Infamous Texas A&M-SSQQ Trademark Snafu!
Written by Rick Archer
On Saturday, July 10,
1999, I was in a bad mood. I had just finished teaching a Crash Course for an
obscure dance known here at the studio as the "_____ Jitterbug".
There were only 10 people in the class, the bare minimum for a class to be
held. In fact, earlier in the evening I had considered canceling the class
when I saw how few people there were. I only hesitated because one
young lady, an A&M graduate, begged me to continue. She said she had been
trying to teach her boyfriend how to do this dance for months, but
couldn't explain it to him without hurting his feelings. I smiled and said
I would go ahead and teach the class. However once it was over, I
made a mental note to put this class in the closet and stick to offering
classes that actually made some money for us.
With this class on the deep backburners, you can
imagine my shock when I received an email on February 4, 2000
from an A&M alumnus named Stephen Huzar which accused my dance studio of
EXPLOITING his Alma Mater by teaching the "_____ Jitterbug"!
Ever since Mr. Stephen Huzar fired the
first shot in his stunning email to me, I
tried to tell the A&M community that we meant no harm.
My words fell upon deaf ears. There would be no peace pipe.
Our dance program was treated as a major threat. A&M University, aka
TAMU, could not idly sit back and risk being exploited!!
Forced to act quickly before SSQQ had a chance to mobilize and strengthen,
TAMU dropped a huge legal bomb on the studio.
And just what exactly was all the fuss about? And how did this sordid saga begin?
letter Mr. Huzar wrote these immortal words:
Should you not refrain
from using the trademarks, quite honestly, I (and Iím sure many other
Houston area Forbidden Words) would find it a blatant
act of greed on both the part of SSQQ and Leisure Learning
magazine and rather disgusting that you would contribute
to end the noble act of raising scholarships for worthy students.
Well, that got our attention!
What the heck did we do wrong? After
investigating the matter further, we discovered we were under attack for
the crime of using a WORD connected to Texas A&M
University without permission. We were said to be guilty
of exploiting the University by invoking a TRADEMARKED WORD.
to being accused of Greed, as a goodwill gesture, on March 25th, SSQQ
held a Benefit Dance
Class in honor of the
"beloved dance" of Texas A&M. This event not only attracted over 40 people,
it generated a
nice check in the amount of $500 for Texas A&M.
The studio did not keep a cent lest we be accused of further greed.
The A&M Benefit proved to be
useless. The very next day SSQQ received a threatening letter from a
Michigan law firm. The letter said in very strong language that SSQQ
was infringing on A&M trademark rights. We would be sued by the
University for our crime unless we stopped using the Forbidden Word
Give me an
A: The entire idea behind
the Benefit had been to show
A&M graduates that I actually liked their school
and preferred to be a friend to the school. However my efforts failed
obviously failed miserably.
Just one day after the Benefit was
I received a nasty letter from a prominent
Michigan Law Firm threatening to sue SSQQ for its
"Serious Trademark infringement!!"
Give me a
G: Yes, indeed, we got a "Cease and Desist" order!
Give me another G:
The threat hit home quickly. We were deeply intimidated!!
Give me an I:
Call us gutless, call us
cowards, but the truth is, we panicked and threw in towel faster than you
can say "Dixie Chicks".
Yup, you guessed it, lily-livered lollipops that we were, SSQQ
caved in. Faced with fight or flight, we
started flapping our wings just as fast as we could!!
Give me an E:
Who wants to be sued by the
limitless pockets of a State University over a class that generates at
most 100 bucks a year? Would you fight? Some
things aren't worth fighting over.
We agreed to NEVER EVER willingly use the "you-know-what" word
in our literature or on our web site again.
And what were the
consequences of our decision?
Our agreement to Cease/Desist meant that for the remainder of time
had to come up with a substitute phrase to replace the
Henceforth we had a new dance at the studio, the wildly popular Shaggie
Our gutless collapse
meant that Texas
A&M was now safe from the insidious SSQQ threat. Graduates of this fine
University throughout the great State of Texas breathed easier.
Perhaps the worst threat since the Cuban Missile
Crisis had passed without blood being spilled.
In retrospect, this was not a difficult "Cease and
Desist" request to comply with. After all,
at the time
we received the letter, SSQQ had not
held a class in "Forbidden Word Jitterbug" in over six months!!
Nor did we even have another
As I pointed out at the start of story, this class had made so little money for us that
I had accidentally
"ceased and desisted" long before we were "insisted" to do so.
It isn't difficult to throw in the towel when the towel is already in the
But why was Texas A&M so
worried about our dance activities?
Ah, therein lies the tale!!
But before continuing, we must
apologize to our readers.
How can you truly appreciate how great the danger was to A&M without
knowing what is the "Forbidden Word" is??
The "Forbidden Word"
is crucial to the entire story!!
Therefore, you should
begin by solving the "Riddle of the Forbidden Word". Like ancient
Christians hiding from Roman persecution, SSQQ is unable to speak the
word. But using techniques learned from the "Da Vinci Code" we have been
able to hide somewhere on this page an obscure clue to the meaning of the
Please - if you discover what it is, don't tell anyone!
And if you can't find the
clue, well, that's too bad. After all, it is hidden very well.
We simply cannot risk a lawsuit!
But if you were able to
decipher the Riddle of the Forbidden Word, then you have in your
possession the magic key to an amazing story.
So now we invite our readers to
continue. In the following pages, you will discover the
inside story behind the Texas A&M-SSQQ
Click Here to
begin reading the incredible sordid Shaggie Jitterbug Saga!!
Email responses to email@example.com