When “fart” is expressed in august courtrooms

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Oct 19, 2007 When “fart” is expressed in august courtrooms

The Seventh Circuit sniffs out the to do with Pull My Finger Fred. (Image made available for copying under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.)

My brother lawyer Marc Randazza certainly finds humorous legal-related tidbits to blog about. One day I’ll ask him if his secret to finding such stories goes beyond panning for gold. Marc is an adjunct law professor who introduces his students to the saga of fartman

How much more fun law school would have been had I been assigned to read the essence of the unanimous panel opinion in JCW Investments, Inc. v. Novelty, Inc., 482 F.3d 910 (7th Cir., March 20, 2007), which opens as follows:

“Meet Pull My Finger® Fred. He is a white, middle-aged, overweight man with black hair and a receding hairline, sitting in an armchair wearing a white tank top and blue pants. Fred is a plush doll and when one squeezes Fred’s extended finger on his right hand, he farts. He also makes somewhat crude, somewhat funny statements about the bodily noises he emits, such as ‘Did somebody step on a duck?’ or ‘Silent but deadly.'”

First, John Wayne Bobbit’s case made it easier for Al Bundy to say the p word (almost) on television. Now, Pull My Finger® Fred makes “fart” acceptable to be expressed in a court opinion. This is one judicial chambers conference and opinion drafting session that I would have wanted to witness. Perhaps the judges’ law clerks will expel some light on such developments. (Speaking of this case’s judge lineup, one of the panelists approving the opinion is none other than Daniel Manion, who barely squeezed by his Senate nomination vote, by a tally of 48-46.)

For anyone wondering, this Pull My Finger® Fred case is a serious intellectual property case upholding over a half million dollars of relief for a blatant ripoff of Pull My Finger® Fred.

Thanks for Copyright Law’s link to Marc’s annals (Marc’s selected description) of finger-pulling dolls. Patently O also covered the story. Jon Katz.

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