A couple of hours ago Kare 11 News in Minneapolis reported "Lions Tap wins settlement with McDonalds."
Absolutely no details about the settlement were provided, so it’s hard to understand how Kare 11 is able to pronounce this as a "win" for Lion’s Tap over McDonalds, although it certainly plays into the seductive David and Goliath theme of the case. The attorney for Lion’s Tap apparently is quoted as saying the parties reached a "mutually beneficial amicable resolution," and Kare 11 further reports that McDonalds did not "immediately return a phone message seeking a comment" today.
Perhaps even more troubling than the unsupported "win" characterization, is the repeated failure of the traditional media covering this story to get the facts straight — facts easily discernible by reading the federal court complaint that is so often recited in the stories, but apparently very few actually have undertaken to read it. In case you’re interested, here is another link to the actual complaint.
As we have documented before on DuetsBlog, Lion’s Tap did not register the "Who’s Your Patty" slogan until after McDonalds began use and only days before filing suit against McDonalds, and it did not register — even in Minnesota — four years ago, as repeatedly and incorrectly reported ad nauseam by the media.
In fairness, although local CBS affiliate WCCO also republished the significant error on the timing of Lion’s Tap’s Minnesota registration of the "Who’s Your Patty" slogan, at least it didn’t assume the settlement to be a "win" for the Tap: "Lion’s Tap Settles With McD’s Over Catchphrase."
Our coverage of this case is here (9/3/09), here (9/8/09), here (9/21/09), and here (10/17/09).
In case we have not heard the last word on this case, stay tuned, and we’ll let you know more as we know more about this Lion’s Tap "win" and "mutually beneficial" resolution.
UPDATE: Is the Star Tribune reading DuetsBlog? It appears so. A Google search shows the Star Tribune’s original story title on the settlement was: "Lion’s Tap wins trademark suit against McDonald’s," but now the story is titled: "Lion’s Tap settles trademark suit against McDonald’s," with no mention of the Minnesota State registration.
Now we just need to get USAToday, NPR, Newstin, Daylife, and NewsSpider, on the bandwagon.