Saving 'Spam:' Hormel's Fight to Protect Its Famous Product's Name

'One of Their Most Important Assets

Nonsense, said Spam Arrest's attorney Newman. "They think that consumers believe that Spam Arrest might identify a meat product as opposed to a spam elimination product. We think that argument is without merit."

Newman and others believe that Hormel is really just upset that junk-mail has become known to be spam.

"Certainly if Hormel could change the world, they would prefer that junk e-mail not be known as spam," says Northwestern University law professor Jim Speta. He says others may tell Hormel to take a deep breath, but the legal tussle has a point.

"From Hormel's perspective -- the seller of billions and billions of cans of Spam that earn them billions and billions of dollars -- this is defense of one of their most important assets," he adds. Moreover, trademark law requires the holder to defend the mark or lose it.

Still, Speta doesn't think much of Hormel's case alleging consumer confusion between a food product and a cyber tool.

"I don't think there is a substantial possibility of blurring at this late date, blurring what Spam the canned luncheon meat means to people."

At the Aloha Grill "Nightline" asked several customers if they were uncertain about which was which. Certainly Hormel's lawyers would be disappointed to learn that none was confused. After all, it's really quite simple.

One you eat. The other you delete.

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