back to article Tupperware vehemently denies any link to storage containerisation

Lawyers for Tupperware, purveyors of the middle class plastic food containers, have written to El Reg denying it has anything to do with that nasty containerisation tech so beloved of the storage world. According to an email sent to us last week and neatly hidden from our sight by ever-vigilant spam filters, the Tupperware …

  1. OliP

    *Applause

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Meanwhile, for people wanting proper food storage

      Get something that has active vacuum applied.

      eg is vacuum sealed, and pulls out the air after you close it

      Note - I don't know that vendor. Searching on Amazon/Ebay/etc will turn up many alternatives. :)

  2. Esme

    Tsk

    Silly buggers should've been applauding you for the free advertising, I'd almost forgotten about Tupperware. Now, I think I shall ensure that my next purchase of plastic containery goodness is not Tupperware due to their being silly pernickety noo-nas.

    1. NotBob

      Re: Tsk

      Have fun with that. Around here, if it's not tupperware, you're better off with a reclosable bag. Off brands deform in the dishwasher, melt in the microwave, or have lids that look interchangeable but aren't.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Tsk

        if it's not tupperware, you're better off with a reclosable bag.

        Tupperware is so 80s, all the cool kids these days either have Sistema or Nude Food Movers, neither of which I'd describe as an off brand.

        1. moiety

          Re: Tsk

          Thing is, if you have a brand/trademark etc. you *HAVE* to defend it every time otherwise you lose control over it. Even when the example is very silly, as was the case here. If you make exceptions for mates/very silly examples; then future transgressors are going to point to the exception and throw in reasons why they should be exempt too.

          However, congrats to El Reg staff for a comprehensively and scathingly sarcastic response.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Aqua Marina

              Re: Tsk

              "No, you don't have to defend it no matter what".

              Or you can defend it to your dying breath like Hornel did, and still lose your trademarked word because everyone else now uses it for something else.

              http://www.smh.com.au/news/security/spammaker-wants-us-to-stop-calling-pesky-emails-spam/2006/10/12/1160246238013.html

            2. Vector

              @Symon Re: Tsk

              "No, you don't have to defend it no matter what."

              But you do have to defend against generic use, which is the case here. The reg article was using the trademarked Tupperware name as a reference to generic plastic storage boxes. Allowing that can lead to losing your trademark. The eff article referenced is a completely different case where the defendant was speaking specifically about the trademarked product.

              You can see a list of common terms which were formerly trademarks here:

              Wikipedia: List of generic and genericized trademarks

        2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

          Re: Tsk

          I saw an interview with the Tupperware CEO a couple if years ago when I still watched CNBC. I was shocked when he said they still have a Tupperware "show"(or whatever term they use for their direct sales system ) somewhere around the world something like every 6 seconds. It's certainly not a product I have seen used much in many many years as well with so many alternatives on the market.

          Checking Wikipedia, it claims they have about 2 million direct sales reps

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: Tsk

            It's a "Tupperware Party" - and it is actually one of the phenomenons one has to experience on the journey through life in order to become a fully rounded human being.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Captain DaFt

            Re: Tsk

            -I was shocked when he said they still have a Tupperware "show"-

            I believe the term was "Tupperware Party".

            Back in my grandmother's day, if you had too many friends causing way too much of your time to be eaten up with social engagements, throwing a Tupperware party (which usually consisted of bad coffee, stale cake/doughnuts, and a non-stop marketing spiel) usually trimmed down your social contacts to the point you could enjoy life again.

            As a young lad with no tastebuds, the leftover stale cake/doughnuts was a welcome treat.

        3. Keven E

          Re: Tsk

          "Tupperware is so 80s, ...."

          Clearly, 38 is an age.

        4. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

          Generation gap: Tupperware is so 60s/70s to me

          "Tupperware is so 80s"

          Ahem. According to Wiki

          Tupperware spread to Europe in 1960 when Mila Pond hosted a Tupperware party in Weybridge, England

          As result of our parents' devotion to the stuff, my generation saw Tupperware as distinctly uncool.

        5. William Towle
          Facepalm

          Re: Tsk

          I recently found myself needing additional containers, and the ones I bought were branded Whitefurze.

          It wasn't until later that I realised that's perhaps not the wisest of names to have used in connection with food storage...

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Tsk

      > .., I'd almost forgotten about Tupperware.

      May I help you? You're welcome.

    3. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

      Re: Tsk

      Yep, get The Range own brand of plastic food containers and save some money, also remember to never use the "T" brand name so the dopey sods never get any free advertising.

      1. moiety

        Re: Tsk

        Thank you Symon and Dominic. I sit corrected.

        Mind you, it's a myth that's probably going to hang around for quite some time, as I don't see lawyers going too far out of their way to correct things.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Tsk

          "Mind you, it's a myth that's probably going to hang around for quite some time, as I don't see lawyers going too far out of their way to correct things."

          I'm sure that has nothing to do with said lawyers charging to send the "stop using our TM" letters out in the first place...

  3. cortland

    No

    No tupping, eh?

    1. lnLog
      Pint

      Re: No

      have a beer for obscure farming reference

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: No

      "No tupping, eh?"

      It's only allowed if you're a walrus.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: No

        A walrus named Gregory. (obscure Punt/Dennis reference ahoy)

  4. Magani
    Coat

    Strange...

    You'd think they'd want to keep the lid on that and seal it in.

    I was just leaving...

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Tupperware is an anagram of "A pure twerp", just like that lawyer.

  6. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Quite good

    ...both the apology and the plastic containers.

    My main objection to the plastic containers used to be that they were only sold at "house parties", making the acquisition of them more difficult than necessary. I understand they are now being sold at retail. We have some, and the only complaint I have is that they absorb oils...but then, plastics will do that, won't they?

    Quality product, overly sensitive lawyers.

    (so, what else is new?)

  7. mark 120

    Real name?

    Jane More O'Ferrall? More Overall? That can't be a real name, surely?

  8. Unep Eurobats

    It's almost a generic term now

    Like hoover. And before phones took over as music devices, ipod was going that way too. People would use the term to refer to any portable MP3 player, regardless of whether its origin was fruity or otherwise.

    1. Toltec

      Re: It's almost a generic term now

      Mole grips

      Stilsons

      Stanley knife

      Yale lock

      AGA

      Tarmac

      The food container company should be proud and pleased that their brand name is synonymous with the items in question.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stuff like this?

      you want shouty? Find Stephen Fry on QI talking about Velcro ...

  10. NormDP

    A lawyer trying to justify his retainer. As usual, he does more harm to the Tupperware brand and good name than was ever done in the good joke of a forgotten headline.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. NotBob

      The attempt is likely to avoid going the kleenex route, a brand name used to refer to generics, too

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        "Kleenex"

        Not generic in the UK (in my experience), although the brand exists. Nor Band-aid. What's wrong with saying "tissue" or "plaster", I ask?

        1. Pirate Dave
          Pirate

          Re: "Kleenex"

          "What's wrong with saying "tissue" or "plaster", I ask?"

          Well, as a 'Merkin, "tissue" is the stuff in the bathroom - aka - Toilet Paper, whereas Kleenex is the stuff in a box for blowing your nose. Same stuff for the most part, just different location and packaging.

          Plaster? Eh, isn't that what used to be put on walls? Oh, yeah, it's the stuff you smush your baby's feet and hands into so the wife will have an eternal memento as they grow older. "I remember when your hands were THIS small..." And {Deity} help if you (the man) ever drop and break said memento...

          Really, you guys call a band-aid a "plaster"? I honestly didn't know that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Kleenex"

            "Really, you guys call a band-aid a "plaster"? I honestly didn't know that."

            I live in Scotland (#) and I didn't even realise at the time of the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" single that "Band Aid" was the name of a make of plaster. Wasn't till years later I came across some and thought it was odd they had the same name as Bob Geldof's mates.

            Yeah, I always called them plasters when I was growing up, though I remember one of my friends calling them an "Elastoplast" after a brand of sticking plaster that's far better known here.

            "Band Aid", though? What that? I was about as likely to use that name for them as you were to call them "USA for Africas". :-)

            (#) Still one of the non-English parts of the United Kingdom of Little England and Its Provincial Chums at the time of writing

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "Kleenex"

            "Really, you guys call a band-aid a "plaster"? I honestly didn't know that."

            Probably a convenient shortening of the Elastoplast brand name.

            1. fuzzie
              Trollface

              Re: "Kleenex"

              Does that mean "getting plastered" is a branded variation on "falling over drunk"?

            2. no-one in particular

              Re: "Kleenex"

              >Probably a convenient shortening of the Elastoplast brand name.

              Try t'other way around: 'have you seen that new kind of elastic sticky plaster, I think they called it "Elastoplast"?

          3. Pedigree-Pete
            Happy

            Re: "Kleenex"

            For our Merican friends and accuracy we Brits will say sticking plaster if there is any chance of confusion with wall plaster. Similarly, when we break a bone we have a plaster cast or just cast. (No not with a fly for trout and salmon!)

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "Kleenex"

          "Band-aid. What's wrong with saying ... "plaster", I ask?"

          In this part of the world it used to be a spetch.

  11. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Kudos To El Reg

    for standing up to the terrible threat of losing a layer's trust.

  12. BinkyTheHorse
    Happy

    A false bottom in all this

    Perhaps the most amusing thing is that the "container" reference in the article was a bit misaligned with what the containerization industry strives for.

    As the most prominent example, Docker heavily alludes to an ISO shipping container analogy (look at their logo, and then their name!), not a plastic food box.

    1. John 104

      Re: A false bottom in all this

      @BinkTheHorse

      Ah, but you see, there is a clear parallel. Containerization has been around since Tupperware. Why have a fridge full of fully cooked meals in tins and foil wrap when you can have your potatoes in one container, your chicken in another, and your veg in a third? Then when you want to eat one, you call on the fridge to serve up the correct appli-, er, I mean food, to you. The software industry is clearly infringing on Tupperware's 50 year's worth of prior art. They should sue.

  13. Cynical Observer
    Mushroom

    Arkell v Pressdram

    Sounds as if it might have come close to following guidance laid out in above case.....

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Arkell v Pressdram

      The letter from Portakabin's lawyers is more apt in this case.

  14. Rimmergram

    There's being the brand police and just lacking a sense of humour - #fail on both accounts Tupperware :-(

  15. Richard 12 Silver badge

    The rules mean they have to do this

    Trademarks aren't like copyright.

    If you don't defend a trademark, you lose it. So they have to send the "cease and desist" letter, even if they really don't care and even if they rather like the comparison.

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: The rules mean they have to do this

      In which case they could of written

      "We have to defend the trademark, so here is a slap on the wrist!! Naughty Boys (and/or girls)".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The rules mean they have to do this @Ian Emery

        they could HAVE written.

        For fucks sake man, this is basic English that 5 year olds can get right. Grown, educated men have no excuse.

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: The rules mean they have to do this @Ian Emery

          Sorry (hangs head in shame), I blame my wife, more than once I have caught myself talking pigeon English to friends and family after a long session talking to my Chinese wife.

          That's my Chinese made coat, the brand name is "Despot of Brigade" (real brand).

    2. Dominic Thomas

      Re: The rules mean they have to do this

      That is something of an urban myth, especially when it comes to US law:

      https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/trademark-law-does-not-require-companies-tirelessly-censor-internet

  16. Velv Silver badge
    Coat

    And you think referring to "lunch boxes" isn't going to draw other unwanted attention?

    1. moiety

      It's the Reg...they probably want that sort of attention, the tarts.

      :)

      1. moiety

        I retract the above. While the El Reg staff are -to a man- tarts; the above comment was reminiscent of a "she asked for it" sort of train of thought that not only isn't true; but also opens a door for all sorts of fucked-uppery. So I apologise for that. El Reg staff are still tarts though.

        Also I have no icons (probably one of my blocky things), so joke icon isn't there.

  17. Alister Silver badge

    You could always substitute Lakeland Plastics:- I'm sure those were the makers of plastic storage containers we always used when I was a lad in the 60s. I don't think Tupperware was very accessible here in the UK at that time.

  18. Stephen 24
    Megaphone

    Pressure

    I can't believe you caved into to their pressure so easily!

    Fight 'em .

    To the highest court in the land!

    Take 'em for every penny.

    etc. etc.

  19. DNTP

    Only one thing left to do...

    Put a 3.5" HD in a Tupperware brand box. Write a buzzword memo and get some manager to sign off on a new company sub-policy covering containerized storage protocol.

    Tupperware- the future of containers and storage.

    1. Brian Miller

      Re: Only one thing left to do...

      You forgot to put in a station wagon!

      "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway."

  20. fruitoftheloon
    Happy

    Tupperwear sucks donkey balls...

    'Lock & lock' is MUCH BETTER!!!

    But, what I really want to know is how the vote swang between your actual response, and telling them in an oh-so-english way to 'eff off'...

    Cheers,

    Jay

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Tupperwear sucks donkey balls...

      "how the vote swang "

      Swang? Were you.perchance, looking for swung?

  21. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    Storage containerization in a Tupperware kinda world

    Dammit .. this one needs an AMFM comment. It DEMANDS it.

    Sadly, I am fairly ill equipped to place it for him.

  22. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    The Streisand effect

    is alive and well and conveniently stored in a Tupperware* box near you.

    * other storage containers are available

  23. Lloyd

    Same thing happened to me

    I was talking on a forum discussing what sort of database compliance we had, I said "I'm an ANSI boy", boy, sooner than you can shake a fish at the moon I had an email through from Neil Gaiman's lawyers, it's just not on. It's almost like that time our IT department got sued by Jupiter for mentioning Io.

  24. jeremyjh

    Well...

    ...if they've got the money to spend on wasting your time and theirs with lawyers, then I would politely suggest that their products must consequently be more expensive than strictly necessary for the adequate storage of pre-prepared food and beverages, and take their kind suggestion of substituting with generic items performing the same purpose.

  25. joshimitsu

    I don't see a problem in defending a registered trademark.

    Not having run a large corporation though, I think the first contact should have come from the PR or Press department, before sending flaming arrows via Legal.

    1. israel_hands

      How are they defending their trademark? In what way was it under attack.?

      Names exist purely so we have a way of identifying something. They can't threaten to sue every time their name is used, it doesn't work like that. They can sue if somebody is selling their own gear under the tupperware name, which is the entire purpose of trademark laws. They don't exist to allow a company to clamp down on every usage of a word, particularly when it doesn't threaten their business in any way.

      If the article was slagging off tupperware then they may have a chance, but fair use, satire, etc, all come into play there and it's not a given they'd win unless somebody was clearly and deliberately trying to damage their business.

      Within the context of the article the name was being used as a synonym for storage systems. And if they seriously have a problem with people linking their brand with storage systems (either physical or digital) then they're probably in the wrong fucking business. This just seems like an over-eager legal team with no corporate oversight checking if what they're doing is ridiculous.

      I'd like to downvote the Reg for changing the original headline though. Hardly fits with the "Biting the hand..." motto, does it?

      Maybe we should intervene here though, and defend our beloved rag against the naught plastic-box bully. I'm thinking of something like that guy did for Rick Santorum, getting his surname SEO'd to return results for the by-product of greasy anal sex instead of his political bullshit.

      We just need to come up with something suitably fucking awful that tupperware could become a synonym for so we can start hitting up Urban Dictionary and littering it in the comments of thousands of articles across the net.

      Fuck it, just checked and I've been beaten to it, many times over. Still, there's always room for more.

      TUPPERWARE: That thing your arsehole does when you really need a massive shit but can't go and so it keeps popping open randomly and emitting foulness.

      Maybe should be leaky tupperare though, as the seal has obviously gone. Still, if searching for tupperware meant google returned a "we've included the results for leaky tupperware" I'd consider that a win.

      1. magickmark
        Coffee/keyboard

        You Sir owe me a new keyboard!!

        Unfortunately in eating my apple I'd put away my generic plastic tub with a lid and thus when I read "TUPPERWARE: That thing your arsehole does when you really need a massive shit but can't go and so it keeps popping open randomly and emitting foulness." apple went over my keyboard and screen!!!",

  26. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Maybe we should rebrand them as TupperWare"

    If there isn't a software containerisation product called that something's seriously wrong.

    1. ben kendim

      Stuporware

      is the perfact name.

  27. NanoMeter

    Remember the 70s

    Mother had Tupperware parties which was popular then.

  28. DV Henkel-Wallace

    Where are the units?

    You claimed that El Reg has "impossibly high standards." It seems that without an appropriate unit of measure, this statement is without merit.

    Since the Register's Standards Organisation maintains important units of measure, a committee ought to be able to determine the proper unit. Perhaps "mean distance between the centres of mass of the Earth and the Moon" would suffice? The Sun, of course, having an extremely small value in this case.

    Only then could we rank the standards of The Register, The Spectator, The Torygraph, The Guardian, Pravda and DPRK News, anything by Elsevier, and the like.

    1. israel_hands
      Coat

      Re: Where are the units?

      What an excellent idea. I'd like to nominate the "Keith" for this standard unit. As in "The Register's standards as as impossibly high as 7 Keith Richards".

      Mine's the one that smells like a Rasta's sock drawer.

  29. ben kendim

    Call it anything but T....

    Call it by other brands, ZipLock makes them, SnapOn makes them, why give the T... people free advertising. Heck, you should contact those companies with the story and use their names - with their blessings...

  30. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Somewhere, there is laughter...

    I suspect deep in the bowels of the Tupperware Corporation IT department someone sent an email to his manager to "have a look and a laugh" and the manager sent it upward. Some places have no sense of humor but do have some legal firms on retainer that need billable hours.

    Meantime, the poor guy who sent the email has been slapped about for reading El Reg and not "working". But still.. if it were me, I'd be laughing my butt at off the manglement.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Dear Sirs"?

    Says a lot about the lawyer… El Reg employs female journalists/staff too…

    Sounds a lot like a company whose glory days are so far behind them they need New Horizons to zoom in on them.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "Dear Sirs"?

      Well, Sirs used to be a trademark but it's since been genericised and so applies to men, women and anyone else on that Spectrum (ooohhh, an IT angle!!!)

  32. TeeCee Gold badge

    One of many...

    There are quite a few firms who go spare at the sight of their product name being used as a generic name for whatever-it-is. Nobody wants to end up like Hoover, with a globally recognised brand that you can no longer claim exclusive use of.

    Now that I know that every time I refer to any sort of container as "Tupperware" one of their lawyers dies screaming, I shall do so more often.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One of many...

      While it is true that "Hoover" has become a verb and a generic term, it is not all bad for the company after all their Brand recognition is universal and how many sales have they got over the years because of the recognition? Dyson would be so lucky.

  33. magickmark
    Windows

    Yummy

    I'm reading this whist eating my lunch out of my Tupperware, sorry generic plastic tubs with lids. Nice to know I am not alone.

    Icon? Me eating lunch of course!!

  34. -tim
    Coat

    Perhaps more of a story?

    The Reg has done a number of stories on how different companies used technology. I was very impressed when I toured their Orlando factory in the early 1970s but I was just a small boy. As they now have factories around the world, maybe one of the writers could drop buy for a tour...

    Mines the one with the pop a lot in the pocket. Or should that have a TM in it too?

  35. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Happy

    Only found this article now - and I must applaud The Register for it... the wicked sense of humour makes it one of the best IT sites...

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