The Great British Bake Off

Bringing a British television show to the U.S. can be complicated.

How complicated?

Really complicated.

Pillsbury owns two registrations that include BAKE-OFF for “arranging and conducting cooking and baking contests.” The earliest registration dates from 1972 and Pillsbury’s first use of the BAKE-OFF trademark was in 1950. In other words, Pillsbury has a deadlock on BAKE-OFF for baking contests.

In order to air the THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF in the U.S., the show had to change its name to THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW. That wasn’t just a matter of changing the opening credits.

For episodes from earlier seasons, the show’s producers had to edit out mentions of the show’s name during introductions and when awarding prizes.

For later episodes, the hosts did separate takes, first calling the show THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF (for airing in the U.K.) and then calling the show THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW (for the U.S. market).

But the crazy didn’t stop there. At the end of each contest, the winner is awarded a glass cake dish engraved with the name of the show. Footage showing winners holding the trophies had to be visually modified to make it appear that the cake stands say THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW.

At 2:28 of this video is an explanation of the visual artistry that went into making the change on the glass cake stand.

Doesn’t knowing this just flat out make your day?

Shout out to Max F. for bringing this to my attention.

Death Defying Trademarks II

I just found out that CLAYMATION® is a registered trademark. Originally registered in 1981 by one of the minor deities of animation, Will Vinton, the registrations are now owned by Laika, Inc. Until I learned this fact, I assumed that “claymation” was the generic word for stop-motion animation using clay.

What other film industry words are trademarks instead of the generic word for the thing?

STEADICAM® for hand-held camera stabilizers has been a registered trademark since 1976. Who knew? Not me until I looked it up.

In the past I wrote about other trademarks that manage to avoid genericide: PING PONG®, REALTOR®, and CROCKPOT®. Here are some others I found surprising.

MACE® is a trademark for personal security sprays and is owned by Mace Security International, Inc. While we’re on the subject of self-defense, you should also remember that TASER® is a registered trademark for “less lethal weapons” owned by Axon Enterprises, Inc. Use goes back to 1974 and first registered in 1983.

BUBBLE WRAP® was first used as a trademark by Sealed Air Corporation in 1968. The mark was first registered in 1971 and remains a registered mark. If packaging trademarks are your thing, then remember that STYROFOAM® was first registered by The Dow Chemical Company back in 1948.

Big shout out to Maggie F. for letting me know Claymation® is a registered trademark, which led to this post.

Photo ©2010 Daniel Schwen.  Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.