For our 15th anniversary of Pimp That Snack, we tidied up this page which records the legal dispute back when the site launched in 2006. We leave it here for posterity and as an inspiration to those who may find themselves bullied by humourless, soulless multinationals on spurious grounds. Don’t let yourself be intimidated.
Besides, we’ve long since outlasted any crappy TV-shows that happen to share a few words of common language.
For more info, check out Pimp That Snack on Wikipedia.
Update: 23rd May 2006
On the 17th May 2006 we received a letter from legal representatives of Viacom International Inc. advising us that they consider the use of ‘Pimp My Snack’ to be a breach of their trademark application number E4279493 which covers usage of the words ‘Pimp My’, and also E3992724 for ‘Pimp My Ride’.
For full context and openness, we have made their letter available here:
Our response – 23rd May 2006(PDF Format)
Update: 29th June 2006
We have today received an update from the lawyers of Viacom International Inc. It is available here:
It seems that despite the explicit citiation on this very page that the change of name in NO WAY constitutes any form of acceptance of their argument, they have actually written to tell me they they consider this to mean I have. Amazing.
Any further updates will appear as we get them.
While we are changing the name, this should not be taken as an admission of liability, trademark breach, or otherwise an acknowledgement of Viacom’s argument. Merely that, in order to run our Snack Pimping website unimpeded, and to explore and advance new ideas, we need to do so without the threat of legal action hanging over us.
After all, this site is just for fun, and we strongly believe that it is the concept, simplistic design and enthusiasm of thousands of fans that have helped us become popular, and not the conjunction of a few common words in our name.
Update: 10th November 2006
I believe it has become necessary to make public our problems in obtaining a trademark.
After all of the legal farce described below, we believed it necessary to apply for our own trademark for ‘Pimp That Snack’ to ensure that nobody would be able to threaten us with spurious legal action again. So, in May this year we applied for our own trademark, ‘Pimp That Snack’. I’m sure nobody reading would disagree that this is a unique phrase wholly derived from our website and is unconnected with anything other than us. Right? Well, the UK Patent Office don’t appear to agree.
They stated than ‘an objection’ had been made against our trademark, on the grounds that it was not sufficiently distinctive to warrant registration. Along with the letter (below) they provided several printouts from the web showing usage of the phrase ‘Pimp My’. This was confusing for me, because my trademark does not feature the phrase ‘Pimp My’, and so my response attempts to clarify what I am registering.
Our response – 30th October 2006 (PDF Format)
This was followed by a response (below) from the patent office that makes more arguments about how ‘Pimp My Snack’ is ineligible for registration and how ‘Pimp My’ is now generic.
This raises two very important questions:
1) If ‘Pimp My’ is so generic, why have Viacom so recently been allowed to register this term?
2) Why on earth are the Patent Office making arguments to us about the ‘trademarkability’ of the phrase ‘Pimp My Snack’ when we have made it more than clear we are registering the trademark ‘Pimp THAT Snack’ which is distinctive in its own right?
It appears, at least to me, that the ‘objection’ against our trademark has come from someone very concerned about the use of ‘Pimp My Snack’ and has cited arguments that include ‘Pimp My Ride’. I wonder who this could have possibly come from? Would anyone like to guess?
Response from Patent Office Page 1 – 9th November 2006
Response from Patent Office Page 2 – 9th November 2006
Our response – 22nd November 2006 (PDF Format)
Update: 24th January 2007
After two months of unexplained waiting, I finally received a letter to my second response to the Patent Office, regarding my ‘Pimp That Snack’ trademark.
Third letter from Patent Office Page 1 – 15th January 2007
Third letter from Patent Office Page 2 – 15th January 2007
This letter, which still fails to properly address any of my arguments made, also tells me that an objection was indeed raised by an unspecified party.
It looks as though I’m destined to attend a hearing to fight for the right to my trademark.
Final Update: March 2007
After attending a hearing, the opposition was overcome and the trademark was registered successfully.