Breakfast cereal behemoth Post Foods is suing the popular indie rock band OK Go over the right to use their trademarked name. Post allegedly violated the trademark by releasing a line of portable cereal cups bearing the same name. After lawyers for the band sent a cease-and-desist letter, the cereal giant responded by suing the performers in federal court.
Who is OK Go?
Well known for their elaborate, boundary-bending music videos and upbeat pop sound, OK Go was formed in Chicago in 1998. The performers eventually moved to Los Angeles, where the viral nature of their videos contributed to their growing popularity and success.
Current band members Damian Kulash, Tim Norwind, Dan Konopka, and Andy Ross have won several awards for their uniquely creative and visually stunning work, including a Grammy and two MTV Music Video Awards.
They trademarked OK Go in 2008, but this is the first time the band has had to defend their name against a multi-billion-dollar corporation. In the past, OK Go has collaborated on promotional projects with several companies, including State Farm, Chevrolet, and Morton Salt.
Here’s how it goes down: 1) They apply for a trademark on the name you’ve been using for 25 years. 2) You send a letter asking them to pick a different name, please. 3) They SUE YOU IN FEDERAL COURT. On top of it all, apparently, this breakfast food is “ready to rock.” #weareOKGO— OK Go (@okgo) January 31, 2023
Why is Post Foods bullying an indie band?
Post Foods is suing the indie band OK Go in what appears to be a clear case of bullying by the massive corporation. The cereal manufacturer received a cease-and-desist order after using a trademarked name on a recently released product without the band’s permission.
Lawyers representing OK Go cited concern that the branding will “lead to a false association of the band with Post and its products”. It’s worth mentioning that the band previously collaborated with the food giant to create promotional videos for their Honey Bunches of Oats cereal.
Instead of choosing a different name for their portable cereal product, the company took the band to court. The performers, who have owned the trademark for 15 years, are now facing a legal battle against the food manufacturing goliath.
How is OK Go responding to the lawsuit?
Reportedly shocked by the bullying behavior of the corporate giant, lead singer Damian Kulash took to social media to comment on the lawsuit. Kulash posed a rhetorical question to his followers, posting, “Have you ever had your name stolen by a multi-billion-dollar food processing Goliath?”
He further details the situation with a simple numbered list. The post continues, “1) They apply for a trademark on the name you’ve been using for 25 years. 2) You send a letter asking them to pick a different name, please. 3) They SUE YOU IN FEDERAL COURT.”
Fans of the band have shared the post widely on social media, leading to an outpouring of support for the performers, but it may be a matter of time before the case sees a resolution.
Hey @postcereals – big fan of Raisin Bran and Pebbles. But I’m an even bigger fan of the Grammy winning band known as @okgo. Any way you could drop your lawsuit and stop using their name so I can keep buying your products?— Trey Callaway (@TreyCallaway) January 31, 2023
Post Foods hopes a judge will allow it to file its trademark application and recover legal fees. The band members want to protect their trademark without being bullied. Kulash sums it up well, reportedly saying, “Just pick one. Nobody looks good in this. Just pick a new name.”