WYNGZ are not made of wings. Or trademarks.

For the odd trademarks file: Stephen Colbert mocks DiGiorno’s new product: PIZZA and WYNGZ. Shockingly, Wyngz are not made of chicken wings. (Ok, maybe not so shockingly.) According to Colbert, the name was chosen because of laws regulating non-chicken wing products. As Colbert puts it, the term WYNGZ is “a government-mandated way of getting around the fact that it’s not real wing meat.”

On closer inspection, DiGiorno does not claim trademark rights to “WYNGZ.” A closer look at the package shows that the symbol next to “WYNGZ” is not the TM or (R) symbol, but instead an asterisk to a disclaimer stating “WITH NO WING MEAT.” Nor does DiGiorno appear to claim rights to the equally dubious “PIZZA & WYNGZ” (with or without the “BONELESS” that appears in smaller type).

But more fundamentally, DiGiorno probably couldn’t claim trademark rights to “WYNGZ” at all. Colbert points to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”), which states that:
Section 381.170(b)(7) [found here in the Code of Federal Regulations] defines a poultry “wing.” The use of the term “wing” cannot be used on any poultry product unless it complies with this standard of identity. In comparison, FSIS allows the use of the term “wyngz” to denote a product that is in the shape of a wing or a bite-size appetizer type product under [specified] conditions in which the agency considers its use fanciful and not misleading[.]

As a term coined and pre-approved by the U.S. government for a specified product, I have little doubt that WYNGZ is generic in this context (despite the odd statement by FSIS that the term is “fanciful”). Accordingly, DiGiorno could not claim trademark rights in the term at all, because “wyngz” is the term used for the genus of this type of non-wing product, and was created with the intention that all vendors selling this type of product could use the term.

wyngzSo give DiGiorno’s one point for not asserting trademark rights, two points for putting together two tasty snack foods for the game, and deduct ten points for the cholesterol you’ll build up eating PIZZA & WYNGZ during the Super Bowl.

Or, I should say, during “The Big Game.”

Cross-posted to Infoglut Tumblr.

Google Book Search settlement

Here’s an excerpt from today’s press release:

The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and Google today announced a groundbreaking settlement agreement on behalf of a broad class of authors and publishers worldwide that would expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search. The agreement, reached after two years of negotiations, would resolve a class-action lawsuit brought by book authors and the Authors Guild, as well as a separate lawsuit filed by five large publishers as representatives of the AAP’s membership. The class action is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Info on the settlement here and here.

Today in 1840: Morse Code patent issued

Wired.com reports that today is the anniversary of the 1840 patent for Morse Code:

Morse code has now been in use for more than 160 years. It still has practical applications in the modern world because almost anything can be used, from telegraph key to flashlight to pencil to fingertip, to tap out or flash a message. Severely disabled people even use Morse to communicate, sending out the code by eye movement or puffing and blowing.

For an excellent read on the history of the telegraph and its parallels to the internet, see The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage.

Here’s Morse’s patent, issued 168 years ago today:

Read this document on Scribd: Morse