Friday 3 May 2024

Fun minor grudges

Grudges are bad. Better to move on. But it can be fun to keep a couple of really trivial ones, so you're not tempted to have other ones. 

For example, because of the rootkit fiasco of 2005, no Sony products in our household. 

It's a low-stakes grudge. Differences across major brands aren't huge; I forgo little by dropping one brand when considering the next TV or headset. 

I'm thinking of taking up a second one. 

A neighbourhood fish’n’chip shop, trading as Popeye’s for at least 30 years, has bowed to the legal threats of a fried chicken chain, forsaking its name.


It was not a brand known to Bill Cao and May Zhou, who have owned and operated Popeye’s Takeaways on North St in Feilding since 2008, until they were served with a cease and desist request from its lawyers in late April, claiming unauthorised use of a registered trademark.

The letter from AJ Park, which has been sighted by Manawatū Standard, expressed concern consumers would mistake the two businesses as being connected as they offered “identical” products and services.

It ordered the owners of Popeye’s Takeaways to stop using and displaying its name, which had been registered in New Zealand by its client in 2022, and to provide a written declaration they would never seek to register it themselves.

Failure to comply would lead to further action, such as seeking damages and even the shop’s profits.

Zhou and Cao were stunned. The shop had been Popeye’s when they bought it, and customers we spoke with recalled the name being around for at least a decade before that.

It was named after Popeye the Sailor, the spinach-munching comic strip character.

Feels like the kind of thing eminently suitable for a low-stakes grudge.  

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