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A name by any other PING



Think about "Ping." It's a sound and a verb. You can ping using sonar or using the internet. Table tennis players sometimes call their game "Ping Pong." Golfers sometimes use PING clubs. Disney has reportedly named a character in an upcoming film "Ping." So the golf club maker is suing the entertainment giant for trademark infringement. Karsten Manufacturing Corp. said it has held a trademark on PING golf clubs since 1959 and that the PING name also is used by Karsten on golf apparel, watches, jewelry, household items, luggage, stationery and children's apparel. In a lawsuit filed May 6, the Phoenix, AZ company said an animated Disney movie scheduled for release in 1998 "will include a character that Disney plans to name PING." The movie is apparently based on a Chinese folk tale about a woman warrior. Karsten wants to stop Disney from using the name, force Disney to recall any PING products and pay the golf club company money. It's ironic, given the zealousness with which Disney guards its own trademarked names and characters. Michael Eisner reportedly once ordered a Los Angeles bakery to make a Mickey Mouse cake for his son's birthday party, then dispatched lawyers when the cake arrived. "We're taking action to protect our famous and distinct trademark," says Rawleigh Grove, a lawyer for Karsten. He declined to talk because, "we're still open to negotiations with Disney." A friend who used to produce a 'zine called "Rollmag" once wrote a parody: Corporations had begun to trademark every word in the language. You paid them to use the words in letters and email--though not to receive (because of a Supreme Court decision regarded as a landmark blow for "free speech"). People invented new words, morphing the language on an accelerated basis. My friend did not publish the piece. "The reason I didn't run the RM piece," he said, "was, it was too close to true, although not many readers would've yet known."

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