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Latest Oatmeal Lawsuit Involves Greeting Cards

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Remember when we talked about the legal tussle between The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman and website FunnyJunk? Even though that has settled down, Inman now faces another lawsuit — this time for trademark infringement.

Oatmeal Studios is suing Inman and Papyrus-Recycled Greetings over a line of greeting cards that Inman has agreed to create and sell with the card company. Papyrus-Recycled Greetings is a part of American Greetings.

Oatmeal Studios, the lawsuit claims, has been using its name for 35 years and should The Oatmeal enter the same market now, consumers are likely to be confused as to whether there is a connection between the two.

A statement released by Oatmeal Studios stresses the motivation behind its lawsuit:

We are a small New England Greeting Card company, founded 35 years ago in Vermont by a woman who loved to design cards and her husband. Oatmeal was the name of their pet rabbit. Over the years they steadily built the business through hard work, and today we have over 2100 outlets nationally, including many small local stores as well as bigger chains.The Greeting Card industry is very competitive. We were alarmed to hear recently that one competitor, a large greeting card and gift company (and part of one of the world’s largest publicly traded Greeting Card companies), announced the introduction of a new line of cards, “The Oatmeal”, to be sold nationally to many of the same customers we serve. They clearly have infringed on the rights that our original founders worked so hard to create decades ago. So, we sent a cease and desist letter and filed a complaint to address this issue. This large company has known about Oatmeal Studios® and competed against us for years, and we are simply trying to protect our name and defend our rights.

Inman has not publicly on the lawsuit other than a tweet when news of the lawsuit first broke:

The Oatmeal tweet

What do you think of the lawsuit? Does Oatmeal Studios have a good case for trademark infringement?

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November 30th, 2012 at 2:30 pm