Threatening to despoil the reputation of a film franchise whose latest ad features Tom Brady’s penis glowing in the dark, a lawsuit has been filed against the people behind the special edition Blu-ray/DVD of Ted that includes a talking bottle opener. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures, Media Rights Capital, and Target are being sued for violating trade dress on a product that allegedly infringes on another businessman’s proud claim to be the sole distributor of “talking” bottle openers and “talking” beer mugs.
Michael Cram, the filer of said lawsuit, alleges that he and he alone is allowed to make the kind of talking bottle opener included in the special edition product. He says the bottle opener included in the package is “identical” to his own incredibly unique brand of bottle openers, in that it is also shaped like a bottle opener and opens bottles. He further notes that the Ted bottle opener has a single licensed image on it and an original circular design of speaker holes just like his, because no one puts small holes in bottle openers for sound to come out of quite like Michael Cram. And while this doesn’t have quite the same sexy, headline-grabbing appeal of a lawsuit over farting hippos, it does tap into America’s deep-seated fear of not knowing where their talking bottle openers are coming from.
Michael Cram proudly notes that his talking bottle openers are a part of over 61 licensing deals with schools, the NFL, Nascar, and television and movie studios. Adding further insult to injury, Cram also points to a licensing deal he had with 20th Century Fox to incorporate Family Guy sounds and images into his products. Presumably this means that all media in which Seth MacFarlane makes the same lazy jokes in the same lazy Boston accent should be considered one and the same, which sounds about right. Cram is seeking nine times the actual estimated damages, likely laboring under the assumption that if he went to all the trouble to file a ridiculous lawsuit, he should probably be rewarded with far more money than is justifiable.
Speaking of far more money than is justifiable, the original Ted earned more than half a billion dollars worldwide, and is already battling a separate lawsuit claiming that MacFarlane ripped off the idea for a swearing teddy bear from someone else. (A couple of people actually claimed credit for the idea, sort of like how Thomas Edison and that other guy both claim to have invented the swearing light bulb at the same time.) So a lawsuit over a talking bottle opener doesn’t seem like a huge worry, especially given Cram’s evidence seems to rest on the fact that his bottle openers trigger sound from pressure, sort of like how MacFarlane being conscious triggers fart jokes from his mouth.