Goats on the Roof
This is rich. The government grants a patent for goats grazing on a roof of a business operation. That he sues others is understandable; that he has the right to sue is inexcusable.
Scheck, Justin and Stu Woo. 2010. “Lars Johnson Has Goats on His Roof and a Stable of Lawyers to Prove It: Having Trademarked the Ungulate Look, Restaurateur Butts Heads With Imitators.” Wall Street Journal (17 September): p. A 1.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704285104575492650336813506.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5
“Lars Johnson is proud of his restaurant’s Swedish-meatball sandwich and pickled herring. But the signature offering at his Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant isn’t on the menu; it’s the goats grazing on the grass-covered roof.”
“Some patrons drive from afar to eat at the restaurant and see the goats that have been going up on Al Johnson’s roof since 1973. The restaurant 14 years ago trademarked the right to put goats on a roof to attract customers to a business.”
“So when a tourist spot 750 miles away decided to deploy a rooftop-caprine population, Mr. Johnson made a federal case of it. Last year, he discovered that Tiger Mountain Market in Rabun County, Ga., had been grazing goats on its grass roof since 2007. Putting goats on the roof wasn’t illegal. The violation, Al Johnson’s alleged in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, was that Tiger Mountain used the animals to woo business. The suit declared:
“Notwithstanding Al Johnson’s Restaurant’s prior, continuous and extensive use of the Goats on the Roof Trade Dress” — a type of trademark — “defendant Tiger Mountain Market opened a grocery store and gift shop in buildings with grass on the roofs and allows goats to climb on the roofs of its buildings.”
“Al Johnson’s is on constant lookout for other cloven-hooved intellectual-property violations.”