09 February 2010

Dr. Seuss to LoraxAg: "You Don't Speak for the Trees"

What's in a name?  Plenty, according to Dr. Seuss Enterprises; especially if the beloved children's author, known for his creative use of the English language, coined the name.

So what was coal-gasification start-up LoraxAg thinking when they borrowed the name of one of the good doctor's much-loved characters? Let alone one that stands (literally) for the environment and "speaks for the trees."

Two weeks ago, bloggers at Wonk Room informed the owners of Dr. Seuss’s intellectual property of the company's "draping its coal-to-chemicals technology in truffula trees."

Now, the New York Times reports that Dr. Seuss' lawyer Karl ZoBell sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Massachusetts-based company.

"There's no reason for them to use the term," ZoBell told the Times' Green Inc blog, "except to purloin the good will attached to the book and use it for a company that appears to be the opposite of everything the book is about."

Amazing the company's own lawyers didn't warn them that the use of this name might cause difficulty.  Or perhaps they did and the company thought they'd just go on biggering and biggering despite the controversy.