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The Oatmeal sued for trademark infringement

Greeting Card by Matthew Inman
The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman is being sued again. From Wired (UK):

The comic teamed up with the company that owns the Papyrus chain of card and gift shops, Recycled Greetings, to sell paper greeting cards of his web comics via the The Oatmeal’s web store, along with other novelty items. But that caught the attention of Oatmeal Studios, a Massachusetts greeting card company that says it’s been selling greeting cards under that name for 35 years. Oatmeal Studios sued Inman and Recycled Greetings, claiming a trademark on the phrase “Oatmeal Studios.” In a complaint filed in Boston federal court on 21 November, Oatmeal Studios says that Inman’s use of The Oatmeal is too similar, and likely to confuse consumers, who may believe the businesses are related.

The suit has only one count – trademark infringement – and doesn’t include any specific damage demand. Neither Inman nor officials at Oatmeal Studios immediately responded to requests for comment.

I think Oatmeal Studios has a legitimate concern. As long as Oatmeal Studios avoids hiring an a-hole attorney, I suspect this will be resolved amiably.

You can see his cards over on his site.

Community Comments

#1 noah
November/21/2012
@ 10:05 am

I feel like this could have been resolved with a phone call or email… or just go straight to subpoena, that worked out so well for 9gag

#2 Naus
November/21/2012
@ 10:32 am

Just silly!
two diffrent names that share one untrademarkable word.

#3 Stephen Beals
November/21/2012
@ 11:07 am

Maybe The Oatmeal’s greeting card line could be called something completely different, like Carnation Instant Breakfast.

#4 Steve Skelton
November/21/2012
@ 12:04 pm

I had something good for breakfast today….but I’m afraid to say what.

#5 Mike Cope
November/21/2012
@ 2:01 pm

My nephew is severely allergic to a trademark.

#6 birdie Birdashaw
November/22/2012
@ 9:44 pm

This is similar to when The Beatles sued Apple because their studio was called “Apple Studios” and Apple vowed not to get involved with music and then a generation later created iTunes and the iPod. That’s why Beatles music wasn’t available on iTunes for the longest time. There is a legitimate case here.

#7 Michael Jantze
November/24/2012
@ 6:36 pm

@Steve Skelton — Did you have it in your studio? That makes it worse.

I’ve had to deal with copyright and trademark infringement over the years (in my cases it was me bringing up the issue), but never had to resort to court or any filings. I’ll wait and see what the story is … most of these cases are a bit deeper than the legal papers can shed light on.

#8 Steve Skelton
November/24/2012
@ 7:51 pm

MIchael, I certainly you can get past this huge and unnecessary disruption in your life as soon as possible! I feel for you.

#9 Doug Bratton
November/25/2012
@ 6:23 am

If I were the owner of Oatmeal Studios, I’d offer to drop the suit in exchange for Matthew Inman giving me a free website overhaul. Have you seen oatmealstudios.com? Yikes…

#10 birdie Birdashaw
November/25/2012
@ 3:27 pm

@Doug, I don’t think their site is as much of an eyesore as theoatmeal.com is, if they replaced the Comic Sans and cleaned it up a bit it would look more professional.

#11 Doug Bratton
November/26/2012
@ 12:47 pm

@Birdie, interesting, I guess it’s a matter of taste. Oatmeal Studios’ website is easy enough to navigate, but the comic sans font plus bad color scheme plus choice of graphics really made the site look unprofessional to me. And that is a shame, because from looking at some of the cards they publish, their content seems strong.

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