Legal News

Texas’ Littering Slogan not to be Messed With: They Sue Infringers
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Intellectual property rights get messy when something as repeatable as a catch phrase, slogan, or proverb goes from being intellectual property to common property. This was the case of the anti-littering slogan, “Don’t mess with Texas,” which was coined in 1985 by Tim McClure when his advertising agency was hired by the state’s Transportation Department. The phrase nevertheless had resonance with Texan sense of swagger and braggadocio, and has been quoted far beyond an admonishment not to litter on the highways. For instance, George W. Bush used the phrase in his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president in 2000.

Federal Law grants politicians the right to use trademarked phrases in their speeches. Other borrowers of the phrase have not been so lucky. The Texas transportation officials have issued 100 complaints since 2000, sharply demanding a cease-and desist order for those who would use their slogan without permission and licensing.

  
What
Where


For instance, last July a Montana company had to pull their “don’t Mess with Texas,” belt buckle when the Texas Department of Transportation threatened legal action, as the New York Times reported. The author of the romance, “Don’t mess with Texas,” also had trouble of her own, and after 9 months of legal scuffling, had to pay $2,500 and change the title to “Only in Texas.”

Even something as mundane and tedious as the state telling  you not to litter can strike a chord of resonance, and become a popular saying. But merely because a phrase becomes popular doesn’t mean the populace owns it, and if you persist, Texas will sue. Don’t mess with “Don’t mess with Texas.”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!






 

RELEVANT JOBS

Paralegal for Midtown Real Estate Firm

USA-NY-New York City

Responsibilities include: Handle all duties related to closing documents including: deeds, mem...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Abramson Labor Group, a firm that exclusively focuses on Labor & Employment Law, is currently seekin...

Apply now

Workers Compensation Attorney

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Abramson Labor Group, a firm that focuses on Labor & Employment Law, is currently seeking a Workers ...

Apply now

Criminal Law Contract Attorney

USA-CA-San Jose

LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD! Ideal opportunity for growing or supplementing your practice.  T...

Apply now

BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Personal Injury Litigator

USA-VA-Fairfax

Northern Virginia office of our client is seeking a personal injury litigator with 4+ years of stron...

Apply Now

Associate Attorney

USA-CA-Larkspur

Larkspur office of our client seeks an associate attorney with 4-6 years of experience/background pr...

Apply Now

Associate Attorney

USA-MI-Bloomfield Hills

Bloomfield Hills office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an associate attorney wit...

Apply Now

Most Popular

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top