Monday, June 07, 2004
"Don't Mess with Texas" — and get a lawyer for anyone trying to earn a buck off the slogan. The popular catchphrase intended to promote tidy roadsides has appeared on everything from T-shirts and bumper stickers to breath mint tins and refrigerator magnets. Now, the state Transportation Department wants it back.
"The state of Texas has a lot of money invested in the slogan, and we definitely want people to know it's a litter prevention message, it's not a macho message," said Doris Howdeshell, director of the department's travel division.
Huh? Of course it's a macho message -- that's why George Bush used it in his campaign. More relevantly, any number of registrants beat the Lone Star State to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Heck, even a non-Texan kicked their ass -- back in 1995, five years before the Texas DOT got its act together sufficiently to get its own registration, one Richard Tucker of South Carolina registered the mark for "women's tops, T-shirts, blouses, skirts, dresses, pants, shorts, caps coats, jackets and sportswear, and men's shirts, T-shirts, tops, pants, shorts, caps coats, and jackets." If that isn't humiliating, what is?
Virginia seems to have done a better job with its famous slogan -- the only registrations for "Virginia is for lovers," the best of these state promo slogans, by the way, belong to the Commonwealth. "I Love New York," though, is a mess.
So don't mess with Virginia, but mess with Texas all you want.