Computers Aren’t Teddy Bears

The Trademark Blog reports on the September 13 Gateway v. Companion products 8th Circuit decision [pdf] in which Gateway prevailed in protecting their cow-theme trade dress from infringement by Companion’s product: a cow stuffed animal that stretches around one’s computer monitor. These look even more ridiculous than they sound.
The case reminded me of my first year contracts class. The professor asked someone what the box of a gateway computer looked like. He liked to ask things that weren’t actually in the case. The student kept describing the location of the license inside the box, the legally relevant fact, but the professor finally blurted out the answer he was looking for: “It looked like a cow!” (example) Gateway’s brand image wasn’t the topic that day, but that professor didn’t tend to ask about things that weren’t important. He was three years ahead on that issue.
Trade dress aside, is there no end to tacky computer accessories? First there were mouse covers (shaped like mice). Then stuffed animal dust rags. Now these stretch animals. Computers just aren’t fuzzy soft objects.