No, no. Green is MY color.

I just have one more thing that I need to say about this TerraCycle-Scotts MiracleGro lawsuit settlement issue, which, if you haven’t noticed, is completely sticking in my craw.

(OK, I just have one more thing that I need to say right this minute — I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this another day, as well…)

TerraCycle can’t use a green and yellow color combination on their packaging because Scotts MiracleGro has trademarked it? Excuse me? So if I were to decide I was selling hummus or something, could I just decide I wanted my label to be mauve and orange (this is a hypothetical, folks, a hypothetical…), and then could I trademark that color combination? Or any other? I mean, I fully understand protecting one’s label design, and I know all this is a very sensitive topic for which many lawyers make an awful lot of money (and that’s good, because some of my very best friends are lawyers), but what? What?

I need to stop thinking about this. It’s turning me into The Irritable and Not Pleasant To Be Around Gardener.

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12 Responses to “No, no. Green is MY color.”


  1. 1 Carol September 22, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Green is definitely my color. I’ve said so on my blog. I wear green all of the time. When you talk to the Scott’s PR people, you might ask them if there are other products in green & yellow packaging that they are targeting or is this it? And ask them where one goes to trademark colors. I might like to trademark some color combinations not spoken for. And do they know if Campbell’s own red & white? Or does Coca-Cola? Do they think that consumers are so dumb that we just buy based on colors?!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener September 23, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Carol, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I do want to hear their take on that — I’m a little confused by that, to tell you the truth. I mean, really…

  3. 3 kate September 23, 2007 at 10:23 am

    I hadn’t read about the settlement – that just sucks.

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener September 23, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    It totally sucks, Kate. And it annoys me further every time I think about it.

  5. 5 Heather September 23, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    I had the same thought as I read your previous post. There are definitely other products out there with green and yellow packaging, um Mello Yello comes to mind, but I’m too angry to think of any others right now. I do hate it when the big guy muscles out the little guy.

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener September 23, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Heather, I hate it to. Totally hate it. It happens all too often, too.

  7. 7 Chigiy September 23, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Genie,
    It does suck and it’s good to get angry.
    Well behaved people rarely make history or bring about change.
    This is one of the reasons you write I’m guessing.
    Good for you for bringing it to our attention.
    You go.
    My blog is mostly green.
    Am I in trouble?

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener September 23, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Chigiy, I’m thinking I need to trademark the tomato as a blog feature. Then none of the rest of you will be able to write about them without paying me a gazillion dollars and putting up something on your blogs about how cool I am.

    Of course, I don’t have enough money yet to be able to pull this off in brute-force manner…darn it…

  9. 9 Jen-Ben September 23, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    I’ve actually never liked the MiracleGro packaging–the green and yellow combination was never that pleasing to me. So, let’s look at this as TerraCycle’s opportunity to choose a much trendier pairing. Perhaps chocolate brown and baby blue (evokes images of dirt and sky)… Or how about bright green and pink (just like the leaves and flowers on your magnolia)…

    Thanks for not trashing all us lawyers, but you are SOOOO right that some veddy, veddy expensive lawyers got paid a whole wheelbarrow load of money to get MiracleGro’s trademarks in place. You wouldn’t believe the stuff people trademark–just look at Paris Hilton. Instead of saying, “That’s hot,” when you pull something out of the oven, you will have to say, “That is of a very high temperature,” in order to avoid being sued by Miss H. Don’t get me started…

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener September 23, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Jen-Ben, what if I were to say “that’s hot” without the smell-the-fart attitude? Would that work out better for me, from a legal perspective? Hmm… And I like the idea of TerraCycle switching to chocolate brown and baby blue — I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that color combo in a garden center. Maybe I should call them up and make that suggestion! (And I will also suggest that whatever they do, that they trademark it immediately. Sheesh.)

  11. 11 Libby September 24, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    The issues related to the Trademark issue are fairly complex, and I only dabble in trademark law. It seems to me that had this gone to trial, and not settled, Scotts would have had a mighty hurdle to overcome to prove consumer confusion, etc. I’m not convinced they could do it. Obviously the Terra Cycle attorneys, with far more information, thought otherwise (or the dollars and cents of settlement led them toward a different conclusion).

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener September 25, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Libby, that’s an interesting perspective. I haven’t been over to the SuedByScotts.com site yet to check out the documents…am still interested to see them.


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