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Lawsuit over the World’s Largest PEZ Dispenser

Adult PEZ CostumeThe WORLD’S LARGEST PEZ DISPENSER is getting sued.

Well, not the dispenser itself, but the Burlingham, California people who built the World’s Largest PEZ dispenser and included it as a display in their INTERNATIONAL PEZ MUSEUM.

The company behind PEZ didn’t like the perceived copyright infringement that’s taking place, especially after this unauthorized reproduction received a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for the Largest Candy Dispenser.   The reason behind the lawsuit is that it’s not an official PEZ product, so therefore should not be eligible for being recognized as a valid PEZ dispenser in the first place.

And so PEZ sued the Burlingham Pez Museum, asking for the destruction of the giant PEZ dispenser.

They’re also asking for Gary Doss, the owner of the museum, to turn over 14 years worth of profits made from their PEZ-related merchandise.

Gary took swift action, and instead of billing the World’s Giant PEZ Dispenser as the “World’s Largest PEZ Dispenser”, he is calling it the “World’s Largest Dispenser of PEZ“…which just happens to look like a giant PEZ dispenser.

Yes, it’s a semantic difference, but an important one.  Gary did not build an actual PEZ dispenser, as he is not allowed to.  But the dispenser does dispense PEZ.  So it qualifies for the name change and the Guinness World Record.

Web Watch sympathizes with Gary and the museum – they’re obviously doing this as a loving tribute to PEZ, and PEZ gets a lot of free press out of what he’s doing.

But if Gary is slapping the PEZ logo on merchandise and selling PEZ t-shirts and coffee mugs without having cleared the licensing, then that’s a different story all together.

It would be like somebody creating their own giant Mickey Mouse figurine and getting acknowledged as having creating the world’s largest.  The creation of such isn’t the issue, but the rights to do so are.

In the PEZ case here, there is a fine line between tribute and infringement.  Web Watch will, as always, keep you posted as we find out more.