Blogging Mom Threatened by the Pork Industry over T-shirt Slogan

This is so wrong it screams to be talked about. Jennifer Laycock has been threatened with a lawsuit for using the phrase, “the other white milk” on a t-shirt. She has a variety of T’s that she sells at CafePress, promoting breastfeeding and issues surrounding it, like the right to breastfeed babies in public.

Who is feeling threatened by a mother who has helped raise awareness for breastfeeding and whose blog and t-shirts help raise revenue for a milk bank for infants?

The USA pork industry.

As per her blog entry, Overzealous Big Pork Stomps on Breastfeeding Blogger, Jen quotes parts of the letter she received from The National Pork Board.

“In addition, your use of this slogan also tarnishes the good reputation of the National Pork Board’s mark in light of your apparent attempt to promote the use of breast milk beyond merely for infant consumption, such as with the following slogans on your website in close proximity to the slogan “The Other White Milk.” “Dairy Diva,” “Nursing, Nature’s Own Breast Enhancement,” “Eat at Mom’s, fast-fresh-from the breast,” and “My Milk is the Breast.”

Since when is it okay for a law firm, representing Mr. Big Shot, to come down on a work from home mother with two small children who volunteers to raise awareness and funds for a segment in society that goes largely ignored?

They obviously have no clue that millions of infants are malnourished. Many don’t have mothers who are healthy enough to nurse them and can’t afford to buy formula. There are a zillion reasons why women breastfeed, nor not.

The other night, on USA TV, Diane Sawyer ran a special on children and poverty, featuring a city in New Jersey. One man was left alone to care his family. The wife “ran out” on him, leaving a bunch of kids, two of them still being bottlefed. He had no money for food for these babies.

No formula. No breastmilk bank like what Jennifer supports. No one dropping off formula for these babies. What did he do? He and his oldest son got dairy creamer packets from a resturant, tore them open and filled the bottles with the creamer. These babies drank coffee creamer.

This is what people do in America to survive.

I breastfed two kids because I could and wanted to. Many adoptive parents want to breastfeed their babies rather than give them formula. They turn to milk banks if one is nearby. Nursing moms in many countries and in many traditions nurse other mother’s children. It’s accepted practice and growing here in the USA because breast milk has antibodies and nutrients not found in formula. Some hospitals have mom’s come in to nurse newborns who are not their own children.

Babies born to addicted mothers deserve the chance to benefit from breast millk banks.

And let’s not forget that not all babies accept bottles. Many refuse plastic nipples, no matter how many ways they’re made. My son was one of them. He refused bottles, no matter what it was and what was inside it.

Now what I don’t get is how something like a meat trademark and supposed confusion between their “the other white meat” slogan and her “the other white milk” is something worth chasing a young mother after.

There was never a polite letter. Never a discussion. She was issued the threat from the start, with a letter presenting a long list of demands and insinuations that her t-shirts are porn related (read her post for more on this.)

For a t-shirt that has so far earned a total of $8 in revenue.

This is very wrong.

As a big boob momma who had no problem popping out a jug for a hungry kid in public and suffered the stares from people who think breasts are only for men’s magazines and Victoria Secret models, this just smacks of corporate bullying.

And for what?

Exactly how much damage was a t-shirt that earned $8, from a lactivist website that targets mostly women with babies who have no teeth to chew meat with yet, going to do to the pork industry?

How much money would a simple, polite, professional, respectful phone call to Jen have cost?

You’re welcome to join in or view the discussion at Cre8asiteforums – Jennifer Laycock Threatened With Lawsuit

7 thoughts on “Blogging Mom Threatened by the Pork Industry over T-shirt Slogan”

  1. Apparently it is a trademark in the EU as well but it’s news to me. I’ve never heard it used.

    I was quite shocked by this line on her blog, “As such, they’ve … demanded that the image of the shirt be removed from any site I know of” but the closest in the letter I can find is, “You have requested the disabling or termination of any other display of the slogan “The other white milk” at any website that you are associated with, but which you do not control.” Not quite so bad.

    Based that they know it is a cafepress store this struck me as kind of odd, “You have destroyed all goods and any tangible promotional materials that bear the slogan “The Other White Milk”.”

    It does all look like the national pork board retains far too many lawyers with far too little to do.

  2. Maybe she should go with “the Unpork”.

    (Okay: if 7-Up could get away with the “uncola” …)

    At any rate, trademarks also have to do with the product being sold and whether the trademark might confuse consumers into believing that her product (a t-shirt about breastfeeding) is theirs (pork). I haven’t stated it well, but that’s the general idea — and these lawyers know it.

  3. Well, the thing is it does say ‘milk’, not ‘meat’ or ‘pork’ or ‘white meat, but not fish’.

    It is pretty a wild association to connect milk with pork, ya know.

  4. My statements come from 17 years of experience in litigation support, forensic accounting and civil and criminal investigations, working largely for big corporate entities, and in State and Federal Government.

    First they’d have to prove she violated their trademark. I really doubt she has, but I can’t say so with certainty because trademarks were not one of the areas I’ve worked on. Nevertheless the elements that are needed to demonstrate that a trademark violation occurred along with the elements needed to demonstrate that she is liable or not should be easy enough for most any lawyer to determine and answer for her. But in any case where an infringement of patent, copyright, trademark etc. has been alleged, the really important thing is the damages. The pork industry would have to demonstrate that her attempts to promote breast-feeding damaged the industry and not only that, they must specify the damages and demonstrate the reasoning behind the amounts. I know. I used to get paid a lot of money to calculate these damage allegations and then get cross-examined on each minute detail of my calculation. On this aspect, the Pork Industry is so far out to lunch it is inconceivable that they would risk a trial on it. But if they did, I would love to watch them make public fools of themselves while judge and jury laughed them out of court. She really should not lose any sleep over this. The person that should lose sleep is the intern/staffer who tried to make a name for him/herself with the powers that be over this. (That is a guess on my part, based on my experience with who generally makes fool errors like this.)

  5. Thank you Victoria :)

    As this evolves, I’m less inclined to lean heavily on the pork industry and am putting the fault for this mess in the hands of the law firm that sent her that letter. A simple phone call to Jen would have settled this, especially when you consider she had no ill intent towards the pork industry.

    She, like many of us who like parodies, funny word relationships, etc. probably just thought she was being clever or silly. We all might find ourselves believing so strongly in a cause that’s dear to us, that we would do anything to help it, or raise funds for it, as she does. I think the law firm is the bully here, more than the pork industry, but someone at the pork industry needs to know what that left foot is doing on their behalf :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>