California Milk Processors Board Threatens Suit Against PETA for "Got Pus?" Parody
The Associated Press, in a Dec. 12, 2007 article titled "Suit Threatened Over Got Milk? Parody," by Erica Werner, wrote:
"Milk processors are demanding that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] end a publicity campaign that asks 'Got pus? Milk does.'
PETA, which advocates a dairy-free diet, has plastered the slogan on T-shirts, mugs and other merchandise to draw attention to what it says are dangerous levels of somatic cells - pus - in much of the milk sold in this country. The pus gets there because of an udder infection called mastitis that can inflict cows raised for their milk, PETA says.
The California Milk Processor Board, which owns the Got Milk? trademark, has laughed off countless previous knockoffs, from Got Fleas? to Got Freud? The board even has welcomed some as boosting publicity for milk.
But the board contends there is no truth to the pus claims and that PETA is violating the campaign's trademark...
PETA's lawyers planned to reply in a letter Thursday that would dismiss the trademark infringement allegation as 'entirely without merit.'"
The New York Times reported in a Dec. 13, 2007 article by writer Kim Severson:
"Attorneys for the milk processors sent a letter to PETA in late November ordering them to stop selling items like mugs, mouse pads and barbecue aprons with the slogan 'Got Pus? Milk does.' At issue wasn’t whether milk contains pus...but that PETA was profiting off of a federally registered trademark.
The letter demands that by Dec. 15, PETA ship all the Got Pus gear to the milk processors and provide an accounting of how much money the group made from the campaign. The end game, presumably, is that the processors will demand the profits and, possibly, sue.
PETA has issued a statement today. In it, PETA vows to continue the campaign...
Steve James, executive director of the California Milk Processor Board, said his organization doesn’t have a legal right to stop non-milk related plays on the slogan, like Got Game. But he argues that it does have the right to go after groups profiting off the slogan if it relates to milk.