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Courtroom Fun With Plywood, Chairs, Apples & Security Cameras Gone Wild!

November 13, 2012

Are you a cynical person who likes to think the worst of your fellow man? Of course not. You’re a kind, caring, loving person– that’s why you’re reading this blog…  : )

Be warned, however: reading this post might make you cynical. That’s because it’s time for another edition of… Loopy Lawsuits!

I do a cartoon illustration every month for Inside Counsel Magazine. It’s for a humor feature about unusual lawsuits. They send me brief summaries of four cases, I do a sketch for each, they pick the one they liked best.

The latest winner involves rap singer Flo Rida. He’s being sued by ADT Security Services for not paying the balance on a 27-camera home security system. Here’s the final:

cartoon illustration for legal magazine humor feature about strange lawsuits, suit involved rap singer Flo Rida who refused to pay for home security system, cartoon shows courtroom filled with security cameras watching everyone's movements

A South Dakota man was injured when a gust of wind blew sheets of plywood off a loading cart at a store. I saw a gavel-happy judge filling in for the wind. cartoon illustration for strange lawsuit involving windblown plywood that caused injury, judge slamming gavel causing panels of judge's bench to fly off and hit lawyer and witness, and ceiling to fall on jurors

Emeco Industries is suing Restoration Hardware for selling a knockoff version of
its Navy Chair, which Emeco first made for U.S. Navy warships and submarines in 1944. Restoration wasn’t shy about lifting the design: it called its version the Naval Chair. After Emeco filed suit, however, it decided on a new name: the Aluminum Standard Side Chair.

The navy and copyright infringement both suggested piracy. And it seemed only right to include Popeye on the all-sailor jury.

cartoon illustration for lawsuit involving trademark violation by company which manufactured Navy Chair virtually identical to another company's design, lawyer showing chair to pirate in witness box, judge at helm of ship's steering wheel, jurors dressed as sailors including Popeye

Apple, Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc., is suing a Polish grocer for using a.pl as part of its domain name, thereby infringing on Apple’s trademark name.

This one had me scratching my head for awhile. The .pl is perfectly legitimate because it’s the internet country code top-level domain for Poland. And Apple doesn’t use the letter ‘a’ as part of its brand– so where was the conflict?

Then it hit me: a.pl looks like some weird abbreviation for “apple”! If someone asked you to “pronounce” a.pl, what would you say? “Apple,” right? Seems like a stretch to say this amounts to copyright violation, but apparently there’s also a look-alike logo involved.

I saw a courtroom full of fruit bins, and a friendly neighborhood grocer using computer monitors to “label” same:

cartoon illustration about lawsuit involving Apple Computer and a Polish grocer's website domain name, grocer in witness box using computer screens as signs for his fruit bins, judge eating apples, jurors buried in fruit bins

And here’s the original sketch for the security system lawsuit:rough sketch for cartoon illustration for legal magazine humor feature about strange lawsuits, suit involved rap singer Flo Rida who refused to pay for home security system, cartoon shows courtroom filled with security cameras watching everyone's movements

But wait– there’s a bonus!

Last month’s winner involved ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s. The Vermont company sued Caballero Video over the latter’s “Ben & Cherry” porn film series, which included titles like Boston Cream Thighs and Peanut Butter D-Cups, which mimic the names of Ben & Jerry’s flavors. A federal judge has blocked Caballero from marketing the series, at least for now.

I had a vision of an unusual dairy-esque “starlet” in the witness box.

cartoon illustration for strange lawsuit magazine humor feature involving porn movie maker who based his porno film titles on Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor names, busty cow porn movie starlet on witness stand while judge, lawyer, and jury eat ice cream

What do you think? Do you have any security cameras watching your birdfeeder?
how about the freezer where you keep your high-fat super-premium ice cream?? I’d
never heard of a Navy Chair– had you? Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Darth Vader Passes Bar Exam, Witness Chokes Up

A Blog Named Sue: More Lawsuits

He Never Got To Shoot An Elephant In His Pajamas

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2012 10:00 PM

    I was so hoping for a bovine character to give a moo-ving eye-witness account, but certainly not to milk the situation. With crazy lawsuits, you’ll never run out of material. Enjoyable illustrations, Mark.

    • November 18, 2012 7:23 PM

      Lawyers don’t usually like to call cows, because they tend to get a little bossy on the witness stand– that’s what I heard, anyway… : P

      Thanks as always for your witticisms, Judy, and I really appreciate your not using “bull” to describe the contents of the post… : )

  2. November 14, 2012 1:28 PM

    The Ben and Jerry one just kills me!! I thought the porn names were hysterial:-) But that’s just my sense of humor. Once again Mark, you nail the humor of litigation in your illustrations. It almost gives suing each other meaning:-)

    • November 18, 2012 7:35 PM

      Ha! Must admit, I liked the porn titles myself. Somewhere there must be a list of films where the titles are the only redeeming feature. A very long list… : P

      Your idea that my illustrations could almost imbue lawsuits with a degree of meaning, made me roar with laughter and delight. Now there’s a fantastic notion that I could really get behind!!

      Thanks as always, Tracey, for your good-humored support! : )

  3. November 14, 2012 1:31 PM

    Haha! I enjoyed this post – these illustrations were very amusing! :)

    • November 18, 2012 7:28 PM

      Now that’s the kind of comment that makes me spring around the room like a gazelle!

      I’ll be in traction tomorrow morning, but it’s worth it– thanks, Lily! : )

  4. November 14, 2012 8:31 PM

    I agree that Apple’s lawsuit as far as the URL (a.pl) is ridiculous, but the offending logo in question DOES resemble Apple’s, and the strength of the lawsuit likely depends on that. Still, Apple already has a record with heavy-handed lawsuits, mainly on software/hardware patents. And I’m sure you’re familiar enough with their injunction against Apple Records; the label I think was created when Steve Jobs was an unknown kid. (Kinda surprised Michael Jackson, who outbid Paul McCartney on its sale, didn’t mop the floor with them.)

    • November 18, 2012 8:33 PM

      Yes, it does seem like Apple Computer takes a pretty aggressive approach toward protecting its trademark. I think I’ll ask for pumpkin or mincement pie at Thanksgiving, and steer clear of apple– just to be on the safe side… : P

      Many thanks for your insights, Jak! : )

      • November 18, 2012 11:30 PM

        We’ll be making apple, cherry, and pumpkin actually… but I really like mincemeat, myself. Still figuring that someday Cimmy and I will figure out how to make a fairly traditional one, as in, one that has actual meat in it.

  5. November 15, 2012 10:06 AM

    All very entertaining, Mark!
    “Boston Cream Thighs and Peanut Butter D-Cups.”

    I can appreciate the consternation on the part of Ben & Jerry’s. If it wasn’t so ‘tacky’ (being a porn plot) it would be hilarious. On the other hand, I can appreciate Caballero’s use of a well known brand to add sway to their, uh hum… product..!

    Your illustration is exceedingly clear and clever…. I love the witness; she has ‘allure’ written all over her.

    This month’s winner was probably my favourite. I have little knowledge of Flo Rida, however after doing a little googling investigation, it would seem he has been involved in more than one controversy…!

    • November 18, 2012 8:40 PM

      Many thanks, my dear Carolyn. Yes, who would have guessed there was a connection between porn and ice cream? I just know I’m going to be blushing furiously the next time I buy a half-gallon of mint chocolate chip. OK, make that four half-gallons… : P

      I don’t know if one can be a rap singer without being involved in controversy. It’s some kind of job requirement, I believe– like being an illustrator… : P

      Thanks as always for your witty support!

      • November 18, 2012 9:03 PM

        I hadn’t thought of it like that, Mark… You certainly do
        ‘have’ to get your ‘toes wet’ in controversy, so to speak…
        Just as well you’re a born diplomat…! ;)

      • November 19, 2012 8:31 AM

        Hmm… I’ve been called a born idiot, and a born troublemaker, but never a born diplomat. Yours is clearly the superior analysis, my dear Carolyn– thank you!! : )

  6. November 16, 2012 7:59 AM

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can’t type, laughing too hard. This is GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • November 18, 2012 8:58 PM

      What, what, what?? You’re totally outta control?? But this is delightful…! : )

      Genius?? Well, gee, I don’t know… That seems rather extravagant, a bit over the top, gee, uh… you know, after mature consideration, I think you’re absolutely right! Genius… yes, that’s just the word we’re looking for here… : P

      Thank you, my dear friend, for your uniquely outrageous and most sincerely appreciated support!!!! : )

  7. November 16, 2012 12:40 PM

    I don’t really understand why on Earth would someone want 27 cameras in their house ._. Just makes it seem so obvious that someone rich is living there, celebrity or not!

    All the ideas are brilliant and ever so unusual. The Apple case was very interesting to read, and made me laugh when I read the article when it mentioned how customers would be misled thinking that they would get an ipad but instead ended up with groceries. How people would be silly to think that I have no idea.

    As for the logo, Apple has been around for quite some time, so it depends on how long the company with the similar logo has been around for, which is most likely after Apple’s existence.

    I love the Ben & Jerry’s sketch. I would be the same and take more interest in the ice cream than continue with the case : p And you’re not alone in never hearing of a Navy Chair until now. Great stuff again, Mark : )

    • November 19, 2012 8:48 AM

      Thank you, my dear Fox! Say, you’re right: a lotta security cameras would advertise a person’s wealth. This helps explain the fact that I have no security cameras, just a little tin cup on a tree stump with a note that says, “Artist’s residence: all donations gratefully accepted.” : (

      It’s too bad the a.pl lawsuit is so obscure, because I think there’s a great comedy sketch in there somewhere: maybe a stream of people who come in looking for iPhones and iPads, and a fast-talking guy with a big mustache and a grocer’s apron persuades them to buy a cartload of squash instead. Hmm. That’s so funny, I forgot to laugh– I’m cancelling that show right now!!

      And now I’m going to sit in my Navy Chair and eat a big bowl of ice cream– thanks as always, Sabine, for your cheerful support! : )

  8. November 17, 2012 12:44 PM

    Hilarious! These lawsuits prove that real life is even stranger than fiction.

    I don’t have security cameras on my home or property. That said it would be unlikely that anyone could approach our home and not be detected. Our gate is close and locked from the inside at night and that means no vehicle can get to our home. It’s possible to reach us but I can’t imagine anyone climbing the fence, then hiking up the long and winding driveway past the outbuildings and reaching the house, without our 3 dogs announcing their arrival.

    I can’t eat the commercial ice cream you refer to as it contains additives that sicken me. In fact If I were to list what’s in commercial ice cream I think many fans would be sick to their stomachs. I eat only the real thing – homemade ice cream.

    And, no I had never heard of the Navy chair. However, when I looked for the design in Google image search I immediately recognized it. Navy chairs are everywhere!

    • November 19, 2012 8:58 AM

      Ha! Thanks, TT. You dun need no steenking security cameras– sounds like you’ve got all the “organic” protection you need! : )

      Of course, from now on I shall picture you sitting in a Navy Chair on the porch of a remote cabin, three hound dogs at your feet, cranking one of those homemade ice cream machines with one hand, and typing your latest blog post into your laptop (hooked up to two ‘D’ batteries) with the other. Are you smoking a corncob pipe? No, I can’t see it, scratch the pipe… : P

      Thanks as always for your wonderful support! : )

  9. November 18, 2012 2:48 PM

    Mark, I really enjoy Loopy Lawsuits! So entertaining and it’s fun to get to peek into the thought processes of Mr. Markie MacGiggles! They are all clever and imaginative as all get out! I think my favorite one is plywood blowing everywhere from the windy gavel! HA! And the navy chairs! That customer has way too much time and money on it’s hands! I wonder how Popeye voted! Ha! And there he is with his spinach! And I don’t blame Ben and Jerry’s for suing! Gads! That can’t be good for their image. Although they came up with the Sweaty Balls ice cream on their own! What were they thinking??? What an enjoyable read as usual Mr. M.:D

    • November 19, 2012 9:59 AM

      Careful! Always wear protective goggles when you peek into the thought processes of MacGiggles! Just a glimpse of such manic mayhem has been known to shatter a person’s psyche!! Of course, judging from your ultra-humorous posts, you’re pretty far gone already, so I suppose it’s OK… : P

      I can remember watching Popeye, “with his special guests The Three Stooges,” on Saturday mornings when I was a young ‘un. That probably helps explain how my cranium got completely fried. I didn’t eat much spinach, tho– I could never figure out how to get the can open… : (

      You’re right about B&J’s: they’ve been a bit risque with some of their flavors, which makes it a little slippery when they want to seize the moral high ground. One has to be pretty pure and innocent when it comes to occupying the moral high ground. In fact, I don’t see anyone else up here but you and me… : P

      Thanks as ever, Linda, for your wonderfully jolly support!! : )

      • November 19, 2012 11:31 AM

        LOL! I think it’s the altitude up here on the Moral High Ground that’s frying out brains Mark! haha! Oh how I adored the Three Stooges. I still like them. I rung in the new millennium watching the Three Stooges with my daughter. Oh what a fond memory that is! And I loved Popeye too. I guess I have a special affinity to Popeye because I’ve always loved canned spinach. Although I fudge and use a can opener! HA! :D

  10. vckvera permalink
    December 27, 2012 10:43 AM

    Reblogged this on Several Knowledge.

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