In Battle of the Ducks, Company Claims Rights to Quacking Noise
It’s not exactly a dog-eat-dog battle. On one side is Bay Quackers. On the other is Ride the Ducks.
Both companies operate amphibious vehicles, known as ducks, in the city and bay of San Francisco. And both use kazoo-like quackers to get the attention of potential customers and passers-by.
Last month Ride the Ducks filed a federal lawsuit that contends it owns the “sound mark” to the quack and Bay Quackers is violating its rights to the auditory mark, held since the mid-1990s, the New York Times reports.
Cynthia Lynch, an administrator for trademark policy and procedure for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, told the Times that only about 150 sound marks have been registered. Besides the Ride the Ducks quack, they include the roar of MGM’s lion and NBC’s chimes.
On a recent tour, Bay Quackers passengers had no quacker kazoos. Operator John Scannell told the Times he’s encouraging his passengers to try making another noise. “We’ve been doing pirate sounds,” he told the Times. “We’ve just been going, ‘Rrrrr.’ ”