WYNGZ are not made of wings. Or trademarks.

For the odd trademarks file: Stephen Colbert mocks DiGiorno’s new product: PIZZA and WYNGZ. Shockingly, Wyngz are not made of chicken wings. (Ok, maybe not so shockingly.) According to Colbert, the name was chosen because of laws regulating non-chicken wing products. As Colbert puts it, the term WYNGZ is “a government-mandated way of getting around the fact that it’s not real wing meat.”

On closer inspection, DiGiorno does not claim trademark rights to “WYNGZ.” A closer look at the package shows that the symbol next to “WYNGZ” is not the TM or (R) symbol, but instead an asterisk to a disclaimer stating “WITH NO WING MEAT.” Nor does DiGiorno appear to claim rights to the equally dubious “PIZZA & WYNGZ” (with or without the “BONELESS” that appears in smaller type).

But more fundamentally, DiGiorno probably couldn’t claim trademark rights to “WYNGZ” at all. Colbert points to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”), which states that:
Section 381.170(b)(7) [found here in the Code of Federal Regulations] defines a poultry “wing.” The use of the term “wing” cannot be used on any poultry product unless it complies with this standard of identity. In comparison, FSIS allows the use of the term “wyngz” to denote a product that is in the shape of a wing or a bite-size appetizer type product under [specified] conditions in which the agency considers its use fanciful and not misleading[.]

As a term coined and pre-approved by the U.S. government for a specified product, I have little doubt that WYNGZ is generic in this context (despite the odd statement by FSIS that the term is “fanciful”). Accordingly, DiGiorno could not claim trademark rights in the term at all, because “wyngz” is the term used for the genus of this type of non-wing product, and was created with the intention that all vendors selling this type of product could use the term.

wyngzSo give DiGiorno’s one point for not asserting trademark rights, two points for putting together two tasty snack foods for the game, and deduct ten points for the cholesterol you’ll build up eating PIZZA & WYNGZ during the Super Bowl.

Or, I should say, during “The Big Game.”

Cross-posted to Infoglut Tumblr.

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