Trademark ownership of "Got Breastmilk?" and PR promotion

photo by Jesse McClain, sunrise
On September 9, 2008 the California Milk Processor Board filed for the trademark, "Got Breastmilk?" Two registrations: #77565484 and 77565459. Written on the registrations are, "G & S: promoting awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies." The California Milk Processor Board which in reality represents the food/dairy industry--Dean Foods, Nestle, etc--now has registered this trademark. Of course the legal questions are when did they ever use this trademark and do they ever plan to use it? Does the Trademark Office really believe that the Dairy Industry is promoting awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding? Do they really believe that the Dairy Industry plans to create goods and services that promote breastfeeding?
I hope that people will read Jennifer Laycock's response to my comments yesterday. Jennifer wrote, "What is the motivation for a company to operate with openess and transparency when someone with no facts to back them up can introduce questions and accusations like you have?
The motivation for a company to operate with openeness and transparency is called ethics. Ethics means that you willingly answer questions and respond to accusations. What Jennifer seems to be implying is that asking questions will make companies less transparent. And what company are we talking about?
I believe that many talented and gifted women donate their services to organizations, like Jennifer does for the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition. The problem as I see it, is that being part of the PR industry, known to make and shape the public viewpoint, could cause a number of people to wonder about the organizations they represent. Is "all the world a stage?" What is the reality? We are so very critical of the PR put out by the infant formula and dairy industries. Are we doing the same thing? And why? Do we have so little faith in breastfeeding's ability to sell itself? Do we have to social market/sell breastfeeding to the public? Whose version of a breastfeeding society is being marketed? Is it an industry viewpoint (as in Medela or Prolacta), a non-profit organization's viewpoint, one particular group's viewpoint, or a personal viewpoint that gets marketed to the public? Who has the power and/or money to get their viewpoint marketed? These are important questions. But I fear in the society we now live in, this is all swept under the table. No questions, just faith that what is going on is reality. I frankly don't know what to believe or who to believe. And you know what I don't think I am alone in that assessment.
Copyright 2008 Valerie W. McClain

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