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A Case of Spam

Think you can develop a product to counter the spam explosion? (See Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam....) Then make sure you've got good legal advice in case you get a legal missive from Hormel Foods Corp., the producer of the tinned processed meat called, er, Spam.

Case in point: Spam Arrest LLC of Seattle. It received a legal communication from Hormel, challenging Spam Arrest's trademark on "its popular system to fight email spam."

The software firm explains on its Website: "Spam Arrest LLC filed two trademark applications in early 2002 for the term Spam Arrest. It was granted a trademark in international class 009 for 'computer software, namely, software designed to eliminate unsolicited commercial electronic mail.' This trademark was challenged last week by Hormel, which makes the canned meat product SPAM. A second application by Spam Arrest for a trademark in international class 042 for online computer services was challenged before it was granted."

Spam Arrest CEO Brian Cartmell doesn't seem too fussed, pointing out that Hormel actually says on its Website that it doesn't mind the term spam being used to describe unsolicited commercial email. In fact, he even managed a gag in a press release: "Hormel is acting like a corporate crybaby and ought to can it."

If you have strong views about spam, why not share them by taking Light Reading's poll on the topic?

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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