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Monday,  April 28 12:01 AM EDT

Suing Couldn't Be Easier

By Alan B. Swain

Boise, ID - Boise Cascade Corp. has seemingly found its groove after having filed its lawsuit against office products rival Staples Inc., accusing the Massachusetts company of stealing its marketing slogan. That lawsuit alleges that Staples' use of the phrase "Staples. That was easy" to market its office products is infringing on Boise Cascade's trademarked phrase "Boise. It couldn't be easier." The phrase received its trademark in August 2002, Boise Cascade spokesman Ralph Poore said.

Not stopping there, Poore went on to announce additional potential lawsuits being pursued throughout the country against companies Boise sees as threatening what it sees as its proprietary marketing phrase. Next to experience the ire of Boise Cascade will be Kraft Foods, where an injunction is being filed next month in New Jersey District Court, Kraft Foods home state, to prevent Kraft from using the phrase, "It couldn't be cheesier" on the lids and labels of its Cheez Whiz product.

"'Easier. Cheesier.' It's too close; consumers are going to be confused", complained Poore. "We have to draw the line. And besides, we don't want to be associated with a fake orange-colored food product."

Noting the degree to which Boise Cascade intends to protect its perceived property rights, Ace Hardware Stores have taken a proactive approach by instructing Pfizer Corporation, supplier to Ace of private-branded lawn and garden chemicals, to redesign their lawn fertilizer packaging by removing the phrase, "It won't be weedier". "We don't want to take any chances", says Roy Higgins, Ace's Director of Marketing. "Our Marketing Committee has already met and come up with a new slogan we believe sends the message just as effectively: 'Makes your lawn greenier'," Higgins went on to say. "But we'll be submitting it to Boise Cascade's legal staff for approval, just to be safe," added Higgins.

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Contacted by phone, Billy Ray Johnson, owner of "Sweet Billy Ray's BBQ Ribs 'n Chikin" in Lynchberg, Tennessee, seemed unconcerned about a possible lawsuit against the use of his slogan, "They couldn't be greasier." Asked if he thought he might be on Boise's target list, Johnson said, "Ah hope not! Mah pappy 'n me's been havin' those wouds painted on hour sign nigh on thudy-fiy yeahs now. Ah thinks we'z got prapity rights, too!"

Inquiries directed to Boise Cascade spokesman Ralph Poore about Billy Ray's BBQ shack went unanswered.

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