|PERCY CROSBY ESTATE|
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson
CPC v. SKIPPY, INC., JOAN TIBBETTS AND PINELAND PEANUTS
On January 29,1986 I received CPC's complaint one day after Skippy's federal trademark became incontestable and 2 weeks after assurance from the U.S. Attorney of assistance. CPC accused us of trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, the same action Skippy filed in 1980, but added my "tortious interference" with their "famous" Skippy mark. Like my father, I could find no attorney to defend us, nor would our licensee's attorney or the Justice Department help. CPC made a secret deal with our licensee to cut off our royalty income and got a preliminary injunction. My pro se protests were futile. I was unaware then that Congress in 1984 made trademark counterfeiting a federal crime, but could not believe that the government would turn a deaf ear and blind eye to CPC's predatory conduct. My husband and I filed a petition to cancel CPC's Skippy trademarks, and flew to New York to find counsel to re-open the Crosby estate. The U.S. Attorney there told us they would have jurisdiction once we filed. We returned to Virginia, unaware that CPC had filed a bogus default motion in our absence. We received the summons for a hearing within 2 days, and my husband was enraged at the "extortion", unable to sleep. The next day we met with a lawyer, who agreed to represent us, saying the case was "outrageous". Within minutes after returning home, Waldo Tibbetts collapsed with a massive coronary. I phoned the attorney the next morning, who told me CPC would not let him defend us because of a "conflict", which he denied. He promised to find us counsel, but never revealed that his new partner had defended CPC in the 1980 case.
I hired the attorney he referred to me, unaware of the serious conflict, who assured me he could convince CPC to dismiss the case and pay Skippy, Inc., in view of Waldo's critical condition. CPC refused to dismiss the case, and it went to trial (a half day), after which our attorney suddenly withdrew.
The decision in CPC's favor, finding Skippy and me guilty of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, and the "final order" permanently enjoining us from making public statements that CPC does not own the Skippy mark, was a shock. CPC v. Skippy, Inc. and Joan Tibbetts, 651 F. Supp. 62.
Many lawyers were incredulous at CPC's temerity in getting a "gag order" in violation of our First Amendment right of free speech and right of petition for redress. Scores of consumers boycotted Skippy peanut butter in protest, and I filed a complaint with the Justice Department at the assistant U.S. Attorney's request. Notably, CPC never advised its stockholders or the Securities & Exchange Commission of its alleged victories in the Skippy litigation, knowing full well that title to stolen property can not be conveyed.