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Lawyers Litigate Who Will Pay for 'I'll Make Them Pay!' Slogan

Try to follow closely here because this gets a bit confusing.

On one hand we have Cleveland lawyer Tim Misny, who has run commericials for some time now promising Ohioans that if they are wronged, "I'll Make Them Pay!"

Bad Accident? "I'll make them pay!"

Birth injury? "I'll make them pay!"

Hurt at work? "I'll make them pay!"

Cleveland.com reports (via Overlawyered) that in April 2010, Misny attempted to get a trademark for his catch-phrase, but learned that a Louisiana lawyer named Gordon McKernan had been awarded a trademark for "I'll make them pay" a few months earlier.

I will now pause for a moment to allow you to vote on what happened next:

(a) Misny and McKernan had a good laugh about the coincidence and Misny moved on to a new catch-phrase.

(b) McKernan graciously gave up his trademark to Misny, saying Misny had put a lot of time and effort into making the phrase well-known.

(c) Everybody sued everybody.

DId you say (c)? If so, then well-played. The correct answer is that Misny filed a suit in federal court against McKernan claiming that Misny has "continuously and heavily used the phrase" since at least June 2006. Misny's lawsuit seeks to have McKernan's trademark registration canceled, or for the court to grant Misny the right to use the phrase in the local markets where Misny is now using it.

McKernan, however, has responded that he used the phrase before Misny, and is demanding "$150,000 for the trademark, except in Louisiana."

Cleveland.com reports that Misny claims to have no worries about the dispute, saying that when all is said and done, "[m]y mom will continue to be able to tell her friends at church and in the grocery store that her son can make them pay."

Posted by Bruce Carton on October 28, 2010 at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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