wrong with people? This was done in complete parody. The slogan is doing absolutely zero to harm the pork industry. You know what IS hurting the pork industry? Their stupid friggin lawsuit!

    How are they worried that a minor novelty such as canned “unicorn” is going to adversely affect the billion dollar pork industry?

  16. Um, I was just reading somewhere the other day that they were abandoning the slogan “the other white meat” for pork because it is over-used and not as relevant anymore. So now they’re threatening legal action over a joke that includes phrasing that is near, but not exactly like a slogan they say they don’t want to use anymore. I’m confused.

  17. It goes further than the idea that pork as white meat is irrelevant–as the pig farming report on This American Life (on Showtime) revealed, the pork industry is working on breeding the redness back into the pork, after they bred it out to make it the white meat in contention. The clip I’m linking doesn’t show that segment of the segment, but does show the audio man running out to puke from the alien nature of the pig birth he witnessed.

    This American Life: This Little Piggy Made Me Vomit

  18. “You have been marketing…” MARKETING?? Seriously, someone is not paying very well attention. How do you “market” a false ad for an imaginary product? I have seen no commercials, no ads on th billboards, no radio plugs…how exactly have you been “marketing”?!

    Wow. Just wow. You can’t even create a fake product for sheer shites & giggles without the government shoving something up yer ass about it. Sad. So sad.

    I say we should all create some spoof meat product images just to irritate them further.

  19. as the N P B is so free with legal threats , why not ask them to fund a national boycot of unicorn canned meats

Comments are closed.