09 March 2009

Twisted Sister

The best thing about Chicago is Twisted Sister Bakery - a small bakery on Wells Street in Old Town. We have been going there every Saturday and Sunday for coffee and a treat. On cold days, they light a real fire in the brick fireplace, and we can sit at a table, enjoy our confections, and chat.

Early in our stay here we tried other bakeries, wanting to give all deserts an equal opportunity. We've given that up. Twisted Sister's corny lime cookies have turned Brad into an addict; he's disappointed almost to the point of depression every night after dinner when there is nothing but fruit to eat for desert. "What about a corny lime," he always asks, dejected when one does not appear. These thin little cookies are packed full of lime flavor, crunchy from the corn meal, and tart from the thin lime sugar glaze on top. According to the bakery's manager, they have quickly become one of their most popular items, along with the new key lime cupcake. I am going to have to learn how to make them. Brad, no doubt, is looking forward to taste testing each batch to see if what I make is as good as the corny limes at Twisted Sister. They also make the best carrot cake I have ever eaten out. In cupcake form, it's moist, well spiced, and does not include any silly things like raisins or coconut. Seriously, who would ruin a carrot cake with such crap?

But, life is not all corny limes and cupcakes for Twisted Sister Bakery. They will soon have to change the name of the bakery. Twisted Sister, the heavy metal band, has demanded that they stop using the name. Not that anyone would confuse an '80s hair band with a small bakery in Old Town Chicago. But, the band claims that the bakery is making money off of the Twisted Sister name. And, apparently, they're not gonna take it.

A plaintiff (the '80s hair band) in a trademark infringement case has the burden of proving that the defendant's (the bakery's) use of a mark (the Twisted Sister name) has created a likelihood of confusion about the origin of the defendant's goods or services. Again, I am not sure how anyone would think that the bakery is in any way associated or connected with a band that reached its peak in 1985, and is clutching on to a 20 year-old reputation by making Christmas albums. Or, how the image of aging sweaty drug shriveled men, still sporting mullets and sleeveless shirts, would in any way entice customers to try cakes, tarts, or cookies.

The bakery, even though they know the claim is totally baseless, has decided to change its name. They will spend thousands in re-branding only because they don't want to spend tens of thousands defending a ridiculous lawsuit.

The only one that benefits in any way from this situation is the band's lawyer. The band gets absolutely nothing. In fact, they lost money paying a lawyer to make up some reasons why they should sue the bakery, and then make some long-winded threats. Once again a lawyer proves that all of the jokes about lawyers being scum are indeed based in some truth.
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