Back in 1986, an ice cream lover named Jane Williamson wrote to the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Burlington, Vermont. The note read “We’re great fans of the Grateful Dead and we’re great fans of your ice cream. Why don’t you make a cherry flavor and call it Cherry Garcia? You know it will sell because Dead paraphernalia always sells. We are talking good business sense here, plus it will be a real hoot for the fans.”
Ben & Jerry’s thought this was a GREAT idea. And lo, they created a flavour called “Cherry Garcia.” And this was fine for years–until 2005 (years after Garcia died) when his estate used Ben & Jerry’s on the basis of trademark and copyright law. It was eventually settled.
Fast-forward to today. Post, the breakfast cereal manufacturer, really wants to continue using the name “OK Go” for a line of instant cereal cups so they’ve sued the band pre-emptively.
OK Go (the band) had been threatening to sue Post over the use of the name. Post wants a court to say that they’ve done nothing wrong, pointing to the fact that they received a trademark for the name in 2022. The US Patent and Trademark Office ruled that no one would confused OK Go (the band) with OK Go (the cereal).
Here’s a statement from OK Go (the band): “A big corporation chose to steal the name of our band to market disposable plastic cups of sugar to children. That was an unwelcome surprise, to say the least. But then they sue US about it? Presumably, the idea is that they can just bully us out of our own name, since they have so much more money to spend on lawyers? I guess that’s often how it works, but hopefully, we’ll be the exception.”
To confuse things just a bit more, OK Go (the band) had a gig with Post creating a series of promotional videos for Honey Bunches of Oats in 2011. This will be…odd.