Ten (give or take) inches of girth
Nine internet moments of levity
Eight Tribey moments
Seven books for reading
6.9 Non Sequiturs
Six All-Star Nods
Five podcasts for listening
Four posts zman meant to write but never did
Three French Hens
Two in-state rivalries
And a dork with a split personality
Like many American marriages, the union of James Sicilia and Tia Loya ended in divorce in 1997. The two split the assets of their corporation, Superhawk Novelty Company. While divvying up their assets, Tia got one copy of each of the molds used to make their products and the advertising images used to sell them. When I hear "novelty company" I think of firms like Johnson Smith, premiere purveyors of whoopie cushions and x-ray glasses. Superhawk, however, peddled sex toys.
After the divorce, Tia started her own company (TSX Toys, whose website proudly touts "TSX Toys created the first realistic horse dildo in the US and the first whale penis toy in the world!") as did James (CA-WA Corp.). Both sell sex toys, natch. And if you've read any of my posts before, you can see where this is going. Tia eventually sued James for making knock-off versions of her sex toys ... I should say of her copyrighted sex toys.
In a nutshell (pun?), Tia asserted that James (and another company, 665 Inc., at James' request) reverse-engineered molds from her toys, after obliterating the copyright information from the toys. She also asserted trade dress infringement and a few other grievances. Here's the most preposterous, unexpected, inappropriate infringement chart I've ever seen, taken directly from the parties' joint statement of the case:
Two girth posts in a row? Yes!
How do these sex toys rise to the level of protected intellectual property? The real nub (pun!) of the issue is summarized thusly in the complaint:
20. The known products at issue in the action concern TSX’s penis extensions and penis girth expander products. TSX’s penis extensions are hollow sheaths that fit over the penis to add both girth and length. They vary in texture, from being smooth to ribbed and contoured. TSX’s penis girth expanders make the penis thicker, instead of longer, adding to the circumference of the penis, and are open at the end.
21. In particular, TSX penis extensions and girth expander products have a unique “scrotum strap,” which is a band that wraps around the scrotum. The “scrotum strap” also has TSX’s signature “square-like” tab at the base. TSX hired a well-known sculptor, Christopher Pardell, to design and create the original dildo mold with TSX’s unique “scrotum strap” and signature square tab. The signature square tab contains TSX’s copyright management information. Significant time and resources were expended by Plaintiff to develop and create this mold. This one-of-a-kind mold was
copyrighted by TSX over 14 years ago as a three-dimensional sculpture, Title: “Standing Tall,” Copyright Registration No. VA 1-062-363, Registration Date: October 6, 2000 (See Exhibit A). Plaintiff is the exclusive owner of this federal copyright registration.
Aha! It's all about the scrotum strap and its signature square tab! Unfamiliar? Here's an image.
And here's some information on the aforementioned sculptor Christopher Pardell. Neat!
The trial started earlier this week. The judge dismissed the trade dress and confusion of origin causes of action, and dismissed the entire case against 665. But the copyright issue soldiers on for the jury to consider and for the parties to brief. Which should be a hoot.
Anyway, if you've ever wondered why cases move so slowly and what's clogging the federal judicial system, now you know. Girth.