FWD: Unilever hides info.RE: trademark
From: Bill Murray (billmurray2@hotmail.com)
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 17:04:45 EST

Non-member submission from [vashishi@erols.com]

Here is an interesting article regarding a couple of Trademark battles
(today Oct 29 Scotland on Sunday). Talks about the Exxon/Kelloggs' Tony the
tiger case and the Unilever/Bestfoods Skippy case.

The Bestfoods memoes regarding the Skippy trademark penned by Bestfoods
lawyers that are in the possession of the SEC discuss the PTO finding
AGAINST Rosefield (bought by Bestfoods) and FOR Ms. Tibbetts company Skippy
Inc. The memoes also explicitly agree to omit mention of it in papers
related to Bestfoods buying Rosefield so that Bestfoods can deny knowledge
of the Skippy issue later.

Soon we will most likely see the damning Bestfoods memoes themselves up on
the internet.

Unilever is withholding information regarding Skippy, the SEC investigation,
the memoes etc. from not only their stockholders but their bond financiers.
Information provably in their hands PRIOR to the Oct. 2, 2000 stockholders
meeting from numerous sources. (and information provably in the hands of the
PTO's own Anne Chasser)

Valerie Darbe (vashishi@erols.com)

Grrrreat debate: Tony the Tiger takes time out from selling
cereal to find himself at the centre of an increasingly
antagonistic corporate cat-fight.
                 By Jim Cruickshank in New York
Sunday, 29th October 2000
Scotland on Sunday

Claws out as courts try to frame ponder the law of the jungle

CARTOON characters are fun for kids but on Wall Street they
take them very seriously, especially when a 68-year-old
grandmother is preparing to fight a $20bn global corporation
in a record breaking dispute over one kids' favourite.

And in another case Tony the Tiger, famous for his saying
"They're grrrreat ... ", is up against the mighty Exxon Mobile
oil giant who has been using the punchy tiger to sell petrol
without his owner's consent.

When Unilever shareholders met on October 2 to approve the
$20.3bn acquisition of Bestfoods, few were aware of a
nagging dispute over one of the American company's
best-known products, Skippy peanut butter.

Joan Crosby Tibbetts, 68, has been in and out of court
for the past 20 years trying to prove that Bestfoods stole the
name of a famous Depression-era cartoon character created by
her father, Percy Crosby. If she wins the case which kicks
off at the end of this year the jury award will be the
biggest ever in a trademark dispute.

Bestfoods claims the case was settled in 1986 when a
judge ruled that it had the exclusive right to use the name
Skippy on food products. But a judge gave her a small victory
last month and has allowed Tibbetts to publish on the internet
claims that Bestfoods pirated the name from her father.

Percy Crosby's cartoon boy was the Charlie Brown of
his day and he made a fortune. But he became increasingly
cranky and paranoid. He lost most of his money, his marriage
broke up and he tried to commit suicide before he died in
1964. Joan, his daughter, is now trying to re-establish ownership
of the Skippy trademark and rebuild the fortune.

She won her recent fight against Bestfoods' attempt to
purge her website where she has repeated her claims that the
trademark was stolen in 1933 by Rosefield Packing,
which was later bought by Bestfoods.

Yesterday Tibetts said this was now Unilever's

"The origins of this go back to the final decision
that the US Patent and Trade Mark Office decided in favour of
Skippy Inc founded by my father which absolutely prohibited the
registration of the Skippy corporate trade name as a
federal trade mark for peanut butter," she said. "The damages
are incalculable."

Unilever said that if she goes ahead with a claim they
will fight it in court. In the other cartoon case Exxon Mobil
lost a Supreme Court bid to end a legal skirmish with
Kellogg's corn flakes over its use of Tony the Tiger. This month a
court turned away an appeal by the Texas oil giant, which
argued it could use Tony because it has been using a tiger for
years to sell products.

Kellogg's claimed Exxon's tiger looks too much like
Tony the Tiger, the cartoon character that's been hawking
Kellogg's Frosties since 1952. Exxon introduced its cartoon
tiger in 1964 as the star of its 'Put a Tiger in Your Tank' ad

Exxon said the cereal maker had no right to complain
after "more than 30 years of peaceful coexistence of the two

In an earlier ruling a judge in Memphis, dismissed the
lawsuit, agreeing that Kellogg had been remiss "in failing to
assert its rights" for more than 30 years.

But Kellogg's said that Exxon stopped using its
cartoon tiger in the 1980s. When it was resurrected in the 1990s,
Exxon's tiger was not just promoting gasoline, but also food
and beverages at the company's new Tiger Mart stores.

Kellogg's said the new uses of Exxon's tiger caused
consumer confusion and diluted its trademark. Its lawsuit seeks
to prohibit Exxon from using its tiger in connection with
sales other than gasoline.

"Tony the Tiger is not only famous in the cereal
market, but his fame and recognition permeate the entire food
category,Kellogg's attorneys said in a statement.

By Jim Cruickshank in New York
Sunday, 29th October 2000
Scotland on Sunday


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