April 28, 2000
12:08 AM   Subscribe

i think this lawsuit is for me to poop on. pets.com is suing Robert Smigel, saying that he ripped off their sock puppet as inspiration for Triumph the Insult Comic.
posted by sugarfish (7 comments total)
correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't triumph debut about three years before pets.com was even a gleam in anyone's eye?

what's with all the frivolous dot com lawsuits??
posted by muta at 6:13 AM on April 28, 2000

no, pets.com is suing robert smigel because triumph said that their puppet is based on him!
they think, given the dirty nature of triumph, that people will associate his vulgarity with their puppet and product...or something like that...
posted by centrs at 6:17 AM on April 28, 2000

Oh, so it's a case of puppet slandering. Sigh.
posted by corpse at 6:35 AM on April 28, 2000

it's a case of publicity-whoring. pretty good one, too! Pets.com is in all the nation's papers, all over the internet, etc.
posted by chaz at 7:23 AM on April 28, 2000

Gosh, this sure is out of the blue, isn't it? I mean, Triumph's been around forever, the pets.com sock puppet has been around for about a year, and now all of a sudden they decide to sue. Strange .... or maybe NOT so strange: pets.com sock puppet merchandise to be available nationally.

It includes contact info for their press office, but I would never, ever suggest using that for malicious purposes. Nor would I suggest calling their 800 number (which may or may not be 1-888-321-PETS) and asking how much a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog sock puppet costs.
posted by dhartung at 7:40 AM on April 28, 2000

Trademarks aren't affected by "prior art"... under more normal circumstances it wouldn't matter if Pets.com were simply pursuing a trademark infringement suit.

However, with both sides accusing the other of ripping them off, things get more interesting :-) Time does become an issue then.

One can only guess that nobody at Pets.com has ever heard of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog before they created their sock puppet (I've never heard of it until today, and nobody around me has either, so it's not implausible), otherwise the whole thing just doesn't make sense.
posted by Jeremy Bowers at 8:16 AM on April 28, 2000

I actually saw the sketch where Triumph was calling the Pets.com sockpuppet a rip off - but ... er.. that's his schtick. One has to wonder there will be a class action suit for all those dogs that Triumph humped while covering the Westminster Dog Show.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:46 PM on April 28, 2000

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