"Let's Roll" trademark battle is on
February 2, 2002 9:13 AM   Subscribe

"Let's Roll" trademark battle is on Coming to your local Wal-Mart and flea markets very soon... Supposedly, it's become a "national catchphrase". The only people I've heard say it are George W Bush and Neil Young. Anyone need a new coffee mug?
posted by BarneyFifesBullet (39 comments total)

 
Didn't the Sargent on Hill Street Blues say "Let's Roll, People." when ended the morning briefings? Not certain, but I would think "Let's Roll" as a catchphrase has plenty of prior art. But then I'm a wild and crazy guy.
posted by shagoth at 9:19 AM on February 2, 2002


I jokingly said, "Let's Roll" the other day as I prepared to go rollerskating for the first time in years. Bring on the lawyers!
posted by Karl at 9:20 AM on February 2, 2002


Are you still allowed to say 'Let's rock and roll' not that I do, just asking?
posted by RobertLoch at 9:22 AM on February 2, 2002


George Bush got the catch phrase from one of the the HEROES who overtook the hijackers and precipitating the crash outside of Pittsburg, Pa on Sept 11. They tried to make a last ditch effort to retake control, rather than allowing more innocent victems to possibly die.
posted by roboto at 9:28 AM on February 2, 2002


Walter and the Dude, from The Big Lebowski use the word "roll" to mean bowling.
posted by johnjreeve at 9:31 AM on February 2, 2002


[I wish I could edit my post]
posted by roboto at 9:34 AM on February 2, 2002


Thats retarded. I'm sure the guy who said it wasint thinking of trademarking his last words.

And that phrase has been around for a while. IIRC "Lets get ready to rumble!" was never really said at all before the guy who trademarked it did. "Lets roll" has been around forever.
posted by delmoi at 9:42 AM on February 2, 2002


The further along things go, the more I am convinced that copyright laws/"rights" need to be scaled way, way back...perhaps eliminated in most cases.
posted by rushmc at 9:47 AM on February 2, 2002


In the theatre group I belong to, when an actor is dressed for reheral, he often shouts uut to the director: let's role.
posted by Postroad at 9:49 AM on February 2, 2002


I can reason through the tough stuff, but I get suckered by a yahoo post. oops.
posted by roboto at 9:54 AM on February 2, 2002


my "homies" and i have been saying "let's roll" for years... but maybe that's just our slanguage.
posted by lotsofno at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2002


this just in: optimus prime sues.
posted by jcterminal at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2002


It's both cynical and ridiculously stupid. It's akin to copyrighting "Let's skeedaddle" or "Let's mosey," or any common phrase that's been floating around the American vernacular in hipper or geekier forms for a while.

I hereby copyright "Let's ride" and "I wuv you" For my own evil uses, of course.
posted by readymade at 10:23 AM on February 2, 2002


Pol Pot was known to mutter I wuv you on occasion, so you're on the right track.
posted by dong_resin at 10:25 AM on February 2, 2002


Aargh. I'm going to trademark the phrase, "This has nothing to do with copyright, dammit! You can't copyright a phrase! It's a trademark issue! Trademark!"
posted by rcade at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2002


The first thing that comes to mind on this is that "Let's Roll" was what Steve Forest used to say as 'Hondo Harrellson' to his urban commandoes in a cheese-bag TV show "S.W.A.T.", back in 1975. "Special Weapons and Tactics" - cops as super-troopers. Que music, guys jumping in a black van, vroom vroom as heroic music swells...

I wonder if our Pennsy feller was harkening back to childhood heroes as they made the move...
posted by Perigee at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2002


You don't have to be the first person ever to use a phrase in order to trademark it (though it would certainly help). You have to be the first person who is using it in commerce to identify your goods. If someone else has been using "Let's roll" in a commercial way, they've got a beef.

Otherwise, I don't see the horrible outrage in a charitable foundation trying to trademark somethng that might help them raise money. What's the difference between that and McDonald's loving to see me smile?
posted by rcade at 10:45 AM on February 2, 2002


A. Attempt to trademark this phrase so silly as to qualify as simply "weird news."

B. Unless this is indicative of a whole new level silliness/stupidity regarding trademarks, service marks and the like. I sure hope not

C. Even assuming the Foundation has the purest of motives, the whole idea of this guy's last words being turned into a fundraising catchphrase is itself nauseating. Nothing good happens by making a "catchphrase" out of anything, and if this foundation has any concern for the dignity of the man's memory, they'll drop the idea.
posted by BT at 10:49 AM on February 2, 2002


Perigee: Thank you! I couldn't remember if it was SWAT or Adam 12, or the A-Team. (I was secretly hoping for the A-Team, though).
posted by electro at 11:06 AM on February 2, 2002


I just remembered that scene from the movie Heathers with the 2 cops smoking dope in their parked car.

They get a call and one of the cops yells with his eyes closed and lungs full....SHIT!! LETS ROLL!!

I gotta pick up that DVD.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 11:10 AM on February 2, 2002


ha, this reminds me of this
i want a program that will go through my normal text and adds (tm) (sm) (r) etc to make it more obvious how retarded all of this has gotten.
posted by rhyax at 11:53 AM on February 2, 2002


Let's Roll Raver Pants
posted by Satapher at 1:46 PM on February 2, 2002


Didn't Cheech And Chong say it alot too?
posted by spilon at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2002


As Williams said in the article, "It's all about good old American capitalism."
posted by thirdball at 1:53 PM on February 2, 2002


It's a good thing that the last thing he said wasn't "Oh %$^#."

There would be a lot of lawsuits for that one.
posted by mkn at 2:06 PM on February 2, 2002


Lets R*ll!
This is ridiculous people!tm
posted by fuq at 4:26 PM on February 2, 2002


What's the difference between that and McDonald's loving to see me smile?

rcade - McDonald's hates to see me smile. They do however enjoy seeing me with painful gas.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on February 2, 2002


Otherwise, I don't see the horrible outrage in a charitable foundation trying to trademark somethng that might help them raise money.

You don't? You are okay with one group's stealing bits of common language from the rest of us and enforcing their newfound "ownership" through legal means?
posted by rushmc at 5:29 PM on February 2, 2002


I find it far more likely that his last words were "Why is that jet shooting at us?"
posted by Optamystic at 6:39 PM on February 2, 2002


I knew back when the song "Happy Birthday" was taken out of the public domain, the whole copyright thing would get ruined beyond usefulness. This is evidence.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2002


Zach, you were alive back in 1935 when the copyright to the song was finally granted? You must be the oldest poster on MeFi! Note that barring further revision of copyright law, it will return to the public domain in 2011.

If the Berne Convention had been in place in 1893, Hill's original composition would have been automatically copyrighted -- and remained so until 50 years following her death in 1916 (70 years under present US law). Instead it was originally granted the 28-year copyright with a 67-year extension based on the original 1916 court filing, leaving a 2011 expiration.
posted by dhartung at 8:03 PM on February 2, 2002


It's a good thing that the last thing he said wasn't "Oh %$^#."
A seasoned airline pilot once noted he'd listened to enough cockpit voice recordings to know the last word heard on the tape is often "SHIT!"

(On Hill Street Blues, the Sergeant played by Michael Conrad always ended roll call with, "Let's be careful out there." Robert Prosky would say--I think--"C'mon, let's go, they're getting away out there." Mercifully, none of the dialogue from S.W.A.T. has stuck with me.)
posted by StOne at 10:07 PM on February 2, 2002


You are okay with one group's stealing bits of common language from the rest of us and enforcing their newfound "ownership" through legal means?

Sure, because the only way they can stop you from using it is if you are trying to use it in commerce. In which case you'd be doing the exact same thing you are disparaging them for doing and deserve whatever you get.
posted by kindall at 10:53 PM on February 2, 2002


I want to use it to market Ecstasy tabs to schoolkids.

"You heard the Prez. Now Let's Rolltm"
posted by Optamystic at 11:15 PM on February 2, 2002


Let's not forget the Green Hornet who, after Kato fired up The Black Beauty, would say "Hornet gun. Check. Hornet sting. Check. Let's roll, Kato!"
posted by shinybeast at 1:51 PM on February 3, 2002


A trademark on the phrase does not mean that we can't say it here, or use it in casual conversation. It means we can't use it to identify the same or confusingly similar goods and services as the trademark holder uses it for. I can use the phrase "We love to see you smile!" all I want, I just can't use it to sell hamburgers. The Beamer Foundation wants you to equate "Let's Roll" on T-Shirts and such with Todd Beamer and the Beamer Foundation and its charity. And they want all the money from sales of such T-Shirts to go to their charity, rather than into profiteers' pockets. Sounds admirable to me.
(Note: There was a similar hubub not too long ago over "What Would Jesus Do?" paraphenalia).
posted by IPLawyer at 1:55 PM on February 5, 2002


When I owned a bakery on the Lower East Side, I used to say this to my employees all the time!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:16 PM on February 5, 2002


Rollons-nous.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:17 PM on February 5, 2002


Let's White Trash.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:22 PM on February 5, 2002


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