Hampden Hawker: This just in from the "How Corporations Waste Their Time" Department. . .

Hampden Hawker

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Monday, February 18, 2008

This just in from the "How Corporations Waste Their Time" Department. . .

From Sunday's Sun:

"It's Chow down for good in Hampden

A woman launched a small pet supply store in Hampden a few years ago, and she's been so successful that she's moving to a much bigger location in the neighborhood.

Sounds like an upbeat small business story. And it is, but for Purina's claim on the word "chow."

The upshot: Chow, Baby! pet supply is saying "ciao" to its name.

"It has recently come to our attention that your company is using "CHOW, BABY!" as a company name and service mark," reads a letter from St. Louis attorney Thomas Polcyn on behalf of Purina. "Such uses of 'CHOW, BABY!' in connection with the sale and distribution of pet food, pet treats, and other pet-related products is likely to cause confusion with Purina's CHOW trademarks, and dilutes the distinctive quality of those marks."

Store owner Robin McDonald got the letter way back in September 2004, when she'd been open less than a year.

"I didn't want to start all over," she said. "I called Bowie & Jensen. They said I could fight it but it would cost $12,000 to $15,000 and I'd have a 50-50 chance of keeping the name."

She kept the name anyway, hoping to stay under the Purina radar by pulling down her Web site. The strategy has worked. McDonald hasn't heard again from Purina lawyers (who didn't return my call Friday).

But McDonald feels she needs to get a Web site going again. So she's trying to come up with a new name for the store by the time it moves in late March.

She's offering a $100 gift card for the best name (hampdenpets@gmail.com). Just don't try trading it in for Purina chow. The store doesn't carry the stuff."



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