EU rejects Spam trademark bid

The producer of the canned pork product Spam has lost a bid to claim the word as a trademark for unsolicited emails, an Associated Press report said.


The Associated Press report said European Union (EU) officials rejected Hormel Foods' appeal, dealing the company another setback in its struggle to prevent software companies from using the word 'spam' in their products, a practice it argued was diluting its brand name.


The European Office of Trade Marks and Designs, noting that the vast majority of the hits yielded by a Google search for the word made no reference to the food, said that 'the most evident meaning of the term SPAM for the consumers "&brkbar; will certainly be unsolicited, usually commercial email, rather than a designation for canned spicy ham.'


The word Spam, short for 'spiced ham' was coined by Hormel in 1937 as part of a marketing campaign so successful the word became virtually synonymous with canned meat, the report said.


The company has been embroiled in a string of trademark disputes over the matter in the US and elsewhere, fighting product names such as SpamBop, Spam Arrest, and Spam Cube, the report said.


'We do not object to use of this slang term to describe (unsolicited commercial email),' the company said on its Web site, 'although we do object to the use of the word 'spam' as a trademark and to the use of our product image in association with that term.'